|Jul 16, 2013 --
Outline of Need: Almost forced to go dark, The Scenic, like many small-town theaters, were struggling with the high cost to convert from a film to digital format. The 35-millimeter film had been an industry standard for more than a hundred years, but Hollywood studios will stop printing on actual film by the end of the year. To keep up with technology, theaters must purchase all new specialized equipment to show movies.
How Rural Development Helped: Receiving over 30 letters of support, USDA Rural Development helped the theater purchase new equipment by awarding the City of Lisbon a $47,500 Rural Business Enterprise Grant. The equipment was then purchased by the City of Lisbon who will lease it at a nominal fee to the theater owners.
The Results: Established in 1911, the historic Scenic Theater in Lisbon is the oldest, continually operating theater in the United States. Intent on preserving the community’s theater, a group of seven local residents organized the Save Our Scenic campaign in April of this year. In the short span of three months, they raised over $74,000. Donations came in from folks in 15 different states and over 300 local donors. All ages were involved in the fundraising efforts which included: a second grader selling eggs, donated babysitting money, barbeques, and an Elvis impersonator show.
“Being 70 miles from the next closest theater, the Lisbon area certainly would have lost an entertainment focal point and a core business,” said Jasper Schneider, USDA Rural Development state director. “The community’s support and generosity really saved the Scenic.”
The new equipment will be installed by the beginning of August 2013 and the first digital film to be shown will be Fast 6.