North Country Theaters Make Digital Stride

Published 08/28 2014 07:03PM

Updated 08/28 2014 07:22PM

SCHROON LAKE, NY - It’s a beautiful machine with no use in the modern movie theater: the film projector.

“So here it is for the rest of its life,” Larry McNamara said half heartedly pointing at it in the foyer of his theater, the Strand.

Movies are made digitally now and without the equipment to run digital movies there was only one option for McNamara this summer.

“No movies,” McNamara said.

Other Adirondack theaters were facing the same problem.

“We all run on a real tight budget and when we were told the digital is in the hundred thousand dollar range we said, ‘what are we going to do now?’,” McNamara said.

“It was something they needed to stay in business but they were never going to be able to make that money back,” Melissa Hart said.

Hart is with the Adirondack North Country Association and they came up with a plan. Go Digital or Go Dark, an effort to raise $1.2 million to buy digital equipment for historic theaters in the Adirondacks.

“It seemed insurmountable. But the community came together,” McNamara said.

Seven out of nine theaters hit their goals with Schroon Lake’s Strand being the latest. Individual donations topped $350,000. The rest was of the money was made through corporate and large donations and grants.

“It's a real testament to how many smaller donations can add up,” Hart said.

But the project was about a lot more than lighting up the big screen but bringing vibrancy back to the downtown.

“A lot of the restaurant owners told me that the big rush, that disappeared this summer,” McNamara said.

Bringing movies back will illuminate a lot more than just the theater.

To help other theaters hit their goal visit this site.

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