A First Hand Account: Melbourne’s FBI Underground Cinema

The Underground Cinema is a secret immersive live film event held in undisclosed locations around Melbourne and Sydney. There is a different theme for each event and this time it was an FBI theme and attendees were referred to as agents or “NATS”.

The lead up to the event itself was very exciting as emails with the locations were sent on the day itself. They included additional information such as dress code, and preparation for certain activities for the night. The ‘uniform’ was available to purchase at a pop up store before the event, however as it was easy to replicate, this step was not compulsory. The secret location was revealed to be at Collingwood College and it was great to see everyone had made an effort to dress up. After lining up, we were ushered into a cafeteria area where you could grab a snack or a drink. After a 45 minute wait, each unit name was called and sent to a different area of the school.

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The BETA unit had field ops first which demonstrated how to appropriately arrest a hostage, including stating their rights. The groups could then have a go themselves with props. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough props for all the groups to go at once but it was fun watching everyone try to keep a straight face while arresting each other.

After another break in the cafeteria, The BETA unit was escorted to a psychology classroom discussing how the minds of major criminals operate. As the teacher was speaking, an agent came in to pull a few students out of class at a time. Upon leaving, we were told that we were exceptional agents and had a very special task at hand – to interview a dangerous inmate. A thorough briefing was held prior and were told to ensure that no physical contact occurs between the inmate and agents and be vary that the inmate does not acquire any of the agent’s possessions.

We were then lead into the doctor’s waiting room where other agents were talking to different inmates. At this point I noticed a woman locked in a room with her head pushed against a small opening in the door glaring at me – this was the inmate that had to be interviewed. The actress was exceptional, and from her mannerisms to speech it felt like you were speaking to a real criminal. Unfortunately, only a select few agents had an opportunity to interview an inmate which is a shame as it was an exciting experience.

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After the agents attended and completed all their classes, a graduation ceremony was to be held for the graduating class which took place in the school’s lecture hall. Exceptional agents received awards and everyone had to then stand up to take an oath to pledge their allegiance to the United States of America. The event finished off with a movie and a mini bar was set up to grab drinks or snacks to watch during the movie.

Overall, the Underground Cinema is a truly unique experience so grab a ticket if you want to be immersed in a different world for a night.

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