The company has assumed that staff also need to be vaccinated.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how people feel about getting out and about again,” Mr Keogh said. “But we’re very confident in the cinema environment. We’ve worked very hard to make sure it’s as safe as it possibly can be.”
Most of the major movies have already opened in states without lockdowns – and some are already streaming – including the Hollywood superhero pics Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Black Widow and The Suicide Squad, the comedies Free Guy and Jungle Cruise and the animated Paw Patrol: The Movie.
While Shang-Chi has had strong advance sales this week, the big drawcard will be the James Bond movie No Time to Die on November 11.
Until then, the main attractions are Ridley Scott’s history drama The Last Duel and James Wan’s horror-thriller Malignant (October 21), the animated comedy Ron’s Gone Wrong and horror films Antlers and Halloween Kills (October 28) and the superhero movie Eternals and The Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark (November 4).
The chief executive of the Palace chain, Benjamin Zeccola, said it had been extremely painful standing down staff, seeking rent relief from landlords and a pause on payments from banks and putting the business into hibernation to survive.
With the lockdown in Victoria continuing, the first step to recovery was encouraging vaccinated patrons back in NSW.
“We’re requiring our staff to be on the pathway to vaccination with at least the first dose and following up with their second dose within a reasonable timeframe,” Mr Zeccola said. “By Christmas, we’ll expect all of our staff to be fully vaccinated.”
Rather than just rely on new releases, Palace will have screenings from the Italian, British, Scandinavian, Japanese and Sydney film festivals.
“Bond is the film that tells everyone that cinemas are open and they’re safe,” Mr Zeccola said. “We’re still in the enviable position that there has not been a single case of COVID spread in a cinema worldwide.
“And we adjusted the ventilation systems last year so that they’re bringing in the maximum amount of fresh air possible.”
SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL IS BACK
Two postponements have not been all bad news for the Sydney Film Festival.
The disruptions of the pandemic have allowed such high-profile movies as Jane Campion’s western The Power of the Dog, the sci-fi blockbuster Dune and Wes Anderson’s charmer The French Dispatch to be added to next month’s program.
Other high-profile movies that are now part of the 68th festival – announced by director Nashen Moodley today – include King William, which has Will Smith as the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, Pedro Almodovar’s family drama Parallel Mothers and the televangelism bio-pic The Eyes of Tammy Faye.
But the opening night will feature a heartfelt Australian film with a considerably lower profile.
Here Out West is a drama that starts with a desperate grandmother stealing a baby from a western Sydney hospital. Shot in Blacktown, it is the result of eight emerging writers from different cultural backgrounds teaming up with five female directors to tell interweaving stories in nine languages.
For writer and actor Nisrine Amine, opening the festival with what has been described as a tapestry of western Sydney is a thrill.
“It’s going to be an accidental statement in a way to say ‘here we are, we’ve come out of lockdown, we matter and our voices can be heard’,” she said. “It’s just a beautiful way to commemorate the end of lockdown, especially for western Sydney.”
Amine, who grew up in a Lebanese-Australian family in Parramatta, submitted an idea after seeing a call for emerging writers. What she thought would be a small web series turned into a film directed by established talents including Leah Purcell and Ana Kokkinos.
“The writers – with their diverse experiences, different backgrounds and different languages – we all had a very close relationship with western Sydney and a very close relationship to the themes of family and belonging,” she said.
As well as Amine, the cast includes Genevieve Lemon, Rahel Romahn, Leah Vandenberg, Anita Hegh and Arka Das.
After being scheduled previously for June then August, Moodley is confident the festival will finally take place from November 3 to 14.
“It’s exciting but it’s also a relief,” he said. “They’re pretty gruelling to put together so the team has worked extremely hard to mount this festival and navigate such unpredictable terrain.”
A selection of films will also screen online for audiences around the country from November 12-21.
“There’ll be some people who won’t have managed to receive their second vaccination in time so we wanted to make the festival as accessible to as many people as we can,” Moodley said.
The $60,000 competition for “audacious, cutting-edge and courageous” cinema includes films from such revered directors as Italy’s Paolo Sorrentino (The Hand of God), France’s Celine Sciamma (Little mom), Iran’s Mohammad Rasoulof (There is No Evil) and Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Memory).
The Australian contender is The Drover’s Wife The Legend Of Molly Johnson, a fierce Indigenous western that Leah Purcell wrote, directed and stars in.
Among the buzziest films in the festival are Blerta Basholli’s Hive, a Kosovan drama that won all three main awards at Sundance; Paul Schrader’s revenge thriller The Card Counter; Janicza Bravo’s edgy stripper saga Zola; and Julia Ducournau’s Cannes winner Titanium.
Moodley expected cinemas would have 75 per cent capacity and festival-goers would need to be double vaccinated and wear masks.
The program has been scaled down to allow more time for entry to cinemas and cleaning between sessions.
As well as the traditional State Theatre and Event Cinemas George Street, there will be screenings at Dendy Newtown, Cremorne Orpheum, Chauvel, Randwick Ritz, Casula Powerhouse, Palace Central and Palace Norton Street.
COVID-19 precautions mean there will be no festival hub, probably no parties and most filmmaker talks will be online.
Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered every Thursday.
Email the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @gmaddox.
Many Thanks To The following Website For This Valuable Content.
what’s on when cinemas re-open in NSW