With just a day to go, the Sie FilmCenter made its $150,000 Kickstarter goal -- which will fund the theater's necessary transition to Digital Cinema Presentation projectors.
As incentive for participating in the Kickstarter campaign, Film on the Rocks director Britta Erickson and her crew promised a special screening of The Big Lebowski for those who donated to the cause. Fans of the film were miffed when the movie didn't initially appear on the FOTR 2013 roster, but this campaign gives them a chance to see it: Anyone who already donated has a guaranteed invitation, and donations are still being taken -- and invites given out -- until 5 p.m. today.
"People do need to know that if they still really want see The Big Lebowski -- and for those were complaining that I didn't put it in the lineup this season -- this is still the only way to see it," says Erickson. "They have to step up to the plate in the next (few hours) to be able to get the show they really want to see."
With DCP quickly becoming an industry standard, the pricey projection systems that will be covered by the Kickstarter money were necessary if the FilmCenter -- and its Film on the Rocks series and annual Starz Denver Film Festival -- was going to have access to the majority of new and classic films, now only being produced in the digital format.
"We will actually also screen The Big Lebowski at Film on the Rocks on DCP, because that is the only way to do that film now," says Erickson. "It was tricky for me this year to program Film on the Rocks, because a lot of studios have already made the shift on their classic films. They have some 35mm left on those classics, but they are going into archives, and you can really only get them if you have a reel-to-reel system, which Red Rocks doesn't have -- we have a 35mm platter system up there.
"I had to program knowing that we were only going to be able to use certain studios that would still provide us with a platter-able print. But I could see that next year, it was going to be virtually impossible," she adds. To be able to get the variety of movies that FOTR -- which is looking at 60,000 attendees this year -- is famous for offering viewers, the DCP switch was a must.
"We try to introduce 'new' classics -- things like The Hunger Games -- into the programming," says Erickson. "We weren't able to do The Hangover Part II this year because it's not available on 35mm, and if Hunger Games works really well this year -- which it's trending to do -- we wouldn't be able to roll out that franchise in future years without the DCP."
The Denver Film Society saw the transition coming a while back, and started doing preliminary fundraising. Although those efforts were successful, in order to make the full-on transition to costly DCP projectors, the non-profit knew it had to reach out to the community -- and the Lebowski Kickstarter campaign took shape.
"What I found a bit interesting was that we had launched a campaign that was more reliant, we thought, on broad-based support coming from people who wanted to go to The Big Lebowski " Erickson notes. "Obviously, our campaign was really Lebowski-oriented and very fun" -- but the average donations didn't come from the Lebowski fan demographic.
While many people took the Lebowski ticket pledge, early donations came in larger amounts from supporters of the organization's work overall. "The campaign got a good start because of the people who really care about the organization as a whole and care about the Sie FilmCenter," says Erickson. "That was great to see, that people care about the core of our mission -- not that Film on the Rocks isn't part of our core mission -- but the people who call the Sie FilmCenter home really stepped up to the plate."
"The campaign has been successfully funded -- which we are over the moon about and so thankful for the community for really stepping in and helping us with," says Erickson.
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And as thanks, FOTR favorites The Moderators have just been added to the July 31 celebration. The Big Lebowski screens on July 31 at Red Rocks as part of the Film on the Rocks 2013 summer season. To purchase tickets, donate to the non-profit's Kickstarter campaign before 5 p.m. today.