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Councillors agree to offer Silver Screen Cinema in Guildhall Street, Folkestone money for upgrade

27 March 2014
by Matt Leclere

It would allow the town council to take over the cinema but under the proposals agreed by the town council last Thursday, it will offer £65,000 needed to provide a new digital projector for the main auditorium.

But Silver Screen would operate under a new licence and pay the council a fee rather than rent when the formal tenancy is scrapped.

The cost of going digital is estimated to be £95,000

The cost of going digital is estimated to be £95,000

A special screening of multi Oscar-winning film The Artist will be shown this Saturday to raise extra cash for the cinema.

It is hoped all 403 seats of the main auditorium for the screening on Saturday, March 29, at 7pm, will be sold out and captured in a single photograph by Folkestone photographer Freddie Lee Thompson.

Before the film, Folkestone singer-songwriter Lucky Jackson will perform a live acoustic set.

The council owns the town hall and rents out the former council chamber to Silver Screen.

It is estimated a further £35,000 would be needed to upgrade the second screen.

The cinema faced imminent closure following the need to find £100,000 to provide digital projection equipment for both screens.

Town clerk Jennifer Childs

Town clerk Jennifer Childs

Town clerk Jennifer Childs said: “I’d hope it won’t close. It can still show 35mm films. But we can’t digitise straightaway – it will take at least four to six weeks. We’d have to go to tender because of the amount involved.”

In an industry-