$72,000 Plus from ACOA!
On Monday, August 17, at high noon, Bill Zimmerman, volunteer manager, welcomed a supportive audience to the Al Whittle Theatre and introduced guest speakers for an official Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) announcement.
Senator Donald H. Oliver, Q.C., spoke first. On behalf of the Right Honourable Peter MacKay, he announced a federal government investment of more than $72,000 from ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund for the Acadia Cinema Cooperative’s digital projector, sound and lighting equipment, building insulation and 35-seat “Little Whittle” upstairs. Noting that, “The venue has played a leading role as a cultural institution, family-friendly gathering place and cultural tourism destination,” Oliver said the funding is intended to enhance cultural tourism in Wolfville and the surrounding area.
The announcement also included remarks from the Honourable Ramona Jennex (MLA, Kings South) who recalled living above the theatre (with landlord Al Whittle!) and offered greetings on behalf of the Provincial Government and Premier Darrell Dexter. Jennex noted that the Al Whittle Theatre is a valuable cultural resource. The provincial ministry of Tourism, Culture and Heritage grants operating funding to the co-op and contributed $10,000 for the digital projector. Town of Wolfville’s Mayor Bob Stead focused on “the partnership that made this endeavour possible.” He said, “Every small community seeks a pivotal place that brings people downtown. This facility is that place.” The Town contributed $20,000 to the projector fund. And Peter Herbin, president of the Wolfville Business Development Corporation, spoke of his organization’s contribution to the projector ($10,000) as part of its 30-year history of reinvesting in the Wolfville community.
The audience that gathered for the announcement included Acadia Cinema Co-op board members, shareholders, volunteers, event presenters, funding partner representatives (See complete list in “We’ve gone digital” below) and many who regularly attend films, concerts and other events at the Al Whittle Theatre.
Emcee Zimmerman elaborated on the co-op’s ongoing plans and projects, made possible by the government funding, before wrapping up with thank yous from the cooperative’s Board to all present. Light refreshments were served.
We’ve Gone Digital!
Our new CP2000M Digital Cinema projector has arrived. On April 9, 2009, to be exact! It’s been installed and it’s working. On Saturday, April 25, Wolfville Area Cinema for Kids and Youth (W.A.C.K.Y) screened WALL-E. Fundy Film got their chance on May 17, with screenings of Kenneth Branagh’s The Magic Flute. And this means that we’re now able to regularly screen High Definition video content – like that on BluRay discs – and, with some additional equipment down the road, HD cam, DigiBeta and even Digital Cinema studio releases. For those of us who are not up on the latest technical terms, this means that when we use the projector together with our BluRay player, the Al Whittle Theatre is screening DVD and BluRay content in the highest possible quality.
Individuals, groups and government responded to the Digital Projector Fund — established in 2005 — which covered most of the projector’s cost. The donors understood that the projector represents a long-awaited leap forward, not only for the Acadia Cinema Coop, but also for W.A.C.K.Y. and the Coop’s anchor tenant, the Fundy Film Society. Until the new projector arrived, the digital revolution sweeping the film industry had reduced the Fundy Film Society’s access to documentaries, the work of local filmmakers, the National Film Board and Canadian and international filmmakers. Previously available on 35mm film, many are now only available on digital formats. We’re also finding that service for 35mm projectors is getting more and more difficult. Late last spring, the Coop arranged for technicians from Montréal to service ours and three other regional projectors. It took almost a year to find qualified technicians.
Now a broad range of community institutions, groups and events will benefit from having a digital projector available at the Al Whittle Theatre. With lower film shipping costs, broader access to films and the reduced time for arranging screenings, the new digital projector allows us to expand screening opportunities dramatically. Can a future Fundy Filmmakers Festival, movies for school children on “snow days” and community group series be far off?
Stay tuned for future “official” celebrations of the projector’s arrival. Area artists are already collaborating on a public service announcement for the Al Whittle Theatre screen, acknowledging those who have made this significant purchase possible.
The Acadia Cinema Cooperative gratefully acknowledges all those who have made the Projector Fund a success:
- Town of Wolfville
- Wolfville Business Development Corporation
- Province of Nova Scotia
- Individual ACC shareholders
- Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op
- Rotary Club of Wolfville
- Fundy Film Society
- Scotia McLeod
- Retired Faculty of Acadia University
PR Committee Proud of Façade Improvements
With two handsome brand new signs now adorning the front of the Acadia Cinema building, the co-op’s volunteer PR Committee, Nancy Saul-Demurs, Pam Ackerman and Susan Hauer are mighty pleased that another PR dream has come true. And they sure hope that many more people will now easily notice and make their way to Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre too!
Several years ago, ACC volunteers Heidi Kalyani and Ken Shorley persuaded the co-op’s board that the new Al Whittle Theatre needed a full identity of its own, not only to distinguish the facility from the co-op but also to bind the facility’s past to the present and future. They were instrumental in the Board’s adoption of the theatre’s full name and Kalyani, a professional designer, created the new logo and web site with Shorley’s consultation and support. Graphic designer Steven Slipp stepped up this spring to design the vertical sign and offered other significant advice about new signage and future façade improvements in general. What an exciting difference, eh? Thanks everyone!
Summertime Theatre in Wolfville
Summer theatre returned to Wolfville this July and August when executive producer Bruce Klinger chose the Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre as the home of his new company, Valley Summer Theatre. The theatre stage was transformed with Victoria Marston’s stunning set and Leigh Ann Vardy’s equally effective lighting for The Gin Game. Under the able hand of director Linda Moore, the wider community enjoyed a mighty fine piece of theatre from July 29—August 16. Don’t miss A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters running Thursday to Sunday, August 19—23!
Highlights from June and July 2009 Board Meetings
- summer theatre contract signed: July 7 – Aug. 22 The Gin Game and Love Letters
- approximately $20,000 of sound gear ordered
- contractors and volunteers organized to prepare the community room for the summer theatre production company
- lots of bookings for the fall: all Saturdays in November, very solid December, weekly use of community room being negotiated.
- three-year (we think) operating grant received from the province
- board agreed to repay $2,500 of the shareholder loan in July
- local artists made a promo to show before films to recognize donors who helped purchase the digital projector
- the public relations committee has done website updates, established a Facebook page for the Al Whittle Theatre and developed and distributed a brochure to support the Sink the Mortgage campaign
- Jack’s Gallery is successful and positive feedback continues
- the Annual General Meeting will be held in the Al Whittle Theatre at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20th
The Board of the Acadia Cinema Cooperative Ltd. wishes to acknowledge with much appreciation the generosity of the Estate of the late Jack Sheriff which donated to ACC the following items from the former Kipawo Building: theatre seats, stools, theatre lights and hardware, upright piano and bench. Some of these elements will find a home in the room above the present Al Whittle Theatre lobby which will be transformed into a “second stage” for intimate live performance and digital cinema screening.