Thursday, December 06, 2012

Our Local Cinema Needs Help --Will You Participate?

If you have been following the Hawthorne Hotel blog for any length of time, you already know how much we love and support CinemaSalem.  It is a unique business that adds much vibrancy to the downtown.

Interestingly, they are in a situation right now that makes me think about how the citizens of Salem built the Hawthorne Hotel.  They came together because there was a need, and because there was leadership in the community that recognized that a first-class hotel would add much to the vibrancy of this small city.  Since there was no hotel here at the time, they sold shares of stock and raised enough money to build the Hawthorne Hotel.  Here are some photos of how that took place (they are all hanging in our Nathaniel's Restaurant.)

Now, some 87 years later, our city is presented with another challenge -- to come together to save our only movie theater.  In an age of multiplexes, there is something so comforting about having a vibrant space like CinemaSalem right in our downtown!  Not to mention the real butter on their popcorn, or the fact that you can get a wonderful cup of tea or delightful espresso-based coffee beverage instead of overly-sweet soft drinks!  Did I mention they have Fresca?  Great prices too!

Paul VanNess, the owner of CinemaSalem tells the story much better than I could, so here, in its entirety, is the email that I received from him this morning.

Please consider helping. 




Thanks for being such a great friend to CinemaSalem over the past six years. Thanks for purchasing movie tickets, for munching on our popcorn, for sipping a delicious smoothie in our Café, and for looking at the local painter's work on our serene lobby walls.

Thanks for checking our listings first to see if the movie you're looking for is playing here, for hosting your daughter's birthday party here, for attending the Obama Inauguration or the Lost final show, and for inviting your out-of-town guests to watch The True 1692 or The Spirit of Salem or The Perfect Place.

You've not only kept our vibrant movie theater in business, you helped create a world-class documentary film festival, you've encouraged young filmmakers, you've helped underwrite scores of CinemaSalem Grants to local nonprofits, and you've helped create a walkable-to, fun and feisty sanctuary for the arts in downtown Salem.

So, as always, thanks for supporting CinemaSalem!

Right now we need to ask you to consider supporting us in a different way. The movie industry is changing and we need to change with it. During 2013, the Hollywood studios are phasing out distribution of movies on 35mm film, replacing it with digital projection from hard drives. If CinemaSalem does not convert to digital projection, sometime over the next 12 months, we'll run out of movies to show and we'll need to close down. Replacing our film projection system with digital will be very expensive, around $210,000 for CinemaSalem. Because of the high cost, many industry-watchers predict that thousands of local independent movie theaters will close during 2013.

However, we have some good news. The studios have agreed to finance $150,000 of the CinemaSalem conversion cost through Virtual Print Fees (VPFs), payments made by the studios to theaters each time a film is booked. The only challenge: in order to qualify for the $150,000, we need to raise the remaining $60,000 by January 14, which is why we've launched a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign called Save CinemaSalem.

The Kickstarter model has proven successful for many local movie theaters around the country, so we're optimistic about our chances of raising the money. Crowd funding can be spectacularly successful since it's fueled by personal relationships, communicated through social media, emails, friend-to-friend conversations, and fun live events.

Here's a link to our Save CinemaSalem Kickstarter site: CLICK HERE. You'll see that donors can make contributions at many dollar amounts, and each is accompanied by a reward, -- another fun and motivating aspect of crowd funding.

It's important to note that Kickstarter campaigns are "all or nothing"! That means we need to raise the full $60,000 by January 14, or we get no money at all. Even if we're just $100 short, we don't get anything. That adds a dramatic amount of urgency, but quite a bit of fun, too, I suppose.

If you'd like to help us, perhaps you could do two things: a) check out the Save CinemaSalem Kickstarter site and consider making a donation; b) let your friends and family know about the campaign, and let them know that you feel that CinemaSalem is an important and indispensable part of a vibrant community.

(Here is the list of premiums for the various levels)


$5 - You will be thanked by name on our website and on the big screen as a CinemaSalem backer! In fact, we'll thank you right now for your personal awesomeness: "Thank you for your personal awesomeness!"

$10 - All of the above + You will receive one free large popcorn.

$25 - All of the above + You've earned an additional free large popcorn (two total), plus one second (24 frames) of actual 35mm film as a reminder of the magic of the movies.

$50 -All of the above + Two free movie admission passes and two free large drinks.

$100 - All of the above + Two free single admission passes to the world's best all-documentary film festivals, the Salem Film Fest (March 7-14, 2013). In addition, the name of every backer who contributes $100 or more will be honored on a plaque mounted permanently in our lobby.

$150 - All of the above + Two free deluxe Salem Film Fest collectible coffee mugs, as well as two free single admission passes to this, the world's best all-documentary film festival, the Salem Film Fest.

$200 - All of the above + Two luxuriant CinemaSalem T-shirts AND the free CinemaSalem individual passes and free large drink and large popcorn have DOUBLED to four of each!

$250 -All of the above + The number of free CinemaSalem admission passes, popcorn, and fountain soda has jumped to six!

$350 - All of the above + The number of individual passes to CinemaSalem movies has increased to 10! As have the number of large popcorns and fountain sodas. You can now come to the movies with nine of your friends, and they'll be really grateful, like us.

$500 - All of the above + A free three-hour private movie screening in our 20-seat Screening Room, or our 35-person capacity CinemaSalem Café. (Don't forget the permanent plaque recognition for donors of $100 or more!) 

$600 - A free 10-second screen ad in our popular pre-movie show, promoting your company or organization for THREE months (slides are shown before every single movie shown at CinemaSalem).

$900 - A free 10-second screen ad in our popular pre-movie show, promoting your company or organization for SIX months

$1000 - Two CinemaSalem "Share Passes" good for half-price admission to unlimited movies at the theater for six months, plus free popcorn and fountain drinks each time you see a movie. You also receive two T-shirts, 24 frames of actual 35mm film

$1100 - A free weeknight (Sunday-Thursday) private CinemaSalem Blu-ray Party at which you can host up to 150 of your friends in one of our big theaters, including unlimited free popcorn and fountain drinks for everyone!

$5,000 - Two CinemaSalem "Full-Share Passes" good for unlimited completely free CinemaSalem movie admission (with free popcorn and fountain drinks) for you and an individual of your choosing, for an entire year. You also get two CinemaSalem T-shirts, four Salem Film Fest mugs, and an entire movie on 35mm film (several to choose from)!

$10,000 - Double everything at the $5,000 level: four "Full-Share Passes" for free admissions, popcorn, and soda for a full year, four T-shirts, eight Salem Film Fest mugs, and two entire movies on 35 mm film!

To kick things off, we're hosting a free screening of the holiday classic, A Christmas Story, this Saturday morning at 10 am. It will be an awesome opportunity to celebrate the holidays, celebrate movies, and celebrate community!

Once again, thanks for supporting CinemaSalem!

Paul Van Ness

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