By JIMMY LAWTON
OGDENSURG -- Several North Country movie theaters, including Ogdensburg Cinemas, are hoping to make the switch to digital through fundraising efforts and a campaign aimed at keeping the establishments opened.
According to a press release from the Adirondack North Country Association, the organization overseeing the initiative, the local theaters will be forced to close if they cannot purchase the required equipment.
"In six months or less, these familiar landmarks will be forced to shut down unless they can make the change from projecting printed film to digital," the release said.
The campaign dubbed "Go Digital or Go Dark" plans to work with local theaters to raise money for the switch over.
Each theater is coordinating their own fundraising effort, with the support of ANCA and other community-based organizations and “champions” to come up with 50 percent of the total funds. ANCA and the Film Society will be raising the rest needed to complete the digital upgrade. At campaign’s conclusion, the Adirondack Film Society will administer grants to each participating theater.
The effort could help Ogdensburg’s theater reopen.
Ogdensburg Cinemas’ owner Gill Jones, said theatre was closed in July of 2012, following a dispute with the city.
He has recently tried to secure funding from the city’s growth fund, but said the offer made by the board was not enough to fund the switch over.
Jones said he supported the Adirondack North Country Association's effort to keep local theaters open.
"It's good. They are trying to give everybody a chance to keep their doors open," he said.
The initiative has also been supported by North Country Sen. Betty Little.
"For decades, families and seasonal tourists have laughed and cried, been scared out of their wits and touched by unforgettable scenes on the big screens in our small movie houses. Changes in the industry makes the viability of these theaters much more challenging. It is taking a team effort to overcome a costly financial hurdle, but this endeavor is very worthwhile for so many wonderful reasons." Little said.
While details on the campaign are scarce, an event is scheduled for at 5 p.m. April 26 at the Palace Theatre in Lake Placid, where a trailer for the campaign will be screened.
To find out more about "Go Dark or Go Digital" visit http://www.adirondack.org/GoDigital/.