The Illawarra Film Society (IFS) was started 12 years ago by a handful of movie fans keen to fill a void in the region’s big screen offerings.
It has since grown to almost 500 members but remains committed to screening independent Australian and international features, documentaries, classics, and arthouse and short films.
New Zealand drama-comedy Uproar will open the 2024 season at the Gala Cinema in Warrawong, on Sunday 11 February.
Membership is now open and for an annual fee of $99, movie fans can settle into their seats every Sunday evening for more than 30 films, an average of about $3 per film.
IFS film curator Jeannine Baker said as well being a great deal, membership was a ticket into a welcoming community of like-minded people captivated by the power of cinema.
“Membership to the IFS has always been an incredible deal for movie lovers, but in the current cost-of-living crisis there is no comparable offer,” she said.
“Our members love the opportunity to see a handpicked, quality selection of films they wouldn’t see anywhere else.
“They also appreciate supporting the Illawarra’s only remaining independent cinema.
“Times are tough all over, so we’ve got more comedies and upbeat films this year.”
IFS was started by film-lover Theresa Huxtable in 2012. When she moved to the Illawarra she noticed the lack of diversity in film screenings, compared to Newcastle where she had been a member of its film society.
She set up the non-profit group with friends and successfully achieved a goal of 500 memberships in the first year.
Apart from a dip during COVID, membership has remained strong. It’s restricted to 500 due to the seating capacity at the Gala Cinemas.
The season-opening film, Uproar, is set in the 80s amid the controversial Springbok rugby tour and features Hunt for the Wilderpeople favourite Julian Dennison.
The program also features All of Us Strangers, the BIFA Best Film Award winner featuring Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott; Golden Globe recipient The Boy and the Heron, the latest animated fantasy from renowned Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki; and Young Plato, a documentary following a school headmaster’s attempt to revitalise a Belfast community plagued by social issues and urban decay.
Several screen classics, including Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday and the brilliant Gene Kelly musical Singin’ in the Rain, will make a welcome return to the big screen during the season.
For more information on IFS membership and the full program for 2024, click here.