The FOTAA Inc. 2013 AGM was held 3pm on Saturday 14th of December 2013

Copies of the Agenda, and Minutes of the 2013 Annual General Meeting can be found on the Activities Page, under the FOTAA Policies and Documents Section

FOTAA Member’s Only Screening Saturday July 20th 2013, 2-5pm


June 2013 Launch of our FOTAA Membership Card & new FOTAA Partners Discounts.

As a Friend of the Astor you are supporting the protection of the Astor Theatre, and the preservation of the cinema experience in the way it was intended.

Now there are more reasons to become a FOTAA member.

Member Discounts

From the 1st July 2013, FOTAA members will have access to discounts from local businesses on presentation of their FOTAA membership card.  Participating businesses include:

The Astor Theatre, Back Bar, Dino’s Café Bar, Light Leaks, Mothers Milk, Pure Pop Records,  Mirella Marie Studio, and Traffik International Food.

For information about participating businesses and their discounts offered, go to:

Also, as a FOTAA member you will be also be entitled to members only events over the next year.  Stay tuned for further details.

To become a member, or to renew your membership, go to:

Then you can get some cheap drinks, a good dinner, maybe pick up a record, and head down to see your favourite double-feature films; at the best single screen venue in Australia – The Astor Theatre.

 From Your Friends at FOTAA,  June 11th 2013


25-May 2013 A message from the President of FOTAA, Vanda Hamilton

“It is now a year since our campaign to ask St Michael’s to sell The Astor was launched. During that campaign the love and respect that so many people have for The Astor was very much in evidence, as it was recently when Marzipan, the theatre cat, left us. We were overwhelmed and overawed by the support shown for The Astor, and for the future of film and single screen cinema. As everyone knows, that campaign culminated in the freehold of the building in which The Astor is housed being sold to Mr. Ralph Taranto. Mr. Taranto also owns the freehold of the building in which the Brighton Bay cinemas are housed.

The Friends of The Astor Association (FOTAA) believed at the time that the school should have negotiated with FOTAA, or George Florence to buy the freehold. FOTAA was in the process of organizing to raise the funds to buy the building, either outright or in conjunction with George Florence. The company that owns The Astor has first right of refusal on a sale of the building. George Florence attempted to exercise that right, and put in a proposal to purchase the building. He was persuaded it would be in the interests of The Astor and the building which houses The Astor if Mr. Taranto were to buy the building, as he would have funds to immediately start renovating. George subsequently decided not to press ahead with his proposal.

It has been a difficult time for FOTAA in terms of communicating with our members. We could not say anything during the time the sale was being negotiated, as both parties had asked that nothing be said publicly. After the sale we hoped that we would be able to hold a day of celebration to announce the signing of a new long term lease. Unfortunately this has yet to come to fruition, and The Astor and Mr. Taranto will be discussing some matters of concern in relation to the lease in a mediation to be held on 27 May.

We realise that many of our members have concerns that they have had little communication from the committee of FOTAA. We understand those concerns, and we will be addressing them. We ask you to understand that these have been a whirlwind few years for FOTAA. The first year was mostly taken up with the sort of paperwork involved in getting making FOTAA a formal association. This is a detailed and lengthy process, as anyone who has ever undertaken it will know. We then launched straight into the campaign last year.

We had thought that our time and energy would be taken up raising funds to buy the freehold of the building. We still believe that we need to raise funds for a purchase of the freehold in the future. However FOTAA was also formed with other aims in mind. We want to promote, preserve and raise awareness of film as a medium. We want to offer members special experiences with The Astor that are not otherwise available. And we will continue to work towards the formation of a trust structure which can eventually take over the business of The Astor.

But for the moment we are concentrating on giving value to FOTAA memberships. We have members working on a membership card which will give discounts at The Astor and surrounding businesses, and we hope that these will be in place by the time memberships are due for renewal at the end of June 2013. We are also working on a number of member events. There will be a very special event in June, and the details for that are to be posted in the next couple of weeks.

We really do appreciate your support. It has been, and will continue to be, vital to keeping The Astor alive. We encourage you to contact us if you have suggestions or concerns, and to come along to sub-committee meetings if you have an interest in a particular area of our activities.

We look forward to seeing you at events throughout the year.
Vanda Hamilton President of FOTAA Inc. May 2013

16-May 2013 Important Statement From Friends of the Astor

An article by Karl Quinn on The Age website this afternoon has raised concerns about the long term future of The Astor.

One of the statements in the article is that there is tension over who owns The Astor. This is not true. The Astor as a business is owned and operated by George Florence, and has been since 1982. Ralph Taranto owns the freehold of the building in which The Astor is situated. He has nothing to do with the running of the cinema.

One of the reasons the Friends of The Astor was established was so that a group of like minded people could work towards setting up a trust that will eventually run The Astor. This is the only way to ensure the long term viability of a single screen cinema which screens film. In time it will be realised that The Astor is as important to history and to art as any museum and art gallery. It therefore makes sense that it is run by a trust, rather than a business which has to make a profit to survive.

It has always been our opinion that the building needs to be held in trust as well. At the time of our campaign last year, our hope was that the school would let George and us buy the building. Indeed, an offer was made to do so by The Astor, which has first right of refusal under the current lease. This offer was ignored. It was put to George by a person negotiating on behalf of the school that Mr Taranto would put the building in a trust at some stage after purchase. On these grounds, and under the belief that much needed renovations would start immediately, George did not push on with his bid for the building.

Friends of The Astor believes that the parties will come to an agreement. A long term lease has been offered, which is a vast improvement on plans by the school. George did not pull out of the negotiations. Rather, the lease offer was withdrawn by Mr Taranto. Hopefully the matter will be settled at mediation next week. We hope that Mr Taranto has the best interests of The Astor at heart, and we are sure that he understands the importance of The Astor, in its current form, to the community, to the country, to the world and to the future. We wish the parties the best in the negotiations, and ask that Mr Taranto and his solicitors go to the table in good faith and with honest intent.


Read Earlier News From 2012.