THE Katsoulis name has been synonymous with movies on the South Coast for more than 36 years.
When Arcadia Twin Cinema owners John and Sue Katsoulis retire next week, it will be the end of an era that started when the couple purchased the Milton Picture Theatre in 1978.
Over the years they have owned and operated the Milton, Batemans Bay and Ulladulla cinemas as well as operating the Burrill Lake open air theatre, however they will soon switch off the projectors for the last time after selling the Arcadia, located in Rowen’s Arcade, to Huskisson Cinema owners Jeff and Carolyn Visser and their son Jeremy.
Sue said she was looking forward to retirement and spending more time in the garden, singing with the Miltones and, as a retired nurse, perhaps volunteering at the Milton-Ulladulla hospital in some capacity.
John has a huge job ahead of him sorting through loads of old films and cinema memorabilia.
The couple said it would be “tough” leaving an industry they felt so passionate about, however the time had some for them to spend more time with their family.
John worked as a drive-in manager in Sydney for 10 years before the family, with two young children in tow, purchased the Milton Picture Theatre.
He ran 35 millimetre reels on the projector and recalled some of the biggest hits in Milton were The Man From Snowy River, Far Lap and Grease.
In those days, films would have a shelf life of three or four months, some even as long as a year, but these days, John said, movies came and went in a matter of weeks.
“The industry has changed so much, with people having home theatres, movies on DVDs and X-boxes for entertainment,” he said.
“The cinema has really become a special outing for people,” Sue added.
In the early 1980s the Katsoulis family also purchased the Batemans Bay Cinema and, at times, was operating three businesses at once when managing the Burrill Lake open air theatre on and off for several years.
When the Rowen family decided to expand its Ulladulla arcade, the couple dived into the opportunity to operate the new state-of-the-art twin cinema which became a popular destination for movie goers for 22 years.
As well as all the big Hollywood hits, Sue said they had been passionate about showing international films at the complex.
She said foreign and arthouse films were popular year-round.
“I love the international films out of England, Italy and France,” she said.
“We have always tied to run as many as we can, to offer something different for people.”
The Arcadia has been a part of the annual Escape Artfest showing weeks of creative Australian and overseas films and, for the past two years, has screened short films made by local participants in the ABC open competition.
Sue hoped the new owners would continue to embrace a variety of films, including foreign and local creations, and embrace the diverse cultural community in the area.
While there have been massive advances in the industry, such as changing from film to digital and massive competition from online films, movie piracy and home theatre, Sue said the cinema would continue to offer people a chance to escape and take a break.
“People can get away from their busy lives and immerse themselves in a film, in the dark, without any interruptions,” she said.
“I think people will always seek that opportunity to get away from it all by going to the cinema.”