A local effort is under way to preserve
the small, independent theaters in North
Country communities that are threatened
with closure unless they can upgrade their
projection systems from printed film to
The fundraising effort it called “Go Digital
or Go Dark.”
“Our small-town theaters are vital
to keeping rural downtowns dynamic,”
said Kate Fish, executive director of the
Adirondack North Country Association,
which is among those spearheading the
“The Go Digital or Go Dark Campaign is a unique collaboration between 10 North Country theaters working together with the Adirondack North Country Association, the Adirondack Film Society and the state of New York to engage people from across the region to ensure that these theaters remain a special part of our small town quality of life,” she said.
There are 10 theaters across the Adirondack North Country region taking part in this campaign, including the Glen Drive-In, 983 Route 9 in Queensbury and Cinematheque, 67 Main St., South Glens Falls.
Others are The Hollywood, Au Sable Forks; Indian Lake Theater, Indian Lake; The Palace, Lake Placid; Ogdensburg Cinema, Ogdensburg; The Strand, Old Forge; The Strand, Plattsburgh; The Strand, Schroon Lake; and The State, Tupper Lake.
Fish said some of these theaters serve as downtown anchors, where for generations, they have provided a comfortable, affordable and friendly place for people of all ages to meet and be entertained. In six months or less, these familiar landmarks will be forced to shut down unless they can make the change from projecting printed film to digital.
Community groups, businesses and individuals across the region have stepped up to help.
“For decades, families and seasonal tourists have laughed and cried, been scared out of their wits and touched by unforgettable scenes on the big screens in our small movie houses,” said state Sen. Betty Little of Queensbury. “Changes in the industry makes the viability of these theaters much more challenging. It is taking a team effort to overcome a costly financial hurdle, but this endeavor is very worthwhile for so many wonderful reasons.”
Added John Huttlinger, chairman of the Adirondack Film Society, “The loss of our local theaters would be a major economic and cultural blow to our Adirondack communities.
Our towns depend on their theaters to provide entertainment, and also look to them as venues for showcasing unique offerings, including the work of independent filmmakers.
He said the campaign is a one-time effort to help the theaters upgrade equipment. Funds are needed digital upgrade work this summer.
ANCA is working with each theater to help coordinate a community based campaign as well as outreach to major donors. At campaign’s conclusion, ANCA will turn funds over to Adirondack Film Society to administer grants to each participating theater.
In addition to events at the theatres, people can donate by going to www.adirondack. org/GoDigital/ and following the links for donations. A general fund that will be dispersed among all participating theaters.
People can also donate by check to ANCA, 67 Main St., Saranac Lake, NY 12983. People should indicate the theater and community they are donating to.