Perserverance has paid off for the NZIFF as its long-running efforts to help restore Christchurch’s Isaac Theatre Royal to host the Christchurch leg of the festival come to fruition.
Back in 2013 the NZIFF set up a Boosted campaign to raise $40,000 as part of the cost of converting the theatre for digital projection. The hope at the time was that the conversion would be complete in time for the NZIFF’s 2014 edition.
Despite support from local industry members including Mark Hadlow (The Hobbit), Gerard Smythe (When A City Falls), Peter Young (The Last Ocean) and Gillian Ashurst (Snakeskin), the Boosted campaign got less than half way to its target. A subsequent “Take 2” campaign did raise $12,000.
The Isaac’s $280,000 upgrade was also funded by the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust, which put up almost half the money, with Christchurch City Council also committing $70,000 back in 2013. The restored theatre can seat c900 people, making it a suitable size for the festival’s larger events such as opening night presentations. The last Gala Premiere hosted in the city was Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures in 1994.
This year’s NZIFF will run 7 – 23 August in Christchurch.