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‘Go Digital or Go Dark’ campaign under way

Palace Theater projectionist Benjamin Flynn and Hollywood Theater owner Cory Hanf talk with Palace Theater owners Barbara and Reg Clark at the “Go Digital or Go Dark” campaign kick off. Hanf started his career in movies as an employee of the Clark’s in Lake Placid.

Palace Theater projectionist Benjamin Flynn and Hollywood Theater owner Cory Hanf talk with Palace Theater owners Barbara and Reg Clark at the “Go Digital or Go Dark” campaign kick off. Hanf started his career in movies as an employee of the Clark’s in Lake Placid. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Almost 200 people made their way into the main screening room at the Palace Theatre in Lake Placid April 26 to help launch a campaign to keep small town movie cinemas in the Adirondack region alive.

The “Go Digital or Go Dark” Campaign, a collaborative fundraiser between the Adirondack North Country Association and the Adirondack Film Society, started with a premiere of a “movie trailer” that will be shown in local theaters about their need to convert from film to digital technology since movie companies will stop sending out film reels within the next six months.

“This is something that is directly aligned and will impact local economies,” ANCA Executive Director Kate Fish said. “We want to raise enough money to help our small theaters transfer. We cannot imagine our small towns without these theaters, and we feel that this is something that these communities can get behind. We are going to make sure that every local theater can make this transition.”

Fish said that for the four-screen setup at the Palace Theatre in Lake Placid, it would take about $300,000 for a complete changeover of all screens.

“Reg’s (Clark) goal is to get one of the theaters changed over as soon as they can and then work on the rest,” said Naj Wikoff, who has worked with the film society on the issue. “However, then you have the theaters that have only one screen and this is life or death to them. We want this to succeed for all of them. If we fail, then every single theater in the Adirondacks could close.”

The 10 theaters that have come together to take part in the campaign include the Palace, the Hollywood in Au Sable Forks, Cinematheque in South Glens Falls, The Glen Drive In of Queensbury, the Indian Lake Theater, the Ogdensburg Cinema and the Adirondack State Theater in Tupper Lake, along with a trio of Strand Theaters located in Old Forge, Schroon Lake and Plattsburgh.

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