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Bring the movies back to Bethel, Maine.
Bring the movies back to Bethel, Maine.
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364 backers pledged $35,307 to help bring this project to life.

About

Let's Light Up The Gem! project video thumbnail
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Let's Light Up The Gem!

$35,307

364

5 HOURS LEFT: We ONLY need $2,000 to reach our total goal of $75,500 to upgrade both theaters! 

Bethel is a small town in Western Maine that lost its only movie theater in 2012! Similar to hundreds of theaters across the country, the theater closed when faced with the prospect of converting to digital. Now families must drive an hour to spend an afternoon at the movies. But we have a solution….

Old Casablanca Cinema will become The Gem with your support!
Old Casablanca Cinema will become The Gem with your support!

 The Gem: A Space for Movies & Art!

Our mission is to build community, frame by frame. We envision The Gem as a community hub offering entertainment as well as a space for people to engage with art. Affordable tickets and diverse programming will make the theater accessible to all ages and interests. Access to many forms of arts and culture is limited in rural areas, yet film is not limited by geography. If there is a screen, there is access to the best film in the world. We want to bring the big screen back to Bethel because we believe film has the ability to inspire, educate, and bolster our community. When we started this project, we asked ourselves three questions:

1. Why a cinema? Because there is a vacant movie theater in downtown Bethel, ME, and the community misses it! 

2. Why reopen it? A theater with a community focus would fill an entertainment need in Bethel, offer an avenue to support arts and area non-profits group, and boost economic activity in our small town. 

3. Why us? We have the skills, vision and passion to create a community theater. After years of running a successful business from home, we are eager to start a public venture that will add to the vibrancy of the Bethel area community.  

Standing room only at our first Family Open House!
Standing room only at our first Family Open House!

Let's Light Up The Gem!

We need $40,000 to convert one screen to digital and begin showing mainstream movies. But...we don't have to do this alone! Sunday River Ski Resort has put a generous challenge to the community - they will match up to $20,000 of pre-tickets sales!!

And, we did it!!! With 193 pledges, we raised $20,000 to light up one screen. Movies are coming back to Bethel! Is it possible we can convert two screens?

For an additional $35,500 (or 3,550 tickets) we can convert a second theater and increase the diversity of our programming. Imagine, with two digital screens... 

  • Parents can see a different movie from their kids! 
  • We show two blockbusters at the same time!
  • Hold special event without having to close the entire theater!
  • Live concerts or sporting events in a second theater?

Through website/theater ticket sales, donations, advertising, and events, we're only need an additional $2,000! 

Current Reach Goal: With $34,500 pledged to kickstarter, we can convert both of the largest theater screens. 

Tickets are here! Buy a few extra for your favorite movie lover.
Tickets are here! Buy a few extra for your favorite movie lover.

 If you think you'll go to the movies at least ONCE, we need you to buy your ticket today!

Rewards:

  • $10 and up: Movie tickets! Each movie pass includes a small popcorn. No expiration date. Tickets are printed!! They will be shipped to you on Dec 21st (or picked up at the theater). Want a different # of tickets? Send us a message! Need our tickets today? Buy them here
  • $55: Organic popcorn seasoning kit in magnetic jars by Gneiss Spice. Store your spice jars on your fridge, and with spices in sight you'll use them all the time! Gift idea for a movie lover. Check out product details and photos here.
  • $150 and up: Winter or yearly Theater Supporter Membership for individuals and families. Include free entry to all regularly scheduled movies. We'll host seasonal members-only event each year, such as reserved screenings for new releases or wine & beer social hour (and we'd love more ideas). Membership will help your $$ go farther.
  • DONE!!!  $1500: Sponsor a new (and bigger!) popcorn machine. You get free popcorn forever.
  • $2500: Own a piece of Bethel history with a reward of the old Casablanca Cinema building sign!
  • Stephen King - we have a reward just for you! The word about town is that you and your mom used to frequent the old Casablanca (it's even written in a yelp review). Lovell isn't too far away — help us bring the movies back to western Maine! In a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, when asked what your money does for you, you replied, "I like to have money to buy books and go to movies and buy music and stuff." Consider helping us make a small town, community movie theater a reality.

You can just donate, too! Donations will go twice as far, as we won't have to pay movie commission fees on the tickets. 

Stuff someone's stocking full of movie tickets and help us Light Up The Gem!
Stuff someone's stocking full of movie tickets and help us Light Up The Gem!

How You Can Help Us!

1) Pledge Now! Your monetary support will allow us to raise the capital needed for the digital conversion. In our rewards (right hand column), you can support us at different levels, starting from a single ticket! Not a local? Consider pledging to our Education Fund to sponsor field trips or pick up an organic popcorn seasoning kit! Remember - We have a stretch goal of $55,500 to upgrade two theaters!

2) Come to an Event! Throughout December, we have weekend fundraising events ranging from an all-day movie marathon, teen movie night and a kids Polar Express jammies party.  We will conclude our fundraising campaign with a party and screening of Warren Miller's new ski film, Chasing Shadows!

3) Share this campaign!!! 

4) "Like" our facebook page and sign-up for our weekly email newsletter. 

