This month, the Downing Film Center will enter the new age of cinema when it converts its one screen theater projection system from thirty-five millimeter to digital, a move triggered by the film industry’s own migration to digital, which began over a decade ago and is expected to accelerate in 2013. To keep pace with this change, in July the Downing, a 501(c)(3)member supported not-for-profit arts organization, launched its “Drive to Digital” capital campaign. Thanks to generous audience contributions, it has already raised $11,000 of the total $75,000 it will need. Yet because of increasing wear-and-tear on its current projector, in place since the Downing’s opening in 2006, the Center’s Board of Directors has agreed to accelerate its conversion to digital this month with a pair of commercial loans that will give its fundraising drive time to achieve its goal. On October 1, the “Drive to Digital” received a game-changing boost when an anonymous donor and Downing patron offered to match every new dollar raised through December 31, 2012, up to $20,000, for a potential $40,000 opportunity. All of this comes at a time when many local theaters across the United States are facing closure as a result of the heavy costs involved in making the jump from thirty-five millimeter projection, the standard for over a hundred years.
The Downing will make its move to digital with the installation of a Christie® CP 2210 Series 2 digital cinema projector—the same manufacturer that supplied the platter system used by the Downing for its thirty-five millimeter system since its opening. In addition to the projection system, the conversion also includes the purchase and use of a GDC Digital Cinema Server, a computer system that houses the hard-drives on which films are stored and sent to the projector, sound system and, ultimately, screen. The Downing’s new system will also accommodate the use of DVD and Blu-Ray discs with the potential for streaming live events, including opera, concerts and Broadway shows.
“Once our audiences experience the brilliant colors and sharp images of digital cinema, they will be more motivated than ever before to support our campaign. This is all about strengthening and sustaining the Downing’s mission of showing award-worthy independent films with an award-worthy image and theatergoing experience,” said Brian Burke.
Those interested in donating to the Downing’s “Drive to Digital” may do so in person at the theater box office, online at www.downingfilmcenter.com or by mailing contributions to the film center at 19 Front Street, Newburgh, NY, 12550.
-Photo via Downing Film Center Website