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New org unites Oz exhibs

Australian Cinema Exhibitors Coalition tackles piracy, censorship

SYDNEY — Australia’s historically fractious cinema industry has inaugurated a supreme body to coordinate the fight against piracy and present a united voice on industry issues.

The Australian Cinema Exhibitors Coalition will aim to represent the interests of all cinemas on issues such as censorship, how to stimulate box office and how best to embrace digital technology.

Denis Parkes, owner of rural-based cinema Merimbula Twin, welcomed the formation of the ACEC “as a peak industry body to speak on those issues that affect us all regardless of whether it’s the biggest city multiplex or the smallest bush independent. There will always be areas where we disagree, but equally there will be areas where we can speak with one voice.”

The four major chains — U.S.-owned Reading, Greater Union, Village and Hoyts — are each represented on the seven-seat board.

Indie loops Palace, Dendy and Australian Multiplex are represented through industry bodies the Independent Cinemas Assn. of Australia, the Motion Picture Exhibitors’ Assn. of Queensland and the Australian Entertainment Industry Employers’ Assn., which each have a seat on the board, too.

Topper at indie loop Dendy Cinemas, Mark Sarfarty; and topper at major Greater Union, Jim Collier, drove the establishment of the org and are inaugural co-chairmen.

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