About Queenstown Film Society
Founded in 2001 and based for over 15 years at Dorothy Browns Cinema & Bar in Arrowtown, Queenstown Film Society is a not-for-profit community organisation dedicated to making the art of cinema available to all.
Each year we get together on winter Tuesdays to watch fine movies cherry-picked from the last century of cinema. We catch up over a glass of wine or an ice-cream before the 8 pm screenings, listen to a short talk about the movie, and settle in to watch the night's offering from a programme of classic film, recent world cinema and documentaries.
We're one of the 14 member societies of the New Zealand Federation of Film Societies. The federation has been screening films throughout the country for over 70 years and each year film societies screen to an estimated total combined audience of 25,000 New Zealanders.
We have non-commercial screening rights so our screenings are open to members only. There are several different types of membership available.
As a full member of Queenstown Film Society you'll get free entry into all 20 films in the 2021 season. You’ll meet like-minded film fans at weekly pre-screening drinks and occasional get-togethers, and you may learn something new about cinema, as each film is introduced with a short talk.
You'll also get free entry into the screenings of the other film societies around the country from Dunedin to Auckland, and discounted entry to the New Zealand International Film Festival. You'll also get reduced-price admission to Dorothy Browns in the months of October and November.
Queenstown Film Society was established in 2001 by a band of cinephiles who wanted to watch the sorts of films not available in the mainstream cinema. The group wrote a constitution, joined the New Zealand Federation of Film Societies and bought a vintage projector.
At first the society screened films from the federation's 16 mm collection in a draughty hall with hard wooden chairs. After Dorothy Browns, the district's first arthouse cinema, opened in Arrowtown in 2002, the society was fortunate to obtain the support of its owner, Philippa Archibald. Since then we have screened in the comfort of a luxurious boutique cinema renowned across New Zealand.
Over the years the technology we use has progressed from 16 mm and 35 mm film, to DVD and Blu-Ray. Today we screen our films digitally in high definition through the cinema's own projector, often using restored versions and occasionally in 3D.
Our raison-d'être may be to make non-mainstream movies accessible to everyone and to educate audiences in the art of film, but we also promote all types of film. In 2012 to celebrate Arrowtown's 150th birthday we organised, in cooperation with the New Zealand Film Archive, a series of free public screenings of historic local film clips dating back as early as 1905 – with live piano accompaniment. These were seen by over 600 people. And for several years we held a short film showcase in which local amateur film-makers got the chance to show their films on the big screen.