Cinema and Audience Research Project

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The Cinema and Audiences Research Project (CAARP) aims to promote research into, and a deeper appreciation of, the history of film exhibition and cinema going in Australia.

CAARP holds information about film-related events, capturing where and when individual screenings took place and the relationship between film distribution, exhibition venues and cinema going in different periods and locales. The unique structure of the database allows for a historical perspective to be recorded and viewed from within a single screen.

The database was initially built around two key research projects: an investigation into the post-war cinema enterprises built by Greek and Italian migrants and a study of the transition from silent to sound cinema focussed in Adelaide and surrounds. Subsequent data capturing venues and screenings in Sydney in the 1930s and Melbourne in the 1960s has been added.

CAARP is constantly improving and the information contained within the site is plainly incomplete. Any advice or additions are welcome. Please email the editors

The Project

CAARP is an element of two research projects (Regional Markets and Local Audiences and Mapping the Movies) both of which were funded by Australian Research Council Discovery Grants. These projects were designed to investigate practices of film exhibition and reception in relation to changing patterns of Australian community, identity, consumption, and the fabric of everyday life. The projects did this by collecting, recording, mapping and analysing sources such as newspaper evidence, oral histories, archival documentation, and legal records.

CAARP was developed with the aim of creating a searchable online database to house, analyse and interrogate the research from both these projects.

Over time CAARP has been upgraded and developed to:

  • Enable complex data relating to a film, film screening, venue or company to be inserted into the database
  • Make visible direct and indirect relationships between records and record elements
  • Improve search capabilities and search results
  • Provide an easy to read and navigate interface design
  • Provide users with online tools to interact with the data
  • Increase access to data driven research and support on-going research in this area.
  • The Sources and Technologies

    Data Sources

    Researchers have used a variety of sources to compile records in CAARP including:

    Books, Journals, Newspapers (daily and community), Industry trade press and annual reports, Official records (street and telephone directories, local government records), Historical society publication and records, Materials (such as film canisters), Personal ephemera and memoirs.


    CAARP is intended to be both a reference work and a research tool and was specifically designed to enable creative interrogation of its holdings. A web application allows the entry of data, controlled searching of the entered data and an advanced mining tool allowing direct select statements to be performed on the database.

    The programming language used in the CAARP application is Perl, built on a framework called Catalyst. The Venue screen in particular also uses a Javascript library called JQuery to allow data entry elements to call back and forth from the database. The database itself is a MySQL database. CAARP is housed on an Apache server running on Linux. Collectively these technologies combine to form the acronym LAMP: Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl.

    Download the CAARP Schema

    Research & Publications

    Many research articles have been published based on the data contained in CAARP. Here are some of them:

    Book Chapters

    Maltby, Richard; Walker, Dylan; and Walsh, Mike (2014) 'Digital Methods in New Cinema History,' in Advancing Digital Humanities: Research, Methods, Theories, (eds) Paul Arthur and Katherine Bode, Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, pp. 95-112

    Verhoeven, Deb (2013) 'What is a Cinema? Death, Closure and the Database', in Watching Films: New Perspectives on Movie-Going, Exhibition and Reception (eds) Albert Moran and Karina Aveyard, Intellect Books, pp. 33-51

    Verhoeven, Deb; Arrowsmith, Colin (2013) 'Mapping the ill disciplined? Spatial Analyses and Historical Change in the Post-War Film Industry' in Locating the moving image: new approaches to film and place (eds) Julia Hallam and Les Roberts, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, pp.106-129

    Verhoeven, Deb (2011) 'Film distribution in the diaspora: Temporality, community and national cinema', in (eds) Richard Maltby et al, Explorations in New Cinema History: Approaches and Case Studies, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 243-260

    Maltby, Richard (2011) 'New Cinema Histories,' in Explorations in New Cinema History: Approaches and Case Studies, (eds) Richard Maltby, Daniel Biltereyst and Philippe Meers, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, MA, pp. 3-40

    Maltby, Richard; Biltereyst, Daniel; and Meers, Philippe (2011), 'Cinema, Audiences and Modernity: An Introduction,' in Cinema, Audiences and Modernity: New Perspectives on European Cinema History, (eds) Daniel Biltereyst, Richard Maltby and Philippe Meers, Routledge, London, pp. 1-16

    Verhoeven, Deb; Bowles, Kate; and Colin Arrowsmith (2009) 'Mapping the movies: reflections on the use of geospatial technologies for historical cinema audience research' Digital Tools in Media Studies (eds) Michael Ross, Manfred Grauer, Bernd Freisleben, Transcript Verlag, Bielefeld, pp. 69-82

    Maltby, Richard and Stokes, Melvyn (2007) 'Introduction,' in Going to the Movies: The Social Experience of Hollywood Cinema, University of Exeter Press, pp. 1-22

    Maltby, Richard (2004) 'Introduction: "The Americanization of the World,"' in Hollywood Abroad: Audiences and Cultural Exchange, (eds) Richard Maltby and Melvyn Stokes , British Film Institute, London, pp. 1-20

    Edited Books

    Maltby, Richard; Biltereyst, Daniel; and Meers, Philippe (2011) Explorations in New Cinema History: Approaches and Case Studies, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, MA, xii + 335 pp.

