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Movie Star


Gemma Corin plays many roles at Taupō’s Starlight Cinema. As shift manager and second-in-command to owner Peter Smith, she takes care of front of house customer service, administration, the staff roster, movie programming, supervising the ticketing and stair team and sharing the projection work with third-in-command, Sean Farrall.

The 31 year-old movie maven started at Starlight 12 years-ago. She’s learned everything about running a great independent cinema from her boss, Peter.

With flexible hours and plenty of weekend work, Gemma’s magical job has helped spark a career and fund other interests. Along with cinema management, she’s completed her MA majoring in screen media, and successfully published her first work of fiction, ‘Ramaeka’, available as an e-book on

“I worked all through university. I’ve paid off my student loan, and also managed to save to buy a house,” says Gemma.

Today, she and Sean are busy brushing up their leadership skills to enhance the business, and gain a ServiceIQ qualification, New Zealand Certificate in Business (First Line Management) Level 4.

“We enjoy the way it challenges us,” says Gemma. 

“It makes you think about how you could do things better for the business. It has inspired us to make changes that create a smoother, easier, better experience for customers, and help staff understand what is expected of them.”

GemmaCorinFor this animation fan – superhero Captain America in particular – a highlight of the job is recommending movies that customers enjoy and talk about with her when the lights go up.

It’s also gratifying to see young staff develop, says Gemma: “One of our team was a bit gruff at the beginning just because they were shy. As their confidence has grown, they’ve become open, friendly and are even doing better at school. I’ve been here to see several generations of young people develop and you don’t realise how much you help them until they go off to university.”

Her biggest challenge is plotting weekly movie schedules for six cinemas.

“It’s like solving a complex jigsaw puzzle” says Gemma. “When a new blockbuster comes out, you need to balance a distributor’s demands for lots of screen time with movies that satisfy the tastes of many different customers.”

But no matter how busy the job is, it’s still important to make time to pursue her other passion. In true movie fashion, Gemma is working on the sequel to her popular e-book.

For more information, please contact ServiceIQ on 0800 863 693 or email