The Rio must “go digital or go dark”
The Rio Theater, a small independent movie house located 75 miles north of San Francisco along the banks of Sonoma County’s Russian River, is in danger of closing. Big studios have announced that very soon, first-run movies will no longer be distributed on 35mm film. To remain in operation, the Rio, along with theaters across the country, must convert to digital projection at a substantial cost. As a consequence, it has been estimated that up to 20% of theaters across North America, representing up to 10,000 screens, may close. Unlike the multiplexes and large chain theaters that are receiving substantial discounts for digital conversion, small theater owners are scrambling for options.
To raise the necessary funds for the Rio, members of local West Sonoma County communities have launched this campaign on Kickstarter to allow people to pledge donations without having to commit the funds until the goal of $60,000 is reached. Through Kickstarter, we ask you, Rio supporters, to help us keep the doors open by making a pledge. In return for your support, we offer some great incentives.
Risks and challenges
How does Kickstarter work?
1. Our goal is to raise $60,000 by May 6, 2013.
2. You can help us reach this goal by making a pledge to donate and when you chip in, you get a reward.
3. For now, you simply make a pledge of support, and if we don't reach our goal by the deadline, you won't be charged. (But we will make our goal!) Any amount, no matter how small, helps push us closer to success.
4. We need to raise the TOTAL amount by the deadline, or we don’t receive any of the money (even if we're just $2 short).
5. If we exceed the goal before the deadline, we receive the whole amount, and the extra cash will go toward a heating system for the theater.
We understand that donors have a financial stake in seeing this project succeed. Your donation will go toward the cost of digital projection equipment, plus the Kickstarter percentage and Amazon fee to process pledges. The Rio does not plan to opt for 3D delivery in order to keep admission and food prices low. Once the project is funded, the Rio’s technical staff will be ready to move forward immediately. From the time of purchase, there may be a lead time of up to eight weeks before the equipment can actually be installed.
What if I can't make a donation?
Whether or not you can donate, please help us by spreading the word! Send this link to your family, friends, colleagues, classmates, teachers, acquaintances. Post it on your Facebook. Tweet about it. And encourage others to do the same. Our Kickstarter campaign can only be as successful as we are in getting the word out. Even if you can't help out financially you can still play an essential role.
The Rio community thanks you
In 2009, the Rio was named by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the Bay Area’s destination movie theaters definitely worth the trip – with one desirable criterion being “a little quirky”. With its long and colorful history, the Rio has a very devoted following of movie fans who see the importance of preserving this little mom and pop venue that serves as the only local movie house for some very isolated West County communities. Generations of families have congregated at the Rio, and their determination to save it now is a testament to the power of film to bring community together.
Thanks to those of you who have taken the time to come to our site, and our sincerest gratitude to those of you who pledge – whatever the amount. Visit RioTheater.com if you’d like to learn more about us, and once we are digitally operational, come and experience the Rio in person! If you haven’t been, you’re in for a treat. We are especially grateful to those of you from out of the area, and would welcome the chance to thank you in person.
- (60 days)