The Future of Film: Convert or Die (Panel)
Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 11:00 AM | Main Street Landing
Presented by the Burlington Film Society and co-sponsored by the Vermont International Film Festival and Champlain College.
Does the death of film spell the end of independent theaters?
Although most moviegoers are unaware of it, a tsunami is about to hit the world of movies, and in its wake the landscape of moviegoing will be changed forever. The tsunami is the demise of film as a medium for production and distribution, and the subsequent need for movie theaters, in the words of National Association of Theater Owners president John Fithian, to convert to digital projection or die. Unfortunately for the small town movie houses and independent theaters of the sort that dot the landscape of Vermont, the cost of conversion (anywhere from $70,000 – $100,000 per screen) leaves them few options, and the prediction is that as a result, anywhere from 10 to 30% of existing theaters will be gone within the next few years. Some see the forced death of such theaters, and with them the kind of varied film programming they embrace, as a deliberate move to eliminate the number of theaters muddying the picture for corporate studio and theater operations, in favor of the blockbuster and mega-theater paradigm by means of which the industry makes most of its profits.
The fate of small town theaters in Vermont in the wake of the “convert or die” ultimatum, and what this all means for local filmmakers and film audiences, will be the focus of this panel discussion. Panelists include filmmaker and Champlain College Assistant Professor Rob Schmidt (Wrong Turn, Alphabet Killers), Montpelier’s independent Savoy Theater owner Terry Youk and others. Panel will be moderated by Barry Snyder, founder of BFS.