The golden days of cinema are set to return to Ōtautahi with the opening of a new boutique cinema at The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora.

The cinema, Lumière, will be co-owned as well as managed by well-known cinephile Nick Paris, who has worked in Christchurch’s cinema and film industry for 40 years. Max Hoffman, a former screenwriter who wrote for several major film studios in Hollywood, is also a co-owner.

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The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora chief executive Philip Aldridge said Lumière was the perfect fit for the Arts Centre, which received several high-quality operator proposals.

“Nick is synonymous with film in Christchurch and wants the cinema to be a 365-day film festival, which is a brilliant ambition. We’re excited to have him and Max – who are both very experienced and passionate – bring cinema back home to The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora.

“They believe in our vision of creating a centre of the arts and a hub for creativity with many rich layers of experiences. We look forward to seeing the cinematic world they create,” Aldridge said.

Situated in the The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora’s West Lecture building next to the Great Hall, Lumière will have two theatres, state-of-the-art technology, vintage ambience, luxurious seating and a focus on service.

The complex will also feature an intimate retreat bar, the Bijou Bar. The Art Deco bar themed bar will offer locally-sourced refreshments and overlook the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Rolleston Avenue.

Nick believes Lumière will offer filmgoers a unique experience bringing the magic of cinema to Christchurch.

“Lumière will remind us what it means to go to the cinema – a true event – in a world where people watch films under duvets and on their mobile phones,” Nick said.

There will be a strong focus on curated films that will inform, inspire, and challenge audiences and the cinema hopes to collaborate with local film-makers, artists, and musicians, he said.

The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora was home to cinemas from 1976 until the February 2011 earthquake significantly damaged many buildings and resulted in the closure of the entire centre. The $290 million restoration programme began in 2012 with buildings being progressively restored and reopened.

Lumière Cinema is open now – see you there.

Joshua Brosnahan