Cinema’s reel crisis

ON A DEADLINE: Volunteer board members of the Kyogle Community Cinema (from left) James Crawter, Kay Crawter, Dianne Bells and Peter Baxter with projectionist Michael Knight, prepare reels of 35mm film for screening on Friday night.
ON A DEADLINE: Volunteer board members of the Kyogle Community Cinema (from left) James Crawter, Kay Crawter, Dianne Bells and Peter Baxter with projectionist Michael Knight, prepare reels of 35mm film for screening on Friday night. Doug Eaton

THE volunteers who run the Kyogle Community Cinema are bunkering down for the fight of their lives.

The group must raise at least $55,000 by March to buy a digital projection system to ensure the continued operation of the not-for-profit cinema complex.

It's a big ask but it's one the group of up to 20 community volunteers working under the auspices of the Kyogle Community Economic Development Committee is determined to achieve.

"We have to be positive and we have to believe we will get there," president of the KCEDC Peter Baxter said.

"We will raise the funds and we will make it work."

When the community group took over the cinema last March, members believed they had at least two years, possibly more, to raise the money to purchase one or more digital projection systems.

However for various commercial reasons, Fuji and Kodak, the two companies that currently produce the 35mm film for the movie industry have announced they will stop making the film in March.

That means the cinema will have to switch to a digital system if it wants to continue screening new-release movies and remain viable.

The bill for one digital projection system is $55,000, increasing to $110,000 if the cinema wants to continue operating out of two of its three theatres.

The KCEDC is in talks with the Victorian-based Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal and other organisations that may partner with the committee to keep the cinema open.

He's also been buoyed by community support for the fundraising campaign, with local groups such as the Kyogle Lions donating money.

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