    Maltby, Richard; Biltereyst, Daniel; and Meers, Philippe (2011) Cinema, Audiences and Modernity: New Perspectives on European Cinema History, Routledge, London, xiv + 212 pp.

    Maltby, Richard; Allen, Robert; and Stokes, Melvyn (2007) Going to the Movies: Hollywood and the Social Experience of Cinema. University of Exeter Press, xv + 480 pp, 39 illus.

    Journal Articles

    Davidson, Alwyn; Verhoeven, Deb and Arrowsmith, Colin (forthcoming 2015). 'Spatial Visualisation in Cinema Studies', International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing

    Arrowsmith, Colin; Verhoeven, Deb, and Davidson, Alwyn (2014). 'Exhibiting the exhibitors: Spatial visualization for heterogeneous cinema venue data', The Cartographic Journal, vol. 51, no. 3, 2014, pp.301-312

    Verhoeven, Deb (2013) Γεννημένος δυο φορές: η Dionysos Films και η δημιουργία ενός ελληνικού κινηματογραφικού κυκλώματος στην Αυστραλία Journal of Greek Film Studies 1:1, September,

    Maltby, Richard (2013) 'The Standard Exhibition Contract and the Unwritten History of the Classical Hollywood Cinema," Film History 25:1-2, (April 2013), pp. 138-153

    Verhoeven, Deb (2012) 'New Cinema History and the Computational Turn', Beyond Art, Beyond Humanities, Beyond Technology: A New Creativity", World Congress of Communication and the Arts Conference Proceedings, University of Minho, Portugal

    Arrowsmith, Colin; Verhoeven, Deb (2011) 'Visual methods for showing cinema circuits at varying temporal and spatial scales', in Colin Arrowsmith, Chris Bellman, William Cartwright, Simon Jones and Mark Shortis (ed.) Proceedings of the Geospatial Science Research Symposium, Melbourne, Australia

    Davidson, Alwyn; Arrowsmith, Colin; Verhoeven, Deb (2011) 'A method for the visual representation of historic multivariate point data', in Advances in Cartography and GIScience, volume 2:  selection from ICC 2011, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany, pp.163-178

    Verhoeven, Deb 'Coming Soon (to a Theatre Near You): The Temporality of Global Film Distribution to AustraliaMedia International Australia, Issue 136 (Aug 2010), pp. 146-161

    Maltby, Richard (2009) 'On the Prospect of Writing Cinema History from Below, in Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, 9(2) (December 2006), 74-96, reprinted in The History on Film Reader, ed. Marnie Hughes-Warrington, Routledge, London, 2009, pp. 287-307

    Maltby, Richard (2007) 'How Can Cinema History Matter More?', in Screening the Past 22 (December 2007)

    Bowles, Kate; Maltby, Richard; Verhoeven, Deb; and Walsh, Mike (2007) 'More than Ballyhoo?: The Importance of Understanding Film Consumption in Australia,' in Metro No. 152 (April 2007), pp. 96-101


    We would love to hear about (and link to) your CAARP related research. Please contact Deb Verhoeven at:

    The Researchers and Contributors

    CAARP is an outcome of a collaborative research project undertaken by academics at Deakin University, Flinders University, Wollongong University, RMIT University, and the Australian National University with the support of many individuals and organisations.

    Project Director and Managing Editor: Deb Verhoeven

    Editors: Mike Walsh, Richard Maltby, Kate Bowles

    Research assistance: Olympia Szilagy, Michelle Mantsio, Dylan Walker, Cynthia Troup, Phuong Dang, Alwyn Davidson

    Contributors: Many individuals have contributed their expertise, archives and data including John Sedgwick, Dean Brandum, and Ina Bertrand.

    Database design, development, and testing: Adam Thick, James Verhoeven, and Emily Turner

    Graphic Design: Viveka De Costa


    AFI Research Collection

    Alexander Gionfriddo

    Eleanor Collar

    Cinema and Theatre Historical Society (CATHS)

    Gerry Kennedy

    Colin Arrowsmith

    Terms of Use

    We encourage the re-use of CAARP data for improving knowledge about the history of the cinema in Australia. But this use must be made within the terms of the Creative Commons license:

    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)

    This license lets you reuse and build on CAARP data non-commercially, as long as you credit CAARP and license your new research under identical terms.

    Citing CAARP

    Individuals who have consulted CAARP in the course of their research should use the following citation form:

    Deb Verhoeven with others (ed.s), Cinema and Audiences Research Project database (Melbourne, 2014), [accessed 10 July 2014]

    Short form: CAARP 2014

    It is worth remembering that the data in CAARP is dynamic and may change. Perhaps consider hyperlinking to the specific data directly.

    This research was supported under Australian Research Council's Discovery Projects funding scheme.