The Film Catalogue
The Coliseum

The Coliseum

Black Comedy | English | 90 minutes


Shade 2 Sunshine

Cast & Crew


Ian Keldoulis


For his term assignment, sound engineering student, Simon Watts, records his divorcing parent’s arguments and edits them to match the romantic dialogue of the blockbuster rom-com screening at the Coliseum cinema where he works part-time as an usher. Set in the mid-2000s, as cinemas change to digital projection, it’s the last grand cinemascope theater in the city.

We meet our hero at an appliance store, lying on the floor surreptitiously recording a refrigerator’s hum. Obsessed with authentic sound, Simon’s using it to bridge the worlds he’s migrating between—drifting away from high school friends and sweetheart, toward his college friends in the downtown dance music scene with an appetite for the drug ecstasy.

Simon’s upcoming 21st birthday is the only thing holding his parents together. Simon’s high school girlfriend, Lisa, helps plan the party. But Simon out dancing meets Meizhen, a Chinese architecture student, and they fall for each other. Impetuously, Simon invites her to his party.

At work, Simon dodges nightly advances from the closeted cinema manager, taking refuge in the projection booth, where the openly gay projectionist, Alex, gives him advice. Interested in Simon’s college studies—unlike his parents, busy fighting—Alex lets him sample the movie soundtrack.

Simon enlists his DJ friend Nigel to spin at his 21st party. Nigel decides to heal the emotional wounds in Simon’s fractured family by dosing the punch with ecstasy.

Unknown to Simon, Nigel is unable to score—a big leather fetish party has drained all the ecstasy in town—and substitutes meth instead. The punch ruins everyone’s appetite. Simon’s extended families take sides and get hostile. Then just as Meizhen and Lisa awkwardly meet a family brawl breaks out. The police are called.

In the aftermath, Simon’s parents split. He’s booted out. And Meizhen reluctantly takes him in. Her roommates aren’t thrilled. The Coliseum closes, it will be demolished and multiplexed. Simon sells drugs from Nigel to support himself. This is too much for Meizhen and out he goes.

Simon bumps into Alex who puts him up, with no strings attached. Alex’s boyfriend finds Simon work—helping him clean brothels. Where sexy sounds inspire an unusual ending to his college assignment. Simon delivers it at the last minute to his professor..…and she loves it.

Alex throws Simon a congratulations party. He learns that family are the people who love you. And that, sometimes, it’s okay to be alone, too.

Completion Year