Hindley St cyclorama and rink becomes Adelaide's first picture theatre, West's, in 1908

Some of the art deco style of West's cinema in Hindley Street remains in its new role as Adelaide Symphony Orchestra's Grainger Studio.

Adelaide's first permanent cinema was in Hindley Street on the site of the cyclorama and the Olympia skating rink. Cinema chain owner T. J. West bought the site and revamped it as West’s Picture Theatre. It opened in December 1908.

In 1939, West decided to knock down the theatre and build a modern one in its place. (The theatre is now the home of Adelaide Symphony Orchestra as the Grainger Studio  – named after Percy Grainger.)

By 1912, several silent movie picture theatres were built, mainly around Hindley Street.

The Empire Theatre opened alongside the newly-built 1901 Central Market in Grote Street.

The style of picture theatre buildings was influenced by the American cinema industry. They were often ornate and the most flamboyant building in the streetscape.

Two former cinema buildings survive as substantial shops along Rundle Mall.

One is the five-storey Lotteries Commission building at 23-25 Rundle Mall which was a former Grand Picture Theatre built for sole proprietor Alfred Drake. He held a grand opening in November 1916 for the city’s mayor and other dignitaries before it was premiered to the public the next day with The Fool's Revenge.

It closed in 1976, having also been known at different times as the Mayfair and Sturt cinemas.


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Resin studio in Adelaide proves small is beautiful with world-class film VFX and animation

Adelaide’s Resin boutique studio was the primary visual effects (VFX) seller for the Storm Boy 2019 film remake, creating a digital double of the famous pelican Mr Percival, along with ocean and storm VFX. It did all of the visual effects shots and titles for Kriv Stender’s Red Dog, and has contributed to other films such as Electric Dreams, Where the Wild Things Are, Rogue, Forbidden Lies and Netflix series Tideland. A core expertise in visual effects, character and creature animation allows its boutique size to expand to meet the world-class needs of feature films. The core is built around a foundation of design, technical knowhow and over a decade’s experience across on-set effects. It enables Resin to cross all facets of visual effects, character and creature animation including pioneering work in augmented reality where Resin it won best new app in the national awards. Resin, started in 2004 by Grant Lovering and Lincoln Wogan in commercial work, has collaborated with the world's leading agencies and production companies for brands including Disney XD, Electronic Arts, Lennox, Mitsubishi, Bridgestone, Michellin, Yalumba, Jacob's Creek, News Ltd and SA Tourism. Resin expanded with studios in Melbourne and Brisbane in 2018. But it is keeping its headquarters in Adelaide where revolutionary high-speed internet, courses in VFX and post production at universities and private institutions, and a growing reputation for world class VFX work help it compete internationally. South Australian Film Corporation’s uncapped 10% post-production rebate from 2017  has been another boon.

Southern Cross film 'The Woman Suffers' (1918) , made in Adelaide, a feminist melodrama

Made in Adelaide and the first major production financed by South Australia’s Southern Cross Feature Film Company, The Woman Suffers (1918) was an important and controversial film in its time, and remains one of the most significant Australian silent features. Directed by Raymond Longford, it starred his partner Lottie Lyell and has been called Australia’s first feminist feature film. The film is a full-scale melodrama of town and country, with sumptuous settings and high fashions, entwined with a highly moral story on a familiar theme: ruination of a woman by a man. The film, in eight acts, includes many outrages – from the drunken wife-beater husband through to two young men who seduce and abandon women, causing one to suicide and the other to attempt an abortion. All the women in the film are sympathetically depicted. The Woman Suffers opened in March 1918 at the Theatre Royal, Adelaide, to good box office results and rave reviews. It opened in Sydney in August to good houses and ran for seven weeks but this came to an abrupt halt in October when the New South Wales chief secretary banned further screenings, without giving reasons. The Woman Suffers was popular in other states. Its success allowed Longford and Lyell to begin work on their next film, The Sentimental Bloke (1919), also for the Southern Cross Feature Film Company and based on the book by South Australian-born author C.J. Dennis. The Sentimental Bloke has been described as the crowning achievement of Longford and Lyell’s careers, and of all Australian silent films. 

Aboriginal filmmakers supported by South Australian corporation strategy 2015-20

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South Australian Film Corporation's Lottie Lyell Award 100 years after 'Woman Suffers'

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