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Monday, 06 July 2015 08:20 am

Oscar winner will restore cinema that’s not shown a movie in 44 years


REVAMPED FLICKS: Jamie Selkirk and the Miramar Capitol cinema he will restore.

MIRAMAR’S Capitol cinema hasn’t screened a film in 44 years – but that will change next September when it reopens as The MIRAMAR.

Oscar-winning film editor Jamie Selkirk has been planning the cinema’s revamp over the last six months and says construction is expected to begin in January.

Selkirk says the cinema is a gift back to the Miramar community for years of putting up with traffic and other chaos caused by movie-making in the area and would bring “soul” to the disjointed town centre.

“It’s going to be a community cinema and hopefully there will be opportunities for various groups to rent it out especially for their own stuff,” he said yesterday.

The old cinema was bought by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, and Jamie Selkirk in 2003 with the idea of reviving it, but the film-makers struggled to find time to work on the project.

“It got to a stage where everyone was a bit busy,” says Selkirk.

“Peter obviously got busy on making films, Richard got busy with his Weta workshop stuff. So I decided to take it over and do it on my own bat,” he said.

He found new partners for the $3 million-to-$4 million project, including the owner of Brooklyn’s Penthouse Cinema, to assist with film distribution, and a co-owner of Cafe Polo, down the street, to create the restaurant scene.

When it opens, The MIRAMAR will feature two theatres, a cafe restaurant, and revive the 20s/30s style it had when it was built in 1928.

The cinema would screen mainly art house films, but have some mainstream releases. There would be special nights, like Bollywood screenings for Miramar’s Indian community.

He said the cinema is a long overdue addition to Miramar and the suburb’s growing film industry.

“At the end of the day, Miramar is the film centre of Wellington. We are making the movies, we need somewhere to screen them.”

Miramar resident Ineke Dijkstra said she was excited about the cinema: “It would be an asset I think, especially if they have a cafe to go with it.”

Basel Brikha, a staff member at Park Road Kebabs opposite the cinema, said it would be great for the community:  “It will be nice, because, you know, Miramar will be more popular.”

The last films were screened in the Capitol Theatre in 1964 after which the building was converted into the Capitol Court shopping mall.

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is a Whitireia Journalism Student. He has an obsession with media issues, local government, and sticking up for the little guy. He graduated from Victoria University this year with a double major in English literature and media studies. He plans to become a dogged reporter.
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