Eveningstar Cinema - the back story
My name is Barry Norman. I am an award-winning filmmaker, a film festival founder and former executive director; I have a master's degree in film studies from Boston University, and in August of 2010, I bought Eveningstar Cinema in Brunswick, Maine.
Eveningstar Cinema is a 100 seat, single screen movie theater which is tucked away in the back of the Tontine Mall in Brunswik, Maine. The mall used to be a garage for a local auto dealership. The theater was shoe-horned into it. Built in 1979, Eveningstar Cinema has been showing independent and foreign films and is ranked in the top 300 for independent theaters in the United States. It has a great relationship with both its customer base and independent film distributors, often getting top films such as The Artist and The Master on the date of their national expansion.
The studios are completing the elimination of 35mm film to digital early in 2013. The cost of digital projection, depending on the size of the screen, can cost between $35,000 - $55,000 per unit. This cost is causing an estimated 1000 community, locally-owned, art house cinemas to close. The strength of my demographics (large retirement community and a college town), has shown me that I can do the opposite - I not only don't want to close, but I want to build a brand new, three-screen movie theater that will host not only the top indie films I have been showing, but live music, an international film festival, film classes, and a host of other events.
While a new Eveningstar Cinema will obviously have its biggest impact in Brunswick, Maine, I believe that this can show similar communities all over the country that the new technology doesn't have to be the death knell for the local, independent movie theater, but it can be the birth of similar theaters all over the country.
What We Need & What You GetBanks and private equity companies and corporations are nervous these days about financing projects that they haven't done before. Movie theaters, especially multi-screen theaters, have traditionally been built by large corporations. Lenders are afraid that a movie theater is a single-purpose structure and where a building usually serves as collateral towards a loan, in this case, they are saying it doesn't. I need to raise $250,000 to go with personal funds and SBA loan to guarantee the building loan. This is the only, true obstacle standing in the way of getting this four million ddollar project from happening.For filmmakers who contribute, there will be the ability of having your film screen in the film festival that will be created as a by-product of the theater. There will also be the opportunity to have actual theatrical distribution of your film. You helped build the theater - you are a part owner. For others, there will be packages for admission, should you be able to come to Brunswick. There will be the ability to "buy" a theater seat and have your name on attached to that seat. There will be "bricks" with your name on it as part of the structure, showing how you helped get it built.
The Impact - local and national
The new Eveningstar Cinema will be national and maybe even internawtional news. With so many theaters closing or about to close, a new, art-deco influenced, independent theater that is built through your help will be covered by national and local media alike - perhaps inspiring others to take up the cause to build new indie theaters instead of closing existing ones.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you are unable to make a financial contribution, let everyone know about this campaign. Publish this link on your Facebook page or tweet it. The more people that see this, the more people have the opportunity to support it.
I will NOT take one cent of any raised funds unless I am able to actually build the new theater.