Beloved film guru honoured
A LIFETIME in cinema resulted in a date with destiny for Bowen's Ben De Luca last week when he was announced as the Queensland Cinema Pioneer of the Year.
The state award was a culmination of 63 years of accomplishments for Mr De Luca, who was honoured in a special ceremony in Brisbane last Thursday.
It paid homage to more than six decades of service, which includes operating the longest running cinema in the state.
Mr De Luca said the night left him walking on air.
"It's certainly up there because I had to go to Brisbane to get it,” he said.
"To attend a function and be the guest of honour was very special.”
More than 100 people attended the event which was held at Geebung RSL Club.
Seated at the front as the guest of honour, Mr De Luca listened on as Cinema Pioneer chairman Tony Bourke relayed his accomplishments in front of a captivated audience.
After being welcomed on stage to say a few words, the guest of honour said he was able to keep his nerves in check.
"I asked the crowd if they wanted to see me make a fool of myself and that got everyone laughing and clapping,” he said.
"I just went through and thanked everyone that helped me get to where I am, including my family and people within the industry.”
"I wasn't nervous because I was with friends. There were a lot of friends and a lot of people I hadn't seen for a long time and reintroducing themselves.”
The award is another feather in the cap for the 82-year-old, who devoted his life to entertaining people around the country, and has been a fixture at the Bowen Summergarden Theatre for 63 years.
He has seen numerous cinemas in the area come and go in that time.
"It was not on my radar at all to be here this long. I just had the idea that this was a good place to be and I had to make a success of it,” he said.
"It was a good lifestyle for starters, I was also doing something for the town so I had an obligation I thought to keep this theatre going, especially because all the others fell over.”
He said he will never get tired of doing what he does.
"The thing I love most of all is satisfying people. I get much enjoyment out of seeing them leave here happy at what they've seen and what we've produced,” he said.
"We provide the public with something very special which is something I treasure.”