Sumner's Hollywood Cinema closing
Art and Stage
Christchurch's last suburban cinema has been deemed unsafe and will close for strenthening work, forcing the postponement of the 2013 Italian Film Festival.
The Hollywood Cinema in Sumner will close from tomorrow after an engineering report called for the building to be restrengthened.
Owner Lang Masters, who has run the cinema with his wife, Maureen, for more than 50 years, said the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority had ordered "urgent alterations to be done to the building".
"Each time we had an earthquake we've been given the green light, but now all of a sudden they've pretty much put us out of business," he said.
They had not been given a time frame on how long they would be closed.
It was now down to the owner of the building to contact his insurance company before the steel restructuring work could be done, Masters said.
He said it would be a huge blow for the community, which had little else to do for recreation after the quakes.
"How many things have they got left here?'' he said.
"I'm a bit depressed. We're losing our living, but we'll survive. Hopefully, we'll come right."
A Cera spokesman said that while there were "safety concerns about the building", a "formal order for the building not to be occupied" had not yet been issued.
"Cera has received information from engineers indicating concerns about the building, and this has also been communicated to the owner," he said.
"Further detailed information is to be provided by the engineers, and once this is received, Cera will consider whether it needs to take formal action to prohibit access."
Masters said he and his wife would focus on readying the cinema for reopening "as quick as we can".
Italian Film Festival director Tony Lambert said he was not going to give up on the festival in Christchurch this year.
The cinema was the only suburban cinema still standing and running in the city, after 70 years in business.
It opened in 1938 as a single cinema, had a second added in 1973 and the third in 1999.
At 19, Masters became the youngest film distributor in New Zealand and was on his way to run the country's largest chain of independent cinemas, with seven Christchurch cinemas at the peak of his empire in 1981.
It has welcomed many national and international film festivals over the years.
- © Fairfax NZ News