Did you see “Risen” when it screened at Village Cinemas Eastlands last month or at Village Cinemas Glenorchy? Check out the inspirational and faith-filled story below, of a local man’s journey of getting it here for you…
Colin Hercott isn’t a name that lots of Hobartians recognise. He and his wife, Jen, have lived here for three years, and are slowly building people networks through work and church and feeling like Hobart is “home”. Megan Sayer met Colin recently for coffee, and got the low-down on how a local bloke managed to organise a screening of a major Hollywood production in Hobart, with no previous experience.
“So Colin, how did you get a Hollywood production to Hobart, seemingly singlehandedly?”
I ask this question to Colin, and he laughs. “I was sitting on the couch complaining about it, actually. I’d been given movie vouchers for Christmas, and then, when we heard “Risen” had been released, we looked up session times on the Village website, only to find it wasn’t showing in Tassie. I was having a whinge about it while watching TV, when my wife said “Well do something about it!” Eventually Jen used my iPad and sent them a message via the Risen Movie Australia Facebook page, saying “Will you be showing Risen in Hobart?” Within half an hour they’d answered me, saying that it was not scheduled for Tasmania and suggested I took on the project myself.”
Colin, a methodical, orderly thinker by nature, says “it was the most un-premeditated thing I’ve ever done. Sometimes you can analyse a thing far too much, and analyse yourself into not doing anything.” Thankfully Jen had always had more of a “just do it” attitude, which paid off.
“Back in the old days…”
Colin says, “most of the organising was done via Facebook, and happened quietly around everything else that was going on in life. Back in the old days you’d have to walk the streets, physically knock on doors and talk to people to make things like this happen. But now, it was just so easy”.
Not knowing anything about cinema or the way the industry works turned out an advantage to Colin, who says it made him unafraid to “ask dumb questions”. He contacted Affirm Films, the company behind “Risen” via their Facebook page, who encouraged him to contact a local cinema and organise a screening. Colin first spoke to State Cinemas, thinking that the small cinemas there would be the best size. State, however, needed a copy of the movie first, for testing, and when Colin contacted Sony to ask for a copy he was told “we don’t do it that way, sorry. You’ll have to speak to a nationally distributing cinema chain”.
“This could be the most expensive date in history”
This is where the journey became a step of faith for Colin and Jen. Village Cinemas do hire out their spaces for private screenings, but in order to create a contract for booking they needed to specify not only a date, but how many people they expected to attend. Plus, Village required an up-front payment at the time of the booking. Did they want a small cinema, a medium size one, or, could they dream, even a large one? Who did they even know in Hobart that they could invite? It was at this point, when they needed to pay some thousands of dollars out of their own savings, that Jen laughed saying, “This could be the most expensive date in history! We may have the whole cinema to ourselves!” They took the risk, booking the small 100 seat cinema, checked whether they could upgrade to a larger cinema if needed, and signed on the dotted line.
Facebook to the Rescue!
Having taken the seemingly crazy step of booking a cinema and a date, Jen then used Colin’s profile to create an events page on Facebook, which the couple shared with all their friends and contacts, to try and ascertain how much interest there would be in the movie. Amazingly, they found that over 1400 people shared the event, and within a very short time nearly over 160 people had indicated that they’d like to attend.
Making it all happen
Not ever having organised a movie screening before, Colin googled “online ticket-selling app”, read the reviews of the first few products listed, and ended up settling on the first one. “It was actually really easy”, he says. “We were able to print out physical tickets through the app, and also set up the number of online tickets we wanted to sell. It was a steep learning curve, but, amazingly, everything fell into place so quickly and so seamlessly. Even the obstacles—needing to change the contract to go for a larger cinema but being unable to because of the Easter public holidays—worked out fine in the end. It was so definitely a God thing.”
Colin said he and Jen were completely blown away by the number of ticket sales. He expressed his gratitude to ultra106.5fm for helping spread the word to so many people. “It was a real faith journey. I probably should have booked a larger, 400-seat cinema, but the bigger the cinema the more you need to pay, and—well—next time we’ll know.” Over 30 people were turned away from the cinema that night, unable to buy tickets. Many had travelled great distances to get there, and said they were prepared to sit on the floor; unfortunately Village Cinema safety regulations prohibited this.
Colin and Jen were both occupied scanning the tickets at the door before the movie. Colin says that the Village staff were “blown away” by the experience, not only how many phone calls they’d had, and the numbers of people they’d had to turn away, but also the cleanliness of the theatre after such a large crowd. Colin says, “Driving home after the movie we were truly amazed and could only put the success of the project down to the power of God.
A bigger vision is birthed
Colin is now praying for discernment on the future of enabling Christian events to come to Tasmania. He has some exciting ideas around accessing film rights, outdoor screenings and Christian festivals. “Jen is a huge support” he says “she looks at all the business planning, risk management and marketing requirements, and keeps my feet firmly on the ground!” “If it is God’s will then it will happen … How exciting!”
After popular demand Colin is now in process of booking another screening of Risen at Village Cinema Glenorchy, this Friday night, May 7th. Tickets are available here. Please come along, bring a friend, and support Colin in his push to get Christian movies available in Tassie!