It'd be hard to find a person in Ballarat who doesn't have a fond memory of the Regent Cinema.
The building, almost 100 years old and now a modern, labyrinthine nine-screen multiplex, was bought and rebuilt by Jack Anderson in the 1970s.
It still has its grand Cinema One, one of the largest in regional Victoria.
For this year's Begonia Festival, the Regent will host a special premiere screening of a film celebrating Mr Anderson, whose home movies were recently donated to the Australian Centre of the Moving Image.
The results are spectacular - put together as Large As Life, its vignettes show footage of Ballarat from the 1940s, as returned soldiers march past the Town Hall, or family days out in the 1960s.
Filmmaker Erin McCuskey, who was approached by the family and has been working on the project for about two years, said the snippets of film were "extraordinary".
"To be able to work on something from my home town is such a joy," she said.
"He's got a group of people walking a huge Dumbo character down the middle of Sturt Street into the mall, which was then open for traffic - it must have been the 70s, and there's children coming up.
"One thing he shot was the last tram ride through Ballarat, he's committed that to film.
"It's just delightful, you look at this footage and you can't help but smile, it's glorious.
"I have no doubt that people will leave the cinema feeling very moved, feeling very in love with Ballarat, and very in love with the whole concept of cinema and film."
Mr Anderson was a lover of film, she said, and the vast amounts of archival material speaks to his curiosity about the medium.
Before he took over The Regent, he and his wife Marie tried to see as many films as they could, Ms McCuskey said.
"When Marie and Jack Anderson met, they committed themselves to a four-night a week date, they could go to a different cinema every night - they could go to The Regent, Her Majesty's, The Britannia, and The Plaza," she explained.
"Cinema and film was in the blood of this couple, they are leaving a legacy to Ballarat that's so extraordinary, and their children are leaving a legacy as well."
From its first screening - The Magic Flame in 1928, the cinema itself has survived fire in 1943, several complete renovations and expansions, and is now is considered by the Victorian Heritage Council as being of architectural and historical significance.
The Regent remains in the Anderson family as well - his descendents will be part of the premiere.
Jack's grandson Ben Wilkie added he was excited to see Large As Life, and was going in blind.
"I love coming back to the cinema, it's a beautiful building," he said.
"I haven't actually seen any of (the footage) yet, it'll be a first for almost the whole family I think."
Grandson Patrick Anderson's worked at the cinema for 11 years, and said he still enjoys seeing all the hidden parts, from before the renovation.
Going to the cinema was still a rare public shared experience for people, he said.
"There's something to say about the event, and the fact that you're all partaking in something together with the crowd, like if it's a comedy, you find it funnier because everyone else is laughing, and a scary movie is scarier if everyone jumps at the same time," he said.
Ms McCuskey agreed.
"The dark can be a place of joy and happiness and embracing you, you can be embraced in the dark at a cinema like no other place," she said.
"After my mum died, I sat down in cinema one and bawled through some ridiculous film that was not cry-worthy - it's moments like those, I think it is intimate."
City of Ballarat mayor Ben Taylor said the screening would be a celebration of the city.
"It's really exciting that ACMI's taken it on as such unique archive material," he said.
"These series of short films and images are just amazing, and a legacy for Ballarat - why not show them on the fantastic stage here at the Regent?"
The premiere of Large As Life: The Cinematic Legacy of Jack Anderson is on Thursday, March 5, at 7pm, at the Regent Cinema - tickets are on sale online and at the box office.
All proceeds will be donated to the Ballarat Arts Foundation.
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