Theatre raising funds for new projector

    DOVER-FOXCROFT — The Center Theatre for the Performing Arts is announcing the launch of a capital campaign to fund a new digital projector to replace its existing 35mm film equipment. The first phase of the campaign will begin in January and the goal is to raise $25,000 in donations by the end of March.


    “Bringing movies to the community is an important part of the Center Theatre’s operations,” Center Theatre Executive Director Angela Bonacasa said. “While we take great pride in all our offerings, such as theatrical and musical productions, as well as live performances by great artists like Leon Russell and Dar Williams, many patrons only visit the Theatre for movies, especially during school vacations. There are major changes occurring in the movie industry all over the country, requiring the switch to digital projectors. Unfortunately, the costs are prohibitively expensive for most small theatres like ours, and many have been forced to cease operations permanently.”

    The exhibition of movies is dictated largely by major motion picture studios and distributors, who own the rights to the content. The studios and distributors announced the switch from 35mm film to digital in 2006, and movie houses across the nation have been gradually replacing their 35mm equipment with new digital projectors, often scrapping the old equipment as it is becoming more and more obsolete. Twentieth Century Fox, for example, has announced that it will no longer produce 35 mm film after 2013.

    The cost of digital conversion is not only expensive, but there are few options. The Center Theatre will be investing approximately $55,000 in its digital conversion. While there are home theater projectors available with High Definition capabilities, these units do not meet the specifications required by studios and distributors for the exhibition of newly-released movies. There are only a handful of manufacturers with rights to produce projectors with this capability, contributing to the high price of the equipment.

    “Center Theatre’s digital conversion is the top priority from a fundraising point of view,” said Tim Magee, chairman of the Board of Directors. “Center Theatre experienced many changes throughout 2012 and improved its offerings while becoming profitable. Center Theatre no longer has any debt, is current with all of its vendors and is well-positioned to move forward financially. That said, we are launching a capital campaign specific to the costs of digital conversion and hope the community supports us in this effort.”

    Timing for the conversion is expected to be sometime in April 2013. Bonacasa said, “We are quite excited for moviegoers to experience the new digital cinema. Currently, Center Theatre shares each 35mm print it receives with many other theatres. Unfortunately, 35mm film breaks down, develops scratches and generally deteriorates in quality with each subsequent use. This will not be an issue with digital cinema, where each viewing will be as sharp and crisp as the first.”

    Center Theatre will be distributing its Digital Conversion Campaign brochures to the public this week.  The brochures contain additional information about digital conversion and how it will enhance our community.  Center Theatre will also be soliciting donations at the theatre itself. Movie patrons will be asked if they would like to contribute $1 to the conversion costs while purchasing tickets. There will also be a donation bucket for additional contributions.

    To learn more about upcoming events at Center Theatre, please call the box office at 564-8943 or visit the theatre’s website at

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