The first step in providing long range technical and information sharing assistance to independently owned theaters across Colorado was the SOS Grant opportunity. The ability to afford this advancement in equipment will allow theaters to not only continue to offer first-run films, but also continue to support community vitality and sense of place by making full use of new technology opportunities. Technical assistance provided by DCI in the future will allow theater owners and operators to share information and best practices to help grow their theater’s capacity as a true generator in today’s creative industries.
This past Monday, Save Our Screens initiative partners met to award and allocate funds to theaters throughout to the SOS Grant applicants in order to help complete their conversion to digital projection equipment. The 13 grant awardees will be required to show ability to purchase and install the digital equipment prior to the release of allocated funds.
A number of grant recipients have already undertaken aggressive fundraising campaigns and can immediately begin installation with grant assistance. However, the initiative partners are aware that a number of other awardees are still trying to bridge the funding gap in order to make the full digital conversion. “In our discussions of how to allocate funds we wanted to utilize the available funds to help challenge theaters and communities to raise funds not only locally, but to also jump on with broad-scoped fundraising programs provided through DCI’s SOS initiative of DCI,” said Katherine Correll, DCI Executive Director.
In all, 18 applications were received from both non-profit run theaters and privately owned for-profit theaters. The $200,000 in grant funds made available by the State Economic Development Commission (EDC) was matched from funding from the Gates and Boettcher Foundations to assist several non-profit run theaters. Additional funding for non-profit theaters was made available from the Colorado Creative Industries program. Grant funds were targeted for theaters in communities with a population under 20,000 and located remotely from other movie theater options.
The remaining five applicants were requesting funds for equipment meant to compliment the digital equipment already purchased and installed, and as such could not be supported with EDC funding. However, DCI has entered into a partnership with CommunityFunded.com to lead a state-wide awareness and fundraising campaign, and will invite those applicants not reached by EDC funds to join on with their efforts to raise funds for their individual needs.
The 13 theaters allocated grant funds from EDC are: The Backdoor Theater (Nederland), Crow Luther Cultural Events Center (Eads), Flagler Theatre (Flagler), the Fox Theater (La Junta), The Historic Sands Theater (Brush), Kelloff Regional Center for the Arts (Monte Vista), the Liberty Theatre (Pagosa Springs), the Movie Picture Showhouse (Trinidad), Spanish Peaks Alliance for the Arts and Education for Fox Theatre (Walsenburg), Storyville Cinema (Salida), The Paradise Theater (Paonia), The Ute Theatre (Saguache), and the Westcliffe Center for Performing Arts (Westcliffe).