NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

September 4, 2013

Screening Room launches fundraiser for equipment

BY DYKE HENDRICKSON
STAFF WRITER

---- — NEWBURYPORT — Moviegoers who don’t want to witness “the last picture show” at the Screening Room appear to be stepping forward in an online fundraising initiative.

Launched Sunday, a fundraiser to purchase digital projection equipment has already generated pledges of $5,545 from 86 backers.

“That’s quite good,” said Andrew Mungo, co-owner of the small, independent theater. “There’s a long way to go — it ends in (early) October.”

Mungo and co-owner Nancy Langsam say they are attempting to save the business, which is one of the most popular cultural attractions in the city. They lease the 99-seat venue. The Screening Room is being forced to change its business model because of the need for new technology. Major studios and distributors have turned from film to digital projection in recent years.

Langsam and Mungo say they will no longer be able to get new films by the end of the year without converting to digital equipment.

For a small movie house, the conversion cost is significant. The owners are seeking to raise $60,000.

They are utilizing Kickstarter.com to help them raise money. There is a link on their website, www.newburyportmovies.com, that will allow supporters to contribute money through this application.

The online program is part of a larger initiative.

Live events are planned, including the following:

Open House, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2 to 4 p.m. Music from Bob Allison on piano and George Blodgett on bass, two-thirds of the Lighthouse Trio. They play music from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. Visitors can donate at the show or online.

Film festival, Sunday, Sept. 22, is the final day of the eighth annual Newburyport Documentary Film Festival and guests can watch films and make donations.

Open house, Sunday, Sept. 29, from 2 to 4 p.m. A “Latin Quarter” quartet of musicians will entertain.

The Very Big Concert, Saturday, Oct. 5, on the Belleville Church stage, 300 High St. This show will feature a lineup of some of Newburyport’s best-known musical acts including Liz Frame and the Kickers, E.J. Ouellette and Crazy Maggie and Kate Redgate with others to be named soon.

Open House, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2 to 4 p.m. John Tavano, a premiere classical guitarist, will entertain.

The campaign is scheduled to end Oct. 14.