Olivia Stewart 0

SOS:Save Our Schonell

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The Schonell Cinema at the University of Queensland was Brisbane\'s first arthouse cinema in 1970, and over the past 36 years it has continued to play a significant role in screening independent and foreign films which may not otherwise have received a cinematic release. Sadly, The Schonell is a victim of funding cuts associated with the Federal Government\'s VSU (voluntary student unionism) legislation, which drastically reduces funding for student organisations, and its cinema operations will cease after the close of business on Saturday 24 June 2006. In announcing The Schonell\'s closing date, cinema management advised that because of VSU, the UQ Union is unable to continue to subsidise the operation of The Schonell as this would mean less funds available for other priorities of the organisation such as student advocacy, representation and welfare. It added that throughout the 70s and 80s, it was actually the then highly profitable Schonell that subsidised other areas of the Student Union, but the proliferation of cinema screens in the area and the ever increasing number of entertainment options now available to the public has resulted in a decline in audience attendances. Despite this, management stated, \"Throughout its operation The Schonell has specialised in screening world movies, alternative films and thought provoking documentaries. \"We take pride in the fact that we screen unique films that make people think and that raise important questions. Films that expose audiences to other cultural viewpoints and that encourage them to see the world from a different perspective.\" As discerning filmgoers, we the undersigned, would like to express our dismay and concern to government ministers and policy makers, and the UQ student union, that such the VSU legislation has forced this situation. We ask that both this policy, and the union\'s decision, be reconsidered, and add our support to a future recommencement of cinema operations by The Schonell.


As a UQ arts student in the 1980s, the Schonell provided my introduction to the world of arthouse, alternative and independent film. Having gone on to become a film reviewer and performer, I believe it is vital that a valuable and beloved institution such as the Schonell be recognised and resurrected. Thank you for your support. Olivia Stewart olivia_stewart@optusnet.com.au
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