Pueblo Chieftain tells the Holly Theater Story
Digital age threatens town’s movie theater
By ANTHONY A. MESTAS | email@example.com | Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2012 12:00 am
HOLLY — Small town movie theaters may get left behind in the digital age. Holly citizens are fighting to keep their movie house open as Hollywood plans to switch to all digital technology by 2013. The switch would render the Holly Theater’s traditional 35mm film equipment obsolete. Holly is a town of about 1,000 people east of Lamar.
“We are kind of being forced to make changes along with every other theater. In order to show current movies, we have to convert to a digital projector unit,” said Kammie Cathcart, a member of the Holly Pride Committee, a nonprofit volunteer organization that runs the theater.
A digital projector can cost as much as $85,000, Cathcart said. The volunteer group is trying to raise money to purchase the equipment needed to keep one of the town’s favorite entertainment spots open. The committee has raised about $40,000 to date, made up of a $10,000 grant, several donations and $10,000 in savings, Cathcart said.
In Holly, two things are certain to happen on a typical weekend — high school sporting events and the Holly Theater on Main Street showing new movies, Cathcart said. The theater has been one of the few entertainment options in the town for decades after being built in the early 1900s, she said.
The Holly Pride Committee has been operating the facility on a volunteer basis for more than 20 years. The theater shows a single movie each weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Members of the community volunteer for a weekend of running the concession stand, cleaning and operating the projector, she said. “It’s a hometown operation that we all enjoy,” Cathcart said.
Recently, about 120 people attended a showing of the movie, “War Horse.”
Most of the movies shown are for families. “Our concessions are very affordable. It’s $5 to get in the door and you can by large popcorn and two large drinks for $4,” Cathcart said.
The town of Holly owns the building and has assisted the theater in providing support for utilities, insurance and building maintenance.
The committee has been informed that the digital projector must be ordered by May for set up to happen no later than December.
“In a small town, it’s hard to find anything for children to do and stay out of trouble. . . . This is really the only other entertainment, aside from sports that we have in town,” Cathcart said.
“We think it’s important to maintain the theater and to keep it alive.”
Tax-deductible donations are being accepted through the Holly Pride Committee at any Colorado East Bank and Trust branch in the state.