Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that
$400,000 in funding is being made available
for the North Country Regional Economic
Development Council (NCREDC) Digital
Film Conversion Loan Fund to help small
theaters in the North Country convert projection
equipment to digital technologies.
The short-term loan fund will be administered
by Development Authority of
the North Country (DANC) and will be an
added resource for theaters, in addition to
the community fundraising efforts already
In June, the North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC), through Empire State Development, approved the reassignment of 2012 funds for a previously identified priority. Those funds were redirected to support the “Go Digital or Go Dark” campaign, an initiative of the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) and the Adirondack Film Society, working together to ensure the future of small community movie theaters.
The Cinematheque, South Glens Falls, is one of the theaters being assisted by the campaign.
“Across the Adirondacks, movie theaters have been struggling to take on costly upgrade projects to stay in business,” Cuomo said. “Faced with this reality, businesses and community leaders came together through the regional council initiative to create the Digital Film Conversion Loan Fund, which will help small-town cinemas in the North Country modernize their equipment and remain competitive. This is another example of how public-private partnerships are helping to promote economic growth in communities across the state.”
The loan fund will help bridge the funding gap so theaters can convert to digital before 35mm film is no longer available. As remaining funds are raised and upgrade projects are completed, DANC will re-lend the funds to businesses across the region for start-up or expansion projects, officials said.
In addition to the loan fund, the Adirondack Film Society and the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) have led community fundraising efforts to save 10 theaters in the region through its “Go Digital or Go Dark” campaign. In just two months, its efforts have brought in enough funds to save three local theaters. ANCA is helping to coordinate a community based campaign as well as outreach to major donors.
Empire State Development Commissioner Kenneth Adams said the loan fund “will help keep local theaters open for business. Thanks to the efforts of the Governor’s North Country Regional Council, DANC and ANCA, the issue of digital conversion has been elevated as a priority, allowing these small cinemas the opportunity to make the necessary upgrades and remain a community staple.”
State Sen. Betty Little said securing the funding “is another example of how government, local businesses, and community leaders can come together to create new opportunities and the potential for economic growth … This loan and the community efforts led by the Adirondack Film Society and ANCA will breathe new life into these small businesses.”
Kate Fish, executive director of ANCA, said the project “has demonstrated the strength of our North Country communities as they have rallied to save their main street theaters. From the start of this project with the support of Adirondack Bank, Community Bank, Kinney Drugs and Stewart’s Shops – all regional businesses – to the efforts of community leaders and philanthropists to raise the funds through challenge grants and personal donations, these theaters are being saved.”