Kamas Theater explores fundraising
Last week, Kevin and Sharee Harris, who run the Kamas Theater, called a public meeting to brainstorm with Kamas and Oakley residents for fundraising ideas.
The Kamas Theater is in danger of closing down unless it replaces the 35mm film projectors with a digital projector, but the trick is raising the $65,000 for the new equipment.
After the two-hour meeting wrapped, the two said they had a list of ideas and a group of supporters who promised to help the theatre, just short of buying the projector themselves.
"We have offers from a band to perform a benefit concert once we get stairs built for the stage, and we have someone who is going to build the stairs," said Sharee Harris during an interview with The Park Record. "Another person said he would track down some lighting so we could hold multiple fundraising concerts, and a woman said she could round up some vocal soloists during the summer for more fundraisers."
Other attendees said they would contact their employers to get some local businesses hold fundraisers for the theatre.
"We also have someone who is doing some research regarding applying for some grants," Harris said.
Kevin Harris said even people who couldn’t attend the meeting had contacted the family by phone to see what they could do to help.
"Everyone we talked with didn’t want the theater to close," he said. "The overall feeling was definitely how much they all love the theater because they saw their first movie there or because the prices are so good they can bring their families for a nice night out. They all have a desire to keep it around and want to figure out a way to keep it open."
The Harris’ said if they have to add new things to keep the theater open, they were game.
"Although, no one wants us to change the theater a lot, we’re willing to do whatever needs to be done to keep it going," he said. "We are pleased with the results and grateful for all those who came out to the meeting."
There was even talk of holding an event that would celebrate the history of the 192-seat theater, which opened its doors in 1942.
"We would like to bring in someone who knows the history of the building and give people tours," said Sharee Harris. "We would also like to see if we can gather people’s stories and memories of this theater, and share through recordings or through film."
Another idea that was touched upon was for the theater to become a nonprofit organization, something the Harris’ don’t want to do.
"There is an organization in Salt Lake that set up a nonprofit organization to save their theater and it is helping other theaters, but, and we’ve said before, all the theaters that have gone nonprofit that we know of have only been able to show art films," Kevin Harris said. "We want to maintain showing mainstream films, because I don’t think the Kamas community would respond to art films as well as a Park City audience would."
The decision for the Kamas Theater to go digital is one of necessity.
In November, the Harris’ contacted the Sundance Institute to inquire about screenings during the Sundance Film Festival, something the theater has done in the past.
Sundance informed them that the theater would not be used for screenings because it lacked a digital projector.
In addition, the major-movie studios sent the Harris’ letters that said they would be making movies on digital film and would discontinue making 35mm films within a year.
So, in order for the Kamas Theater to continue showing movies, the Harris’ made a goal to go digital.
Right now, the Harris’ are feeling optimistic that they can raise the money for the transformation.
"We’re definitely feeling that the community is supporting us and that there are a lot of people who want to help to keep us open and be successful," Kevin Harris said. "There are more avenues to explore, and I think something will open up and we’ll try it out."
For more information about the Kamas Theater and the fundraising project, call (435) 783-3456 or visit http://www.kamas-theater.com
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