Youth from the Raquette Lake Girls Camp line up to get tickets to watch a movie at the Palace Theater in Lake Placid.
Ten community theaters have joined together in an effort to prevent their extinction.
The Adirondack North Country Association and local theaters are hosting a kickoff event for the “Go Digital or Go Dark” fundraising campaign Friday, April 26, from 5 to 6:15 p.m. at the Palace Theatre in Lake Placid.
Joining the Palace Theatre in the campaign are The Hollywood Theatre in Au Sable Forks; the Indian Lake Theater; Ogdensburg Cinema; a trio of Strand Theatre’s (Old Forge, Schroon Lake and Plattsburgh); The Glen Drive In of Queensbury; Cinematheque in South Glens Falls and the State Theatre in Tupper Lake. The event is free with no RSVP needed.
“Our small-town theaters are vital to keeping rural downtowns dynamic,” ANCA Executive Director Kate Fish said. “The campaign is a unique collaboration between 10 North Country theaters working together with the Adirondack North Country Association, the Adirondack Film Society and the state of New York to engage people from across the region to ensure that these theaters remain a special part of our small town quality of life.”
Small local movie theaters have been seeking funding streams ever since they received word that they would have to change their theaters to all-digital equipment soon or no longer be able to show movies as the industry moves toward all-digital distribution.
“It affects all the small movie theaters in all our small towns like Schroon Lake, Au Sable Forks, Queensbury and Lake Placid,” Jay Supervisor and Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas said in July. “All the big movie corporations have given the movie theaters 12 to 18 months to convert all to digital. There will be no movies at these theaters without the conversion, so they are applying as a group.”
“We are at the center of a community and we do this because we love it,” Hollywood owner Corey Hanff, whose first job was at the Palace Theater, said. “I can’t understand why we are being asked to spend extra money when the end goal will be to make the same amount that we are now.”
“The loss of our local theaters would be a major economic and cultural blow to our Adirondack communities,” Adirondack Film Society Chair John Huttlinger said. “This campaign is a one-time effort to help the theaters upgrade their equipment, and as a result all residents and visitors will benefit from the expanded opportunities to see original work from independent filmmakers and film students; which will also provide theaters with additional income streams.”
The ANCA is partnering with the Adirondack Film Society to raise money through the campaign for each theater to complete needed digital upgrade work this summer. The group is seeking to coordinate both a community-based campaign as well as outreach to major donors.
At the kickoff, there will be a screening of the trailer for the campaign made by filmmakers Aaron Woolf (King Corn) and TJ Brearton (Adk Mogul).
For more information on the “Go Digital or Go Dark” Campaign or to make a donation, visit the website adirondack.org/GoDigital.