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Liberty Theatre owners Mark and Cindi Monaco report that the Liberty Theatre’s local fundraising campaign reached its goal of raising $23,000 in individual donations, activating pending grants totaling $20,000. These funds, combined with Monaco’s personal savings and help from a California investor, allows the theater to update its equipment to digital, since the movie industry will no longer distribute films in 35mm.
Pagosa Springs was not alone in mounting a grassroots fundraising effort to save its theater. The National Association of Theater Owners estimates that 10,000 screens — one in five in North America — will go dark if they cannot afford to convert to digital. Among the venues most in danger are mom-and-pop-owned independent theaters in small towns like Pagosa.
Monaco is finalizing bids for the conversion equipment and construction work, to start mid April. The theater should reopen with state-of-the-art digital equipment and other upgrades in May.
Donations to the local campaign came from several hundreds of Pagosans. The theater also benefited from larger donations and a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at Nello’s restaurant, two benefit concerts and the Penguin Plunge.