Ford Fiesta Presents The Melbourne Moonlight Cinema

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Ford Fiesta Presents The Melbourne Moonlight Cinema


What’s better than cuddling up and watching your favourite film? Doing it under the stars in the Royal Botanic Gardens, that’s what. Moonlight Cinema opens on December 16 and has a program packed of old faithfuls and new flicks.

What’s better than cuddling up and watching your favourite film? Doing it under the stars in the Royal Botanic Gardens, that’s what. Moonlight Cinema opens on December 16 and has a program packed of old faithfuls and new flicks. Moonlight Cinema started in Melbourne fifteen years ago and every year, we still flock to set up picnic rugs, pour a little glass of something and take in the experience. Simon Bogle, Event Director of Moonlight Cinema took some time out to talk about this strange beast which now pops up every summer in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.

You’d assume that juggling so many sites, and the elements would throw up some curly challenges, but Bogle, who’s now been with Moonlight for five years, is unflustered. “I guess there are: working outdoors, working inside parks and gardens, particularly in heritage gardens, presents challenges all the time, but given Moonlight has been in these venues for some years it’s the same kind of challenges that pop up, aside from the crazy weather,” he says.

The highlight for Bogle, he says, is “getting the season running and getting to enjoy what people come to Moonlight for. That is, the fantastic social experience that you have with friends and family, watching a movie in the park. It’s particularly fun and enjoyable in Melbourne, because the garden is so beautiful and the view across the top of the screen to the city behind is just breathtaking. It’s the experience that Moonlight provides that I guess is why I keep doing it.”

This year’s Moonlight program kicks off with Tamara Drewe, the film adaptation of the comic strip and novel by Posy Simmond. It stars Bond girl Gemma Arterton and although you might not have heard much about it yet, you can be sure you will. Closing night is a preview screening of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest.

Monty Python’s Life of Brian sits alongside Grease amongst the older films on offer. Cult and classics have varying popularity, shares Bogle, “Some do well and some don’t. Breakfast At Tiffany’s always does very well and I think it will always be there in the Moonlight mix. Occasionally we’ll screen an old Marilyn Monroe movie and they do reasonably well in Melbourne and Sydney.

“The older films that are very popular that do well are those ‘80s films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,The Breakfast Club, that kind of thing, and in terms of ‘90s films – Edward Scissorhands is really popular.”Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is on the program this year, together with Top Gun, Donnie Darko, Zoolander and Pulp Fiction.

If you’re after a family outing, kiddie flicks include Toy Story 3, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Megamind, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Disney’s latest offering, Tangled.

Obviously putting together the program is one of the most fun parts of Bogle’s job, but unfortunately he can’t put one film close to his heart on the big screen. “A film that I always loved when I was a kid was Star Wars, believe it or not. I thought it was a great film then and I still think it’s a really enjoyable film now. It’s just a shame those original Star Wars films are not available on 35mm film, which is what we use. If they were I think we would screen them and they’d go really well.”

If you’re feeling guilty leaving your pooch at home (again), there’s no need to turn to DVDs on January 16. At the screening of the animated Despicable Me your well-behaved canine mate is welcome. Whilst fido flick nights have been happening off and on for years, it’s been a constant in the last few Moonlight seasons. “A few years ago a film was coming out in summer called Hotel For Dogs and we were approached by Paramount to do the Australian premiere.

We thought, ‘well why not make it a dog-friendly event and get people to bring their dogs along?’ We’ve done it ever since. It’s extremely popular,” shares Bogle, adding, “to be perfectly honest I don’t think it’s got anything to do with the film – it’s all about an outing with the dogs. People bring their dogs they’re extremely well behaved and it’s a really good fun night.”

So check the weather, check the program and get on down to the Botanic Gardens. Date or friends, beanbag or grass, it’s magical.

Moonlight Cinema runs from December 16 until March 20 at the Botanic Gardens. Tickets range from $11 to $18, with Gold Grass at $33 and concessions at $16. There’s a licensed bar and catering by Soul Kitchen, or feel free to BYO. Limited bean beds are available for hire at the cinema for $7. For more info, head to