The only independent movie theatre in Kingston, Ont., has hit a bit of a rough patch. One of their projectors is on its last legs, and due to pandemic closures, The Screening Room is riddled with Covid-related debt, and can’t afford to replace it.
“It’s going to the big movie theatre in the sky,” projectionist Jordan Richards, told Global News of the projectors prognosis.
The projector is currently in the Roxy theatre, and its light reader is dying, which has killed some pixels causing red dots to appear on screen.
“It started with just one, now we’re at two. The longer we wait, essentially the screen is going to have chickenpox. It’s going to be spread out everywhere,” Richards says.
It will cost $60,000 to replace the device, which The Screening Room says it can’t afford it on its own. When it closed during the pandemic, the theatre took on some loans to pay the bills, and it’s now $130,000 in debt.
“There were the government wage and rent subsidies, and when they kicked in, they kept us treading water. But most people were, understandably, very reluctant to go to the movie theatre, and were really slow to come back,” says the theatre’s owner, Wendy Huot.
But people are coming back now. Many of the theatre’s customers like the intimate auditoriums, and want to support an independent business in downtown Kingston.
“We’re really fans of independent anything. Having this in downtown Kingston is just absolutely amazing. We want to be great supporters of it the best way we can,” Valerie Selby, a weekly customer, says.
In the six days since this fundraiser started, The Screening Room has raised more than $36,000 — more than half of its goal.
They hope to get as close to the goal as possible before the credits roll on the fundraising trail.
Donations to the fundraiser can be made through the theatre’s website: https://screeningroomkingston.com/2023-donation-drive/.