Some $46,162 in grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council's Facilities Fund will help Images Cinema in Williamstown with the conversion of its 35mm projector to accommodate digital movies and assist North Adams with early design development for the Mohawk Theater.
Images Cinema Executive Director Sandra Thomas said the $16,162 grant will help the non-profit movie house reach its fundraising goal of $75,000, which is needed to purchase studioapproved digital conversion system and sound upgrade equipment.
"We're looking to purchase the whole delivery system," she said Friday. "This grant will help upgrade all of our technology, which will bring our screening capabilities to a whole other level. Currently, we can screen films from 35mm film and from DVDs and Blue Ray."
The conversion equipment is necessary to the survival of the cinema, she said By early 2013 and possibly sooner, the movie industry will begin sending out new releases via digital hard drives and eliminate releases on 35mm film.
"We're trying to be ahead of the game, because there is a prediction that hardware will be on backorder because of the demand," Thomas said. "We've been fundraising for a while and are close to our goal of $75,000 but we'll need to exceed that in order to cover future upgrades and maintenance for the new equipment."
By converting the cinema's projector, it will still be able to provide films that are only available on 35mm.
"Some small theaters are waiting
North Adams Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said the city originally applied for $50,000, but is "extremely thankful" to receive $30,000 for the Mohawk Theater.
The funding will be used in conjunction with a $100,000 National Endowment for the Arts "Our Towns" grant awarded to the city and Mass MoCA in 2011 to develop a business and financing plan, along with early design development for the Mohawk Theater.
"Right now, we believe the best plan for the Mohawk is a partnership with MCLA, bringing the college's Fine and Performing and Arts Management programs into the downtown," he said. "This money will allow us to go deeper into the design."