Vassar Theatre needs money to buy digital projector - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Vassar Theatre needs money to buy digital projector

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(05/14/13) - For more than 75 years, the Vassar Theater has entertained movie-goers in Mid-Michigan, but there's a chance the cinema could close if it can't pay for an important upgrade.

"35 millimeter equipment like this was the standard for movie theaters for over 100 years," said Tim O'Brien, Vassar Theatre owner.

Soon, production companies will stop issuing movies on film and only offer digital versions.

"The primary benefit is the cost savings for the Hollywood studios," O'Brien said.

That means the Vassar Theatre needs to convert to digital projection at a cost of about $65,000.

"Times change. We need to roll with the change," O'Brien said.

Eighty five percent of cinemas have already made the conversion. Film projectors are no longer needed.

"It's now pretty much relegated to the scrap heap," O'Brien said.

Last year, about 20,000 people bought tickets at the Vassar Theatre. Local residents say it's very important to them that the theater remains open.

"This is a part of history. This is part of this town and that small-town community feeling," said Tammy Hajdo, of Tuscola County.

"Coming to a theater like this is a different experience than going to a multiplex. There's a sense of community and a sense of nostalgia," O'Brien said.

To raise the money, the theater is using the Web-based Kickstarter fundraising program. Supporters make a pledge online.

"We have to make our entire fundraising goal or we get nothing at all," O'Brien said.

He and others think supporters in Mid-Michigan will come through by the June 23 deadline.

"I believe the community is going to rally behind the project," O'Brien said.

"I'm telling everybody I know; we need your support," said Jean Esckelson, a Vassar Theatre employee.

For more information on how you can support the Vassar Theatre, click here.

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