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Join Sunset, see the world

American comedy Shiva Baby, by debuting director Emma Seligman, will kick off Sunset Cinema’s 2024 film season this week at the Rangitahi Hub at Carterton Events Centre.

It is the first movie in a year-long programme of 11 films to be screened by the Carterton Film Society and will take society members on a cinematic journey to South Korea, Europe, Iran, America’s Wild West and New Zealand.

“We do try to choose films from all around the world so we get exposure to all these different cultures, and also movies that are thought-provoking,” Odette Rowe, one of the society’s committee members, said.

“We try to choose films that are going to push people gently outside of their comfort zone but not put them off entirely.

“Quite often, people will still be talking about a film they saw last year. That’s quite an amazing thing.”

As well as dramas, thrillers and documentaries, the Sunset committee is “a little bit excited” about the four comedies in its programme.

“I feel that this year, enough awful things are happening in the world that we all need a little bit of a laugh now and then,” Rowe said.

“So we are opening with a comedy and ending with a comedy, and then there’s a couple of others in between just to keep us chortling along.”

It is the society’s ninth year and it remains one of the only film societies in Aotearoa New Zealand [of which Sunset Cinema is aware] that offers its members tea, coffee, and homemade cake.

“Cake is very important,” Rowe admitted.

Gluten-free and Italian offerings made by Rowe and fellow society members Jason Markham and Lucia Zanmonti are available at every screening.

“We just ask for a donation for the refreshments, and what’s wonderful is the money is all put back into the community,” Rowe said.

This arrangement enabled Sunset Cinema to donate $684 of groceries to the Carterton Foodbank last Christmas.

The society offers two types of membership – full membership, which costs $80 and gives access to all 11 films across the year, or the three-trip sampler at $35.

“Because we are one of New Zealand’s film societies, you do have to be a member,” Rowe said. “One of the pros of full membership is a relatively new thing we do called ‘Friends with Benefits’ – once during the year, you can bring a friend for free.”

Full membership can also be used at any film society in New Zealand, including Wellington and Palmerston North societies, which screen weekly.

New members are always welcome, and the society is a great way to see exciting cinema and meet new people, Rowe said.

“I really love it because I get to meet all these people who I probably wouldn’t necessarily meet otherwise – and just see how they all connect together and just to get people talking.”

Doors open at the Rangitahi Hub at the Events Centre at 7pm for screenings on the last Friday of each month.

Rowe encourages filmgoers to arrive “early and eat more cake”, particularly for the first two screenings, to avoid having to queue while the Sunset team organises new memberships.

Another “top tip” for new members is that access to the Rangitahi Hub is at the back of the Events Centre. “Go to the town clock and go down the driveway there. Otherwise, people are standing outside the main entrance, looking a bit sad.”

For more information, visit www.sunsetcinema carterton.com/

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