Burns Lake’s Community-Owned Theatre Adding State-of-the-Art Projection Equipment

December 2, 2010

A spokesman for the Lakes District Film Society, the non-profit organization that purchased the Beacon Theatre in August, confirmed today that the local cinema will be installing a new digital projector and sound system this month.

“We’ve contracted The ProjecTech Group of Calgary, Alberta to convert the Beacon Theatre to digital projection,” Michael Riis-Christianson, president of the society, said today. “When the work is completed, the Beacon Theatre will be one of the smallest cinemas in British Columbia to be equipped with digital projection and 3D technology. With this equipment, we’ll be able to offer local residents a wider range of programming options – everything from feature films to productions supplied only in digital format.”

Riis-Christianson said the $100,000 upgrade was made possible with assistance from the Lakes Legacy Fund, the Bulkley Valley Credit Union, Comfor Management Services Ltd., the Northern Development Initiative Trust, and an anonymous donor.

“We received word from Northern Development on November 29 that our request for a $30,000 grant had been approved,” he said. “It was the final piece of the funding puzzle for us. Without Northern Development’s support, the upgrade wouldn’t have been possible.  We’re very fortunate that Northern Development saw fit to support our efforts to re-open the Beacon Theatre as Canada’s second community-owned cinema.”

“We are very proud to be financially supporting the modernization and start-up of the revitalized Beacon Theatre in Burns Lake,” stated Evan Saugstad, chair of Northern Development Initiative Trust. “This project will realize a number of positive economic outcomes for Burns Lake, including revitalization of an important downtown amenity, and support of the community’s event hosting capacity, while also enabling a local entrepreneurial non-profit society.”

Riis-Christianson said the funding provided by Northern Development and other organizations couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We had hoped to show our first film on November 26, but our 1970’s projection unit broke down at the last minute,” he said. “As you can imagine, it’s very difficult to find parts for a piece of equipment that old. The contributions from Northern Development and others will allow us to open with state-of-the-art technology and the latest cinematic releases.”

Although the Beacon Theatre will be making the transition to digital technology in December, Riis-Christianson said the film society will continue its fund-raising efforts.

“Part of the funding for the new projector came in the form of a loan,” he said. “It’s imperative that we pay off that debt as quickly as possible, so we’ll be undertaking a major fund-raising campaign in the near future. We’re hoping local residents and businesses will support our efforts.”

Anyone interested in joining the film society can visit the society’s website at www.bltheatre.com