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The Leavitt is Ogunquit's oldest and only cinema. In our 90th year, we need your support to fund an upgrade to digital projection.
The Leavitt is Ogunquit's oldest and only cinema. In our 90th year, we need your support to fund an upgrade to digital projection.
516 backers pledged $70,800 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$70,800

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Ogunquit's Only Theatre
Ogunquit's Only Theatre

What's the best way to enjoy a breezy summer night in a small Maine beach town? For ninety years, Ogunquit tourists and locals alike have frequented The Leavitt Fine Arts Theatre. This historic building was built in 1923 by Frank and Annie Leavitt and has since changed hands twice. Peter Clayton bought the Leavitt in 1976 and has continued to run it as a family business to this day. The Leavitt was built for silent film and has shown first run movies every season without fail through a depression, a recession, and the second World War. Why, then, does the season of 2014 pose the most significant challenge to date for this independent theatre?

The Leavitt Fine Arts Theatre
The Leavitt Fine Arts Theatre

The state of the film industry today is changing. There is a massive shift underway that will eliminate the widespread use of 35mm film and usher film into the digital era. No longer will a movie arrive as a spool of film, but instead as a hard drive containing the movie in digital form. Almost 80% of theatres have already converted their system to digital in anticipation of this change. For a film theatre like the Leavitt, this makes our current projectors obsolete and demands a very expensive upgrade of the projection booth, the projectors, and a retraining or rehiring of the projectionist.

A 35mm Film Projector
A 35mm Film Projector

The change in technology was decided upon by the film companies in order to conserve resources and save money. The printing of film is an expensive process, as is the shipping. Once a digital system is widespread and established it will allow for easier and more efficient presentation. The challenge lies in the conversion. For multiplexes and mall theatres that bring large percentage grosses, film companies will subsidize the conversion and help the theatre to go digital. The Leavitt has no such subsidy. The current state of the movie industry is already challenging for the small theatre; home entertainment, 3D, and multi-screen cinemas have all made profits difficult. The price of digital conversion without assistance is an impossibility.

Our 600 Seat Auditorium
Our 600 Seat Auditorium

The Leavitt Theatre is Ogunquit's only cinema. Within the last fifteen years both the Ogunquit Square Theatre and the Wells Five Star Cinema have closed their doors. The Claytons have continued to run the Leavitt for those who still enjoy a paper ticket ripped off of the roll, hot buttered fresh popcorn, and an attention to quality of picture and sound. We hope that with your help we can keep this Ogunquit tradition alive!

"We're gonna need a bigger boat"
"We're gonna need a bigger boat"

Risks and challenges

The first obstacle is the conversion of the projection booth. Our electrical system will be upgraded and air conditioning and heating will be installed. The next challenge will be to install the new projector. With the help of Pregent Visual Productions, a certified digital conversion specialist, and our projectionist and electrical technician Kevin Hickey, these changes will go smoothly and will result in an updated and state-of-the-art booth. The next challenge will be learning the ins and outs of digital projection. We will face this with the same attention to detail and excellence as when we upgraded from carbon arcs to xenon bulbs. The Leavitt has faced technical challenges and has prevailed. We hope that we will have the opportunity to tackle this next challenge.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A personal thank you via email from the Leavitt.

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    45 backers
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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    One free large popcorn and soda and a thank you email from the Leavitt.

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    74 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Two free admission passes, one large popcorn, two small sodas, and a thank you email from the Leavitt.

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    Ships to Only United States
    121 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Twenty-four frames of vintage 35mm film, two free admissions, one large popcorn, two large sodas, and a thank you email from the Leavitt.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    58 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Your name on the big screen nightly. Join our digital donor list which will display before every show for one year. Plus twenty-four frames of vintage 35mm film, four free admissions, two large popcorns, two large sodas, and a thank you email from the Leavitt.

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    55 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Own a piece of history. A classic 35mm preview from our collection, plus $200 rewards (Your name on the big screen nightly. Join our digital donor list which will display before every show for one year. Plus four free admissions, two large popcorns, two large sodas, and a thank you email from the Leavitt.)

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    9 backers
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    Pledge $800 or more About $800

    Business package: one on-screen advertisement for your company or organization shown before every feature for a year. Also includes two free admissions for a year.

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    Reward no longer available 12 backers
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Your name memorialized on a 1923 theatre seat. Eleven choice seats will feature a brass plaque dedicated to a donor. Plus two free admissions for a year, a 35mm preview, and your name on the screen for a year in our donor list.

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    Limited 13 backers
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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Starstruck. Your name in brass on one of our balcony box seats (see picture), and a private screening for you and up to 300 friends. Plus two free admissions for a year, a 35mm preview, and your name on the screen for a year in our donor list. Be the star of the show.

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    Limited 4 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)