The Mayfair Theatre, which turned 80 on Sunday, has raised the $45,000 needed to buy a digital projector and keep its doors open for Ottawa movie buffs.
Major studios have announced they will stop making 35-millimetre film prints by January 2013.
Lee Demarbre, one of the four co-owners of the Mayfair, told Centretown News early this month that, without a digital projector, the theatre would have to close by the end of the year.
He says they had been worried about the change to digital for years.
“It’s been a long fundraising task that we put ahead of ourselves,” says Demarbre. “It was almost a year raising money and to be honest, we didn't always think we could do it.”
The Mayfair started raising money eight months ago with a series of fundraising screenings counting down the decades to the 80th anniversary. They also used Indiegogo.com, a crowd funding website, raising $22,355 from 188 online contributors.
Demarbre says most of the money was raised from the screenings, but Indiegogo put them over the top. He says they are very grateful to their loyal patrons.
“It’s touching, I always felt the Mayfair was a bit of a movie church. You can go to the Silver City, the Empire Theatre, but the Mayfair is where you go to worship cinema,” says Demarbre. “So we passed the collection plate around, and they feel it’s important to help keep the movie cathedral open.”
Demarbre says he hopes to have the new projector by Christmas, but the Mayfair won’t be showing digital films around the clock until February. His schedule for January is still mostly 35-mm films.
He says the digital projector will allow a wider selection of films and the Mayfair will still occasionally show 35-mm versions.