With the relaunch of IMAX on South African shores The Vent sat down with Fiaz Mahomed, the CEO of Ster-Kinekor Theatres. At the press filled grand opening of South Africa’s second IMAX theater at The Grove, Pretoria. Fiaz Mahomed discusses what it means to take cinema to the next level, why Pretoria is the ideal destination for IMAX and what movies viewers can look forward to in IMAX and Ster-Kinekor this year.
Q: Why the re-launch of IMAX in South Africa?
“From a Ster-Kinekor perspective we focused on what we call “impact cinema”, that’s when you take the cinema experience to the next level. We opened the first IMAX in November last year in Durban, and it has been a phenomenal success. We feel audiences want to be immersed in the experience of cinema and IMAX is the best way to do that, so we are proud to open it here in Pretoria at ‘The Grove’ “
Q: Why Pretoria and not Johannesburg at like a Sandton or a bigger mall?
“We’re actively looking at various sites, and we will be opening more IMAX’s around the country to make sure that South African audiences have access no matter where they are living, Gateway is the number 1 cinema in the country so it was a natural place to start. This is a new cinema that we built, it just opened in December, but we delayed the opening of this screen to get an IMAX resolution screen, so it was a natural progression.
Johannesburg is going to be glad to know that next year they are going to have an IMAX cinema at Eastgate Mall, the Eastgate cinema complex is doing quiet some extensive works with our partners there”
Q: Why did IMAX close down before in South Africa, and why bring it back now?
“We have always been fans of IMAX, however the solution that was in South Africa before, was analogue solution, that limited the content, it was primarily documentaries. So as Ster-Kinekor we waited for the digital format of IMAX to be available, the digital version brings us choice in terms of Hollywood content, we can still play documentaries on there. So the sustainable factor is still there, the audience can enjoy week after week different films, there are 26 films currently and the number will grow in the next few months”
Q: Ster-Kinekor has recently launch Cine Prestige, so there’s more options that movie goers now have, what is it about IMAX that you want people to be excited about?
“It is an immersive and premium experience, it’s more than just a big screen, the shape is different, it’s retro-fitted to fit cinemas, but over and above that, IMAX have a propriety sound. But over an above that IMAX takes a finished product an enhances it to another level using their DMR technology. So it’s a complete visual and sound spectacular that at this point in time has not been replicated, so it’s definitely the best way to watch movies”
Q: Are there any films that you would like to see converted into IMAX?
“I’m very simple, I like action movies, I think watching something like 300 or one of those epic films would be tremendous to watch in IMAX”
Q: Would Ster-Kinekor want to see South African films being made in IMAX?
”IMAX lends itself better to other genres, a love story might not translate as well in IMAX, but certainly, it would be fantastic to have a local South African film in IMAX”
Visit Ster-Kinekor for more information on IMAX