Save the Fairlee Drive-In
Save the Fairlee Drive-In
We are an iconic drive-in theater searching for a way to pay for the movie industry's switch from 35mm film to digital.
We are an iconic drive-in theater searching for a way to pay for the movie industry's switch from 35mm film to digital. Read more
Honda sponsored a contest to convert a handful of drive-ins this past summer, and while we were not winners, this video explains our situation very well.
The quintessential American drive-in theater, where generations of moviegoers enjoyed movies under the stars with their friends and family, perhaps even had their first kiss, is threatened. Looking to cut costs, the movie industry is rejecting traditional 35mm film for new digital film prints. Film as we know it is coming to an end. To keep up with changing technology, theaters must either convert to digital projectors or fade to black, forever. Unfortunately, the new projectors aren't a dime a dozen- its $75,000 a pop. That's HUGE for a small theater like us. There is simply no way that we can afford a sum like that.
When we first heard about the possibility that movies would stop being made in 35mm, we hoped for the best and waited to see how much more time was left. Well folks, time's up. Paramount Theaters released their last movie on 35mm film this winter, and the other movie studios are expected to quickly follow suit. http://www.courierpress.com/news/2014/jan/23/paramount-stops-releasing-major-movies-on-film/ Its time to convert or close our gates for good.
Who we are:
The Fairlee Motel & Drive-In Theater is one of only two theaters in the country that also have an adjacent motel. 12 rooms parallel to Route 5 (the main state highway along the scenic Connecticut River valley) form part of the drive-in fence, and guests can watch the night's movies from the comfort of their own bed through a picture window.
First built in 1950 and named Highway 5, the Fairlee Drive-In has been in continuous operation save for a couple of years in the 1980's, providing a safe place for parents to bring their kids, friends to hang out, and people to get away from it all for a night.
We are rather unique among drive-ins in that we let our patrons bring in their own food, and since our family took over operations in 2003, we have invested tens of thousands of dollars in needed repair and renovation, including :
- A new metal fence around the field
- A new 35mm projector to replace the ancient carbon arc projector from the 1950's
- A remodeled snack truck
- Extensive renovation of motel rooms
- FM radio sound for the movies
- Sound by the Snack Truck and projection booth
If we succeed in our goal on Kickstarter, the next immediate projects we will tackle this year will include repainting the screen and replacing the speaker poles in the field that don't work, so everyone can hear the movie whether they have a working car radio or not.
What we have done to date:
When we first came to terms with the fact that we needed to purchase a new projector for such an enormous amount of money, we gathered our family around our dinner table and discussed what we could do. We decided to let our patrons and the community have a say in whether yet another community theater would fade to black. Our first post to our Facebook group telling them about our dilemma was 'shared' 292 times, and the following outpouring of support both deeply humbled and encouraged us that this place was well worth saving. Two concerts (at the drive-in), a benefit auction, many t-shirt sales and individual donations later, we have raised $22,100 of our goal. We are so appreciative of what the community has done for us so far and hope that Kickstarter will bring our collective dream to fruition, so future generations can fall in love with the movies all over again.
What can YOU do?
You can help us out in a number of ways-#1 being Pledge on Kickstarter! Spread the word, come to the drive-in!
What will the switch to digital provide?
- Better sound and crisp picture quality
- Ability to play advertisements and videos before the show
- Able to also play Blu-Ray movies
The specific projector needed for our size screen is a Barco DP4K-32B. http://www.barco.com/en/Products-Solutions/Projectors/Digital-cinema-projectors/Ultra-bright-Enhanced-4K-DLP-Cinema-projector-for-screens-up-to-32m-105ft.aspx
Will need to install: the new projector, new sound system, integrated electrical system, and climate control inside the projection booth to protect the sensitive electronics.
The people behind the project:
Our family (the Trapp's) run the Motel year-round and the Drive-In during its open season, late April through mid-September. We bought the Drive-In when it went up for sale in 2003. My father, Peter Trapp, went to camp in Fairlee and spent many nights at the Drive-In when he was a kid. He always jokes with us that he takes us kids on vacation every night! In addition to the Motel & Drive-In, our family has the Thunder Ridge Ranch in nearby Piermont, NH just over the Vermont border. On it we raise all sorts of animals, mainly Black Angus cattle from which we make our hamburgers at the Drive-In. We call those delicious burgers (ok, I'm biased but they are great) "Thunderburgers".
Cell: 603-272-5008 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Risks and challenges
How does Kickstarter work?
It's simple. We set our goal ($55,000, what we have left to raise). You make a pledge, and if we reach our goal, your pledge will go to pay for the projector and you will receive the accompanying reward(s). If we do NOT make our goal, even by a few bucks, no one is charged, and we are back at square one. The Kickstarter system guarantees that if we are successful the money you've pledged will result in a fully completed project.
We have contacted the projector distributor and figured out the timing, installation, necessary parts and service, taxes, etc. so if we reach our goal we can start immediately. This company has specific experience servicing Drive-ins, so we are confident that installation will go smoothly.
If you are unable to donate, spread the word! Tell your friends, neighbors, colleagues, your journalist cousin, share our campaign on Twitter, Facebook, wherever you can! The more people that know the greater our chance of success is!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)