I’ve had a few arguments on twitter in the last week or so with some lovely Christchurch people whose opinions I respect. It’s been over the boosted campaign to raise money show the movies can be shown at the restored Isaac Theatre Royal. I think that would be great. I’d much rather see Film Festival movies at the ITR than a suburban theatre attached to a mall. I just want some to try and explain the economics of it to me. 

According to the NZFF website:

NZIFF needs to raise an additional $280,000 to equip the Isaac Theatre Royal for film. Christchurch City Council has already agreed to provide partial funding for the equipment, with one condition: the NZIFF must generate the additional $210,000. We have launched a Boosted campaign to raise $40,000 from public donations for our vision for the Isaac Theatre Royal.

Okay, great. Sounds fine. The questions I would like to ask would be:

  • Who owns the gear? Could community groups use it if they paid a fee?
  • The film festival is usually only a month or so out of the year. How much will it be used?
  • What sort of ticket sales are needed to keep the Film Festival viable in Christchurch, and will having this equipment make that more likely?

I realise that people might think I’m being a dick about this, but I don’t think these are unreasonable questions. Before the quakes, I can remember that the NZIFF complained about the number of ticket sales in Christchurch. I can’t find a story, on this, so I could be wrong. Until I get some answers, I won’t be donating – but the rest of you are free to do so.

But while these are different scales, compare the way the arts community responds to something like this with the reaction to the stadium. I can’t support the stadium because no-one has provided me with a costed plan that can show that it is economically viable. I can’t support this for the same reasons. I consider myself to be reasonably invested in the arts community, and I think that we do ourselves no favours with some of these proposals. The idea seems to be that this is a good idea because films are a good idea – but there are people in the sports community who would argue that the stadium or the cricket oval is a good idea because sports are a good idea. I’d much rather see arts projects in the new city than sports ones – but that doesn’t mean I’ll champion any old proposal.