Hugo, We Go, Don't Let the Pine Go! | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Hugo, We Go, Don't Let the Pine Go!

Switch to digital film threatens local movie theater

There is something ironic in this fact that both Facebook and Apple, two of the largest motivators for 21st century technology, moved massive data centers into Prineville and gave a much-needed shot in the arm to the local economy, but the local movie theater, The Pine, a community hub for 75 years, is potentially shutting down because it cannot keep up with technological advances.

Just as TV switched from analog to digital delivery in 2009, most major movie producers and distributors are switching from actual 35 and 70 mm print film to all-digital delivery systems. Already two-thirds of the nation's movie theaters have made shifts to accommodate; however, such changes in projectors and sound systems are expensive, upwards of $100,000, a price out of the reach of smaller theaters.

It is estimated that as many as one out of five movie screens will "go dark" over the next two years; the vast majority of those will be smaller art houses in urban areas and single theaters in small towns, like Prineville.

On their Kickstarter campaign website, The Pine's owners lament that Hollywood studios have helped larger chains finance the changes but have left smaller outposts, like The Pine, to fend on their own.

And, so far, The Pine has hustled to raise money to finance the switch over. It has raised some of the funds necessary for the conversion, primarily through a campaign selling horse shoes engraved with the donor's name, which, in turn, will be embedded in the cement sidewalk outside the theater—sort of a cowboy version of Hollywood Boulevard.

But that fundraiser hasn't been enough, and now the husband-wife owners are running a Kickstarter campaign to raise the remaining $30,000.

C'mon, people! Give! This is important stuff. This is soul and center of small-town stuff.

Find more information at our blog, or Google "kickstarter" and "The Pine Theater."

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