Postponement of FOTAA AGM until 2015

The Registrar of Incorporated Associations has approved our application for a delay in holding our Annual General Meeting, and as such FOTAA have postponed our AGM until March 2015.

The reason for this postponement  is simply that we wanted to focus our FOTAA Committee’s energy, and time, on the current discussions on the lead-up to the Palace Cinemas offer to lease the Astor in 2015. (See Update Below dated 14-12-14).

We will be in touch again with all our FOTAA financial Members by early March 2015 at the latest, to advise of the revised AGM date.

Any AGM notifications will be independent of any other public communications FOTAA Inc. have on the future of the Astor in 2015


Update 14-December 2014 FOTAA Statement Re Palace Cinemas & The Astor Theatre

The Friends of The Astor Association Inc. (FOTAA) are delighted that Palace Cinemas have made a conditional offer to the landlord to lease the Astor Theatre, and to George Florence to retain his involvement in the programming and operation of the cinema. Under Palace Cinemas’ care it will remain a single screen cinema, and the interior will remain unchanged, apart from necessary repairs. Palace and George are also endeavouring to ensure that the film projectors remain in place, ensuring that The Astor will be able to screen film when it is available.

To preserve the Astor experience, under this proposed partnership, George Florence and his wonderful team will still be there when Palace Cinemas become the operators of The Astor. George‘s vision, hard work, knowledge and inspiration have given Melbourne and the world The Astor. George also saved many film prints that would have otherwise become hard rubbish, and it is thanks to him that The Astor has been able to include so many 70mm and 35mm films in its program.  In this new arrangement, George Florence would continue the wonderful and inspiring programming for which The Astor is famous, supported by the stable structure and business know-how which has made the Palace Cinema group such an integral and important part of Melbourne’s film culture.

Single screen cinemas around the world are rapidly disappearing. FOTAA fought to keep The Astor as a single screen cinema not just because we love it dearly, but also because we believe that in years to come it will prove to be a major drawcard for film lovers throughout the world, and a vital resource for film education. Already Australian and international tourists to Melbourne visit The Astor while they are here. In the future, The Astor will be a major drawcard for visitors to Melbourne, and cinephiles worldwide have expressed how lucky Melbourne is to have The Astor. There is no doubt that the retention of The Astor as a single screen cinema in its original home will be the envy of film lovers everywhere.

FOTAA congratulate all involved in this venture and thank both Ralamar Nominees and George Florence for being open to the proposal from Palace Cinemas, and working with them to try and make this happen. We would also like to thank Benjamin Zeccola, CEO of Palace Cinemas, for stepping up, and working hard with all parties on the proposal.

Most of all we thank you, supporters and lovers of The Astor, whose passion and enthusiasm keep us going during difficult times. We hope that you continue to flock to The Astor, and that your children and their children and all the children in years to come will have the opportunity to experience the beauty and the wonder of The Astor.

FOTAA will continue as an independent organisation, which will always advocate the retention of The Astor as a single screen cinema, and the importance of retaining film in the programming.

Best Regards,

Vanda Hamilton, President of FOTAA Inc.

(Sunday December 14th 2014)

31-October 2014 Update on FOTAA & the future of the Astor Theatre


FOTAA continue to engage with the Astor and the owner of the building in which it operates (Ralamar Nominees), and remain open to any option(s) which would allow ongoing fulfillment of our 7 Association Objectives, as created when the Friends of the Astor Association was first incorporated in 2010.

Progress updates will be provided as they become available.In the meantime, on our website we have addressed the five most frequently asked questions received from our members and the wider community. Please see Q&A here  

02-October 2014 Update on FOTAA & the future of the Astor Theatre


The Friends of the Astor Association (FOTAA) has recently met with a representative of Ralamar Nominees , (the owner of the Astor Theatre building at 1 Chapel Street) , regarding our possible use of the building as a single screen cinema beyond the end of the Astor’s current lease in May 2015.

Both FOTAA and Ralamar Nominees have committed to further discussion over the coming weeks, and we will update you further as this dialogue progresses.

October 2nd 2014


23-Aug 2014 Friends of the Astor Association Inc: Response to recent sad news on the announcement of The Astor Theatre closure


You may already have seen the public announcement made directly by the Astor in their Calendar Released 22nd August 2014 (Astor Theatre Calendar Sept-Dec 2014)

George Florence has been a key figure in the Astor Theatre for over the last 30 years. With George’s leaving, he will take with him his wealth of industry experience, technical knowledge on film projection, and the extensive distribution contacts that allowed the current Astor Theatre to provide such a unique programming source of diverse films in Melbourne.

It is to be hoped that any future operator of the theatre will be able to continue with such a diverse and exhaustive program of cinema to the public

Whilst we are disappointed by this development, FOTAA remain optimistic that we will be able to work with all parties to find a way of securing the future of the Astor in its current form.

We will continue to update you with any further developments as they occur.

Best Regards,

Vanda Hamilton, President of FOTAA Inc.


Written on behalf of Friends of the Astor Association Inc.