As the world turns digital it leaves many small cinemas’ going the way of the Dodo bird; but in this race to stay current and keep the experience of movie going as a community event there is one rising star.
In the small town of Sidney, in British Columbia Canada, the community is coming alongside its unique movie theatre. The remaining owner (who lost her sister and business partner to cancer only months ago) is awestruck as her community comes alongside in the fundraising efforts to keep Star cinema as part of their community.
This theatre is unique in that it has always made movie going a community affair, bringing the best in modern entertainment while retaining its nostalgic feel and decor. Listening to its patrons and treating them like family the volunteers, staff and owner work at welcoming you to their theatre. Right from the greeters at the door, the concession staff, the ticket taker, and the owner; who is often the one at the front of the theater to welcome her guests and thank them for coming. It is like the hospitality of a good host(ess) who welcomes you to their home for tea and cookies.
The ads run on screen are local ads in support of the towns businesses, which in turn support the Star. The patrons love it all. Add to this: Gala’s with hors d’oeuvres, special features such as bringing the Metropolitan opera to the screen, and quality smaller films creating an enjoyable cinema experience in a nostalgic small town movie house meant for all ages; and you have something real special.
To save this valued movie house the theatre seats themselves have been sold out to supporters raising the funds needed for new comfortable seats to replace the 1940’s vintage ones in use. An appreciation plaque will be installed on each seat to say thank you to its donor. There is still the issue of going from a projector to digital computerization so that they can access the media of today by satellite. One such system is in place and half of the funds have been raised by independent community events for another.
One event headed up by the Sidney town crier and supporter was “A Starry Afternoon.” Even Cinderella, Dorothy and Toto, with a host of other characters were in attendance while local musicians with the Bayside Big Band and the Islanders donated both their time and talent to help raise another $4,700.00.
The fundraising continues and the grateful theatre is overwhelmed by the kindness, love and enthusiasm that the fans are showing. It really is a family affair and the many years of service the Star cinema has given is being appreciated with continued community involvement.
There is even a film and media club in its budding stages that have dreams of becoming a society one day. I’m sure it will take off for the love of film and media; way to go, keep it up folks.
Thanks to The Bayside Big Band and the Islanders
for their generosity of time and talent!
All Photos By Moira Gardener – All Rights Reserved