Small Movie Theaters Struggle to Make Digital Conversion - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Small Movie Theaters Struggle to Make Digital Conversion


Beginning in 2013, many Hollywood studios will stop production of movies on 35-millimeter film and convert to an all digital format. Most large theaters have already switched to this digital format, but many independent theaters are struggling to afford the expensive updates.

Mindframe Theater in Dubuque has been apart of the Dubuque community for 5 years. The theater houses six screens and aims to bring a different film-going experience its customers. The theater shows a variety of different films including mainstream Hollywood movies, independent movies, documentaries and foreign films. The theater also houses a stage hosting different plays and bands throughout the year. The theater is owned and operated by a husband, wife and family friend adding to the theaters local charm.

Grant Grudzina is Co-Owner to Mindframe Theaters, and helped bring the theater to life 5 years ago.

"All of our owners, all the people who work here are long time Dubuque residents." said Grudzina.

Ken Leier is a resident of Dubuque who regularly attends shows at Mindframe Theaters.

"It's a unique place for a movie theater compared to the regular chains." said Leier.

But the theaters uniqueness is at stake. As many Hollywood studios are shying away from the industries old 35 mm film, theaters all over the world are being forced to go digital or go dark.

"Except for incremental changes in the presentation of the technology of film, the basic technology of showing rapid motion still pictures hasn't changed for over 100 years." said Grudzina.

Grudzina says Mindframe has been preparing for this conversion for a couple of years now.

"The transition from 35 mm to the digital film has been in the atmosphere of the industry for a few years now. So we have been aware of that fact and so we have been in the process of saving on the capital side. But also, looking at the technology that is available through different programs at different companies." said Grudzina.

The digital conversion could at minimum cost of a little under $100,000 for Mindframe Theaters. Although Mindframe has been saving for the conversion, the deadline for the conversion is approaching fast. According to the theaters web site, the deadline could be as early as the end of July. The theater began to look to their customers for help.

Mindframe is asking their customers to come to an extra movie or two, as well as participate in their special events campaign. The campaign will feature local bands and showings for their customers. Some of the events profits will help go towards the digital conversion of the theaters six screens.

"This campaign is to help us with the savings that we have taken with those measures already and get us over the hump on the front end of financing that entire process" said Grudzina.

Along with the campaign, Mindframe Theaters has also set up an account for donations using PayPal on their web site. Grudzina is confident Mindframe will be able to make the conversion to digital, even if that means converting one screen at a time. Grudzina hopes to start the digital conversion in early to mid-summer.

For more information about donating to Mindframe Theaters click here.

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