Two weeks ago, the Nelson Civic Theatre Society was $30,000 short of its fundraising goal. Now they’re more than $30,000 over.
Project manager Roger Ley announced the final fundraising tally on the steps of the movie house Wednesday evening. At that point the tally was at $181,425.
“And donations are still coming in,” Ley said to the applause of a few dozen movie lovers who had gathered to hear the presentation.
He said the Theatre Society reached its $150,000 goal on Sunday — the amount needed to install a digital projector and surround sound system — but community members wanted to see how much more they could raise before the theatre’s Community Challenge ended on May 1.
Hume Hotel Group offered to match every dollars up to $5,000 that the group exceeded its goal by, and a second anonymous donor said they would match whatever the Hume put in. The additional $31,000 raised in those final three days will go towards lobby and bathroom renovations.
Ley said the theatre will show one last 35 mm film “to mark the end of an era” before retiring the old projector. The 1985 Genie Award winning drama My American Cousin, filmed in the BC Interior, will screen on March 25. The producer and director, who live in the area, are expected to introduce the film.
The first film to digital screen to film with the new setup will be Star Trek into Darkness in early June (“Get your costumes and phasers out!” Ley laughed).
During the summer months, the Civic will be open four nights per week — Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and cheap Tuesdays.
Within the next few year, the Nelson Civic Theatre Society hopes to convert the theatre into a three-screen multiplex, which could cost up to $2.5 million.
The society took over the vacant movie theatre last December. No films had screened in the city-owned building for more than two years. The group has been holding monthly movie events since February, but with the rise of digital technology their old projector was soon to become obsolete.
The digitization of the theatre will open up more film options for the theatre, including new releases, making it a viable business for years to come.
Watch a video of the Civic’s announcement below: