Categorized | Entertainment

People’s Theatre kickstarts digital projector drive


2014 is a year of changes for the People’s Theatre, the theatre owner/funder has retired and the theatre is up against a major hurdle in converting to digital cinema as the industry demands, it needs help to keep the movies going.

We’re trying everything we can think of to raise money, from expanding our concessions into a real cafe in the lobby to promoting visitors with cultural shows and booking all kine live events aplenty. We need your support, either by direct donations or coming out to the shows.

The Honokaa People’s theatre is a historic building that has been at the the heart of Honokaa small town life since 1930. Almost 30 years ago, the current People’s Theatre family, the Keeneys, decided to carry on the legacy of the original Tanimoto family, taking on the operation and funding of the theatre.

It’s now 2014 and we’re up against a challenge with the need for a digital projector as 35mm films are no longer available, making our current equipment obsolete.

The theatre has stood through thick and thin for the Big Island community, weathering the closing of the plantations, keeping prices low, and generally providing families and friends something to do every weekend.

We try to do it in the most economical and pono ways possible, doing most work ourselves from painting to plumbing and all sorts of renovation and upgrades, going solar, beaming free internet, using eco-friendly products and organic, local items wherever we can, and most importantly donating the space to many wonderful community and cultural events.

We’ve never made any money doing it, we simply love to do what we do and believe that it can and should be done, but at this time we need a little help.

What We Need & What You Get

* $60,000

This buys: Digital equipment to show the movies — its the only equipment that will work for the movies the studios send. The days of film are sadly over, with some studios no longer offering 35mm film, and others increasing their rates as a smaller number of film prints are available, to be phased out completely very soon. Shipping rates have gone through the roof, as the People’s Theatre bears the cost of shipping film canisters from the mainland solo instead of shared amongst other theatres in Hawaii.

If can: Another $3000 or more for a Grant Writing Professional, or volunteers in this area. We’d love to raise enough to pay a professional to form a Friends of the People’s Theatre non-profit that would ensure the continuance of live events and educational programs. We’d love to have community involvement however we can.

Any additional funds would go into the Non-profit towards the continuance of events, community building, and educational programs here at the theatre. The Keeney family continues to care for the building and will accept any help towards this end as well if you specify, including termite treating the building, repairing the gutters, adding garden seating, handicap parking/improvements and other projects (we’re open to suggestion).

We’ve got some perks for those of you who donate, details of which will be announced at our Launch Party happening 6 p.m. Friday, July 26.

The Launch Party will include a variety of food, music, hula and a free film, details of which will be announced shortly.

The Impact

You can help give our kids and community members a place to go days, evenings and weekends. You can help keep Honokaa town alive by supporting the downtown merchants though a lively and active theater bringing people into town.

The closing of small-town historic theaters is common across the country, as multiplexes, cable TV, and internet changes the dynamic of the entertainment industry. The movie theater is a cornerstone community building in many towns, and comes with many memories for most of the people who live there.

For many, when the town theatre closes, it is a sign of a community in distress. Many towns across the U.S. that have lost their theatre fail to revitalize.

The People’s Theatre has stood as a beacon of light in Honokaa during hard times on the Big Island, and has diversified it’s appeal through integrating film, music, dance, and serving as a center for community meetings and educational programs including hula, Hawaiian cultural, theatre and dance classes.

Right now, across the nation the primary challenge for small-town theaters is not the lack of market or community support in patronizing the theater; it is in fact the financial resources needed to obtain digital equipment necessary to show movies. Many small town independent theatres have launched similar campaigns, and have successfully funded their digital conversion.

Especially in rural communities like ours, there is still a vibrant community that wants to go to the movies and see each other out on the town. It’s more than just seeing a movie. It’s treating yourself, getting away from it all, the movie magic that makes eyes sparkle.

For many people it means going out with friends and family, treating loved ones and sharing something special that the whole family can get into.

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