A press release from the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut:
The Garde Arts Center is in the final stage of fundraising to convert its film booth from reel-to-reel to digital. Another $100,000 is need to reach the goal of $361,000.
Says the Garde on its website:
“After a century of light flickering through 20-minute reels of 35mm picture frames, movie reels have been replaced by a hard drive, and the rattling of gears on the movie projectors has become the hum of a computer. A new golden era of movies has arrived – Hollywood has gone digital. Whether the latest blockbuster movies, or classic, independent and foreign film, after this year, movies, for the most part, will no longer be printed onto 35mm reels of film. Unless a new digital movie system is installed, movies at the Garde, after 87 years, will be no more. The Garde must go digital or go dark.”
The 15-year Winter Film Series, which includes showings of every movie nominated for Best Picture that year, is one of the most popular events the Garde stages annually. In 2013, more than 6,000 people attended the 15-film series, including more than 1,000 for 'Argo' alone.
“The Garde is a cornerstone of New London and all the activities that are brought to or staged by the Garde benefit the entire region, and particularly the downtown restaurants,” said Tony Sheridan, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, in support of the fundraising campaign.
Jeanne Sigel, development and marketing director for the Garde, said the series was expanded past February about two years ago when it became clear how much downtown restaurants and bars were benefitting from the shows. Garde films now run through April, and Sigel said with the digital conversion, she is hoping for a summer series as well.
The Garde is working with Boston Light & Sound on the change, and visited several historic theaters to see how they accommodated the changes before beginning work. In addition to now being able to show the highest quality films, a new sound system is being installed for the movies, Sigel said.
“The Garde is returning to its roots,” she said. “We have been showing film since 1926.”
To make a donation to the project: http://www.gardearts.org/savemovies/