Fireside Chats: with Girl School Cinema

Girls School Cinema Web.jpg

Movies. We spend a lot of time watching them. There are all sorts of movies that you can watch, from Lithuanian arthouse to Michael Bay at various festivals or your run of the mill mainstream cinema. arguments abound as to which film is really the best film of all the time continue to rage and whimper. Some countries have a thriving local industry that employs local talents at every step of the production, whilst others do not, or are on their way there.

Over here in Perth we get plenty of places to see all sorts of artistic cinema. Some of you may have recently attended the Revelation Film Festival that happened one month ago. Occasionally a foreign film festival visits our town (and then doesn’t come back because being up all the way in Carousel). You may also have have heard of a place called Rooftop Movies, which delivers movies on big screen… at a rooftop. (Just like it says on the tin.).

So the team from that have decided to expand the showreel a little, and with the old, heritage-listed Perth Girls School in the frame- the resulting picture is the Girl’s School Cinema, and I, Clayton Lin, player of cards, connoisseur of art, and questioner of questions chats with the team behind Girl’s School Cinema, led by Jo Hos, in particular, to find out what really went in on in the editing suite.


Clay : Being behind the team behind the highly successful Rooftop Cinemas and the Fringe World Festival- what was on all your minds when you decided to expand into another cinema?

Jo: FRINGE WORLD has set the benchmark for activating spaces and bringing vitality and new audiences into urban areas in Perth and we’ve loved how our pop-up activations such as The Pleasure Garden and Rooftop Movies have been so embraced by so many people.

FRINGE WORLD acquired the head lease on the Old Perth Girls School site, thanks to the support of Australian Development Capital and Warburton Group, the owners and future developers of the sprawling historic site.

Girls School Cinema is like the winter sibling to our Rooftop Movies offering in Northbridge, and for those who love Rooftop Movies, you’ll see the family resemblance including a courtyard where the Rooftop Movies caravans have set up shop for the winter season.

Clay: Having decided to run another place to screen films, what drew you into the choice of having it at the Old Perth Girls’ School, a heritage-listed building?

Jo: The building is iconic in its ‘Egyptian Art-Deco’ grandeur and the castle-like building features a large hall, which is where students watched videos when it was the Perth Girls School in the 1930’s. We recognised the potential of the space as a winter cinema and we’ve been chuffed with the response from people who are experiencing the stunning building and getting to know what the East Perth neighbourhood has to offer.

Clay: How do you go about selecting the films that you choose to screen?

Jo: The Girls School Cinema program is big on variety and fun.

We’re screening some of the latest blockbusters including the best of the Marvel movies, alongside some throw-back favourites like Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo and Juliet and Spice World.

Being an indoor cinema we’re also really happy that we can program matinee screenings for families with young kids, and we’ve got an upcoming Frozen Sing-A-Long plus a screening 90’s favourite Aladdin (see it before you see the musical!).

Whereas Rooftop Movies is pretty much solid blockbusters and new releases, with Girls School Cinema we’re wanting to offer more variety including films that will appeal to movie buffs. We’ve already had success with a David Lynch retrospective in July, and for August we’ve got three of Stanley Kubrick’s best films; Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut and The Shining.

Clay: What are the future plans for Girl School Cinema?

Jo: Girls School Cinema is stage one of our plan to turn the historic building into a thriving creative precinct that will introduce a whole new dash of life to the East Perth neighbourhood and offer new opportunities for Fringe artists, year-round. Watch this space!

Clay: Now for a more human and personal element - each of the team’s favourite film and favourite meal?

Jo: Chan-Wook Park's Old Boy or Daniel Riberio's The Way He Looks depending on my mood. But I'm always up for Sichuan food. 

Andrew Ryan