Gus Berger And The QV Outdoor Cinema

Melbourne has always had a strong film culture, with ACMI being located right in the middle of Melbourne and so many people successfully protesting to save the Astor Theatre from closing. It should come as no surprise then that QV Melbourne are hosting an outdoor cinema screening on Thursday-Sunday nights between December and February. Melbourne born filmmaker Gus Berger is the man behind this ace program, and we got to speak to him on his passion for cinema and the QV Outdoor Cinema.

You are hosting the Outdoor Cinema, revived the George Revival Cinema and run Blow Up Cinema. Where does your passion for cinema come from?
Probably when I was in the U.K. working at a documentary organisation. I’ve always been into films. I work for a company that did well at festivals in Amsterdam and London as there weren’t many documentaries in London. They decided to screen feature documentaries in art house cinemas all around London. I got into filmmaking myself, made a doco over there. I spent 3 or 4 years in London, I came back to Melbourne. I wanted to bring cinemas into different spaces and with that you need a screen and sound system and a good projector for different venues.

What are your favourite movies?
The Godfather is my all time favourite, an absolute classic, beautifully shot story. Recently, I loved Nightcrawler, Whiplash, mano n fire, and Grizzly Man. The ones that give you a short window to see them. Nothing quite like seeing a film on the big screen. That’s really important part of film culture in Melbourne, seeing a film. Even if it’s a film like The Blues Brothers, which I’ve loved for a long time, we put that up on New Years Eve. We had a ’60s rhythm blues in the bar, people reciting lines, having a dance afterwards. There’s something about that, if you’ve seen it before, with people making the effort to see these films. With Blow Up, it’s an event around the screening. That’s what we try to do with QV, with some pre show entertainment. Iconic music venues like The Gershwin Room showed Give Me Shelter and Joy Division.

What inspired you to hold the Outdoor Cinema?
Just an idea I had for a summer season of films there. It’s in such a great space with food and drinks, burgers from Grill’d. It’s a silent cinema with headphones you can tune into the film and sit on a deck chair on a summers night. We tried to work surrounding food vendors into the show.

It seems like there is a real life component on specific nights to match the film being screened, such as a live performed from the Australian Shakespeare Company for Romeo + Juliet and allowing people to bring their dogs for Best In Show. Is that going to be a regular thing? What inspired that idea?
Not very screening. There’s a few we’re singling out that can have pre-show entertainment. We have a Christmas feel leading up to it, with films such as A Nightmare Before Christmas, Elf, Bad Santa, and other family Christmas film. Robotic elves will be playing on opening night when they play The Devil Wears Prada.

What are some of the old favourites that will be playing?
Stand By Me, Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Sound Of Music, Willy Wonka, Amelie, St Elmo’s Fire, Labyrinth, Leading up to Australia Day weekend, we will screen Red Dog, Muriel’s Wedding and The Castle. A program will be released at the end of the week.

Originally published here at on Thursday 26 November 2015

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