Times change, and so must we. The Roxy Theatre has been notified by their film distributor that it will need to be upgraded to digital projection equipment by early 2013, or risk closure. This change is due to the movie industry changing filming methods. As of 2013, all filming will have made the change from film to digital recording methods, and will no longer be available to project actual film. All theatres will require this new technology if they wish to continue bringing in new films.
Changes are already underway in larger theatres in cities, and as soon as this is complete, expected to be early next year, there will no longer be any films to ship. Movies will now be transported on hard drives, rather than actual film, and the equipment necessary to project from this new technology must be purchased.
“It is our understanding the new equipment will be much easier to run and will open the door to new opportunities for small theatres such as ours,” says Marilyn Dietrich, Chair of the Neepawa Roxy Theatre committee.
“Perhaps more afternoon matinees, showings during the week, or even different content which will be available, such as documentaries and special interest viewings”. Added incentives to exhibitors such as our theatre include possible access to live event broadcasts such as concerts and sporting events.
Additionally, low-budget films which may not have wide-spread distribution die to the cost of distributing actual film may also now be more easily accessed.
Unfortunately, the new equipment comes at a price. It is estimated that it will cost upward of $86,000.00 to make this upgrade, which is necessary for continued operation. With the recent expenses incurred by the Roxy Theatre of replacing the boiler and repairs to the roof and eavestroughs, the committee is devastated.
The committee is searching for granting opportunities but some grants, which might be available to help with this cost, cannot be applied for until a percentage of funding is already in place.
The Theatre, which has operated in Neepawa, bring movies on weekends, is one of the few independent theatres still operating in Manitoba. The community has always been very supportive of the theatres continued operation, as has been very evident with the last two major expense projects at the Roxy.
The theatre operates based on the wonderful support of volunteers – who work the movies taking tickets and running the concession.
“It is the volunteers that have kept this valuable piece of local history operating, and it will be the community that keeps it running now” says Dietrich. “But we cannot continue past this year with the current projection equipment. No matter how many volunteers we have, this upgrade is not optional, the theatre can’t continue without it”.
The Roxy Theatre is a non-profit, charitable organization and will be accepting all donations towards this equipment purchase. A tax-deductible receipt will be issued for any amount over $100.00. They will be monitoring the amounts and the donors and if sufficient money cannot be raised, each donor will have the choice of having their donation returned to them, or transferred to another worthwhile cause. Donations can be made out to The Roxy Theatre @ box 1281 Neepawa R0J 1H0. A tax deductible receipt for any donation over $25 will be mailed.