Don’t Let Our Theaters Go Dark


Old Forge’s Strand Theater. Photograph by Flickr user abeigh83

Seeing a movie in the Adirondacks is a wholly different experience from the state-of-the-art multiplexes in metropolitan areas, and that’s just fine by us. You city folk can have your stadium seating, whiz-bang sound systems and the captive-audience prices national chains charge. At Lake Placid’s Palace Theater, the white-haired man who takes your ticket is the owner. At the not-for-profit Indian Lake Theater, movies are only one part of a packed, and eclectic, schedule of events. (Read more about how the community saved this local landmark.) And at all of the park’s half-dozen movie houses, a family of four can have a night out for less than $40—popcorn and candy included.

But if local cinema’s throwback vibe is part of its charm, it could soon be the seed of its demise. This fall the major motion-picture studios plan to stop distributing film reels, meaning theaters need to transition to costly digital projectors if they want to stay open.

The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) is partnering with the Adirondack Film Society in a “Go Digital or Go Dark” campaign to raise funds for 10 theaters in northern New York to upgrade their equipment by the end of 2013. Donors can contribute to the theater of their choice or to a general fund that will be dispersed among them all. The participating theaters are The Hollywood, in Au Sable Forks; Indian Lake Theater, Indian Lake; The Palace, Lake Placid; Ogdensburg Cinema, Ogdensburg; The Strand, Old Forge; The Strand, Plattsburgh; The Glen Drive-In, Queensbury; The Strand, Schroon Lake; Cinematheque, South Glens Falls; and The State, Tupper Lake.

The campaign kicks off April 26 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Palace Theater with the debut screening of a trailer by documentary filmmaker Aaron Woolf (“King Corn”) and T. J. Brearton, of the Lake Placid production house ADK Mogul. Attire is “your North Country Hollywood fancy best” and free refreshments will be served.

Other events will follow. Old Forge’s Strand Theater is throwing a 90th birthday party and fundraiser on July 25; check for details.

You can also contribute at the ANCA website or at the fundraising site Razoo.

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