The Tivoli theater has been open for 30 years and has grown from its original 140 seat theater. They typically show unique sometimes rare films, classics and emergent creative works.
The theater in Westport is trying to raise funds to buy digital video systems. By the end of this year all movie theaters will need to have digital production systems. If a theater is operating on 35mm film strips they will be forced to buy digital systems or close.
“Film distribution is changing in January 2014 from actual 35mm stock to digitally distributed files,” former East student and Tivoli employee Sam Stevens said. “And we need to raise the money in order to buy new projectors and servers.”
This is an industry mandate, and companies like Fox announced in 2011 they will no longer release 35mm film in 2014. All theaters will need to convert soon. The National Association of Theater Owners estimates that 20% of North American theaters will be forced to close as a result of not being able to finance the new systems.
The industry mandated requirement for digital systems cost $70,000 per auditorium. The Tivoli theater has already converted one of their theaters, but need to convert two more or they will be forced to close. The entire conversion will cost them $210,000, a cost the Tivoli can’t cover on their own.
The theater is hoping to raise $130,000 in 42 days for funds they still need to reach the total $210,000 needed to upgrade to all digital systems. The campaign is through the online pledge platform, Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a unique fundraising platform that only takes people’s pledges if the target goal is reached.
As of Monday they have received over $106,000 from over 1,000 backers with 23 days left of the campaign. The majority of pledges have been from individuals giving between $25 and $100.This makes the goal all or nothing for the Tivoli theater. Any money pledged over the $130,000 required for digital systems will be used to make general improvements to the theater.