Vanc. man turning to Kickstarter to save theater

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by KGW reporter Erica Heartquist

NWCN.com

Posted on August 21, 2013 at 7:37 PM

VANCOUVER --Watching movies on film is becoming a thing of the past.

That's why the owner of a historic theater in Vancouver is turning to a crowd-funding site to try and save his business.

He's using Kickstarter.com to help raise the cash to save Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver.

Kiggins needs an upgrade to digital projection that the studios require to keep showing movies.

But, as KGW found out, it isn't cheap.

"Almost as if it was a museum at some point, people just wanting to come in and either relive the past or see the art deco style of the theater that was common at the time and the architecture. This theater started in 1936. It was opened by the on-again, off-again mayor of Vancouver for about 30 years," said theater owner Dan Wyatt.

Kiggins is considered the crown jewel of downtown Vancouver. Wyatt grew up watching movies at Kiggins.

"I was definitely a kid here watching the feature second-run movies back in the day, so I grew up coming here and seeing a lot of the 80's classics," he said. "I joked that that would be my dream job to run the place and then five years later, it came true."

He bought Kiggins Theatre a year and a half ago. But, Wyatt said in a digital world, not everyone is a lover of film.

"Film is going away. It's a sad reality," he said.

Movie studios are now requiring that all exhibitors in the country switch over to a digital format rather than film.

"They've been saying 2013 is the year that film will stop being sent out and I'll have to start showing movies digitally," said Wyatt.

Wyatt said it will cost about $85,000 to upgrade to a digital projection room.

As you might imagine, Wyatt's theater isn't alone.

"A lot of theaters around the country, independent, art house theaters are reaching out to their community to help fund this very expensive transition," he said.

That includes smaller theaters in the Portland area, too.

"Literally, think of every small town across the country that has at least one of these single-screen theaters," said Wyatt.

Wyatt has turned to technology for help, launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money. It's a move his neighbors like Leah Jackson, who owns the "Niche" wine and art shop next door, hopes works.

"We need the theater downtown. We need them to survive. It's a focal point," said Jackson.

"This is a very beloved institution in the community. Generations have grown up, over seven decades coming here," Wyatt added.

If you'd like to help save the Kiggins Theatre just click here.

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