Our History

Films in the Southern Highlands (FISH) was launched in 1994, and now, with a maximum of 400 members, screens eleven films a year.

FISH’s opening screening was Jim Jamusch’s “Night on Earth” on Tuesday 30 August 1994.

Much of the credit for the initial success of this venture lies with the then new proprietor of the Empire Cinema, Richard Ruhfus.

A committee was formed and Alan Purdom volunteered to design the logo that is now so familiar. The original committee was Chris Topp President, Barb Vickery Treasurer, Robert Graham and Judy Mylonas Programming, Elizabeth Rogers Secretary, Shayne Mortimer and Anne Steven.

Since ‘Night On Earth’, FISH has continued to grow to its present maximum of 400 and its success is reflected in the move to two screenings each month since 2004.

With the passing of time, an increase in membership and the change of committee members, the structure and operation of the committee and the society have developed. The informal approach that characterised our earlier administration was reformed by Greg Tome who took us through incorporation; the affairs of FISH are now conducted at formal monthly committee meetings.

Three Presidents, Robin Knowles, Annette Ameneiro and Ross Armfield, continued to refine the procedures with the help of the committee. The committee’s work includes the annual membership renewal – the single most onerous task – sending monthly newsletters and, its most important function, the selection of films. Originally, this role was undertaken by Robert Graham and Judy Mylonas. In more recent times, the whole committee has determined the selection guided by principles of quality, highly recommended movies, and varying the genres and countries of origin. Currently with input from other committee members, Liz Stevenson acts as the collector of reviews and all committee members do their own research in the process of selection. The growth of screening services has made this task more challenging.

Over the years, FISH has been the proud contributor to a number of community projects.

FISH has always had a warm and productive association with the Empire Cinema and Richard Ruhfus, our patron. We are grateful for the continued support provided by the current team at Empire Cinema.