Film screenings to pay tribute in lead-up to ANZAC Day

Invercargill’s Civic Theatre is set to commemorate ANZAC Day this year with a series of special movie screenings.

Invercargill City Council Venues Manager Jason Wade said the screenings, set to be held in the theatre’s Wikitoria Room, follow the successful showings of classic films during the inaugural Upstage: Invercargill Festival of Cabaret in 2023.

“The stories of war run the gamut of tragedy through to triumph, and they provide marquee filmmakers like Spielberg ample opportunity to delve into our shared history. We hope that by offering this series of film screenings to commemorate ANZAC Day, we are offering our community the chance to pay tribute to those who served,” he said.

The imposing Civic Theatre was built in 1906, and is considered one of the city’s finest examples of architecture. Built in 1906, the Edwardian building is a Heritage New Zealand Category I listing, marking it as a building of national significance.

“The Civic Theatre is one of Invercargill’s most historic venues, and we know people really appreciated being able to experience the theatre in a way that isn’t normally available to them. The Wikitoria Room will provide a fitting atmosphere to remember the many sacrifices made by the ANZACs.”

The first film in the series, set to be on Monday, April 22, would be the 2011 feature War Horse: the Steven Spielberg-directed film based on the 1982 novel of the same name by Michael Morpurgo. Set before and during WWI, the film features performances from Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston, and follows Joey, a horse raised by British teenager Albert and bought by the British army, and his various encounters amidst the war.

Next, on Tuesday, April 23, would be They Shall Not Grow Old. They Shall Not Grow Old was Kiwi director Peter Jackson’s first foray into documentary features. Using original footage of WWI – most of it previously unseen – from the Imperial War Museum’s archives, They Shall Not Grow Old is an immersive experience of what life was really like as a soldier. The film’s title was drawn from Laurence Binyon’s poem For The Fallen.

Finally, on Wednesday, April 24, the Sam Mendes-directed and produced 1917 will be shown. Inspired by stories shared with Mendes by his grandfather, the film focuses on the retreat to the Hindenburg Line and follows two British servicemen in their mission to deliver the message to call off the doomed offensive attack during Operation Alberich. 1917 was a critical and box-office success; it was nominated for 10 awards at the 92nd Academy Awards, winning three, and garnered numerous other accolades.

All films will begin at 10am. Tickets are $20 and include light refreshments following the films. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Civic Theatre or online here.