This upcoming year will mark the demise of film as the standard for movie theater projection. For well over a century, photochemical film stock has been the medium for cinema ever since its inception. But soon this will only be a memory of a bygone era – as will the existence of a thousand independent movie theaters, drive-ins, and art houses in smaller communities throughout the country. If these small businesses are not able to afford the substantial costs of digital conversion, they will be forced to shutter.
Movies of course will continue to be accessible through online downloads and DVDs that can be viewed in the privacy of one’s own home. But sadly, the experience of cinema – a public viewing of a movie with an audience that is projected onto a big screen – will soon be a relic of the past in many communities.
But such will not be the case in Norfolk. The quality programming of art films, indie films, docs, foreign films, and live events will continue at the Naro. Thanks to the generosity of many devoted patrons, the Clarence Campaign fundraising drive for conversion to digital cinema has now reached its goal. This was solely a grassroots community effort that solicited no corporate funding, government grants, or bank sponsorships. As a result, the Naro will remain an example of true public media that operates independent of corporate and political influence.
The new equipment is currently being installed in our projection booth. Digital Cinema Night for contributors to the Clarence Campaign is scheduled for Thursday, Nov 21. This will be a free film gala and is open to all qualifying Campaign contributors. And, yes, we do plan to keep and maintain our 35mm film projectors for classic film events. Film will hopefully be nurtured into the future in the same way that vinyl records are now revered in our modern digital age.