Madison Lambert, 3, leaves an afternoon screening at The Gem movie theater in Bethel on Sunday. The mural in the background was created by artist Mattie Rose Templeton using imagery of historic Bethel. Photo by Andree Kehn / Lewiston Sun Journal
Madison Lambert, 3, leaves an afternoon screening at The Gem movie theater in Bethel on Sunday. The mural in the background was created by artist Mattie Rose Templeton using imagery of historic Bethel. Photo by Andree Kehn / Lewiston Sun Journal

Have experience with crowd-funding? Know someone that wants to help? Want to sponsor an event? Or, just recommend your favorite movie? Send us an email at thegemtheater@gmail.com.

Thanks for your support! We look forward to watching a movie with you….

~ Wade, Beth & Althea

Risks and challenges

Before purchasing the building, we leased for 2 months to assess the viability of the project, the functioning of the building and gauge community interest. Due to overwhelming public support, we feel confident this project will be successful - and that Bethel really does want a movie theater to return!

In terms of timing, we plan to purchase the digital equipment as soon as we receive the funds (takes 2 weeks after the campaign has closed). We already have a contract with the supplier - all we need to do is pay our deposit. From that point, it will take 3-4 weeks for the equipment to arrive and be installed!

As this is a local venture - we are accessible each weekend at the movie theater, as well as directly by email (thegemtheater@gmail.com). Please contact us with any questions or advice.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    The Betamax!
    You like the "idea" of a movie theater - but honestly, anything you'd ever want to watch you own on betamax. You'll get a big THANK YOU from us.

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    1 backer
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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    The Educator!
    From outta town? Pledge $10 to our field trip fund for SAD44 public school students. Condsider pledging $200 to cover the cost of an entire field trip!

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    5 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Movie Ticket!
    If you think you'll go to the movies at least ONCE - we need you to buy your ticket TODAY! Ticket includes a small popcorn.

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    Ships to Only United States
    12 backers
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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Young Lovers!
    Pack of 2 movie passes - each ticket includes a small popcorn.

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    Ships to Only United States
    92 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Stocking Stuffer!
    Pack of 5 movie passes - each ticket includes a small popcorn.

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    Ships to Only United States
    87 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Family Fun!
    Pack of 10 movie passes - each ticket includes a small popcorn.

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    Ships to Only United States
    90 backers
    $

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Windhold-ah!
    Individual Winter Movie Membership: Free admission for you all winter - something to do when the lifts are on hold! Raise your pledge to $250 to cover you and a friend! (Good now thru May 1st)

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    5 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Local Advertiser!
    Moviegoers spend an average of 14 minutes in their seats pre-show! Spread the word about your local business to this relaxed & undistracted crowd. You get quarter-screen, slide for the year. For $600, you'll get the screen to yourself.

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    1 backer
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Movie-Goer Membership!
    Year Movie Membership for You: Free Admission to all regularly scheduled movies for a year. Raise your pledge to $450 and it will cover you and a friend!

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    5 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The Giver!
    Pack of 50 movie passes - each ticket includes a small popcorn. Gifts for employees? Raffle at your business? Resell? Your generous support will help us light up the screens!

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    Ships to Only United States
    7 backers
    $

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    Family Membership!
    Year Movie Membership for the Fam: Free Admission to all regularly scheduled movies for a year for 2 adults + 2 kids. Raise your pledge $50 to cover each additional kid.

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    0 backers
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    Local Advertiser!
    Moviegoers spend an average of 14 minutes in their seats pre-show. Spread the word about your local business to this relaxed & undistracted crowd. You get full screen, slide advertising for the year!

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    3 backers
    $

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    The One and Only King!
    Reserved for Mr. (Stephen) King! According to town lore, you and your Mom used to frequent the old Casablanca Cinema…. We've reserved this reward just for you! Sponsor a screening of your favorite film-adaptation. Carrie? Shawshank Redemption? The Shining (I hear you hate this one)? Creepshow (my favorite!!)? We can't wait to meet you! (Consider a larger donation? We'd really love to upgrade an additional theater.)

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    Limited 0 backers
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Mr/Ms. Social!
    Pack of 100 movie passes - each ticket includes a small popcorn. Gifts for employees? Raffle at your business? Resell? Your generous support will help us light up the screens!

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    Ships to Only United States
    3 backers
    $

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    The Romantic!
    The old Casablanca building sign can be yours! Own a piece of Bethel history and help us step into the future….

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    Literally, Light Up The Gem!
    We need a sign!! Your extremely generous pledge will allow us to install a new, lighted sign outside the building. In exchange, you'll get a family membership, free popcorn all year, and a private group screening in the new theater of your favorite movie!

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    Popcorn Enthusiast!
    We are building the best popcorn seasoning bar in America! Get this kit of Gneiss Spice's 7 best-selling organic popcorn seasonings (Makes over 60 batches of popcorn) - and help us build our popcorn bar! Great holiday gift for a movie lover - for sale in the theater, too. Ships Free!!!

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    Reward no longer available 25 backers
    $

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Get Us Poppin'!
    With your generous pledge, we will purchase a new popcorn machine and dedicate it to you…. You get free popcorn for life, too!

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
    $

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Funding period

- (22 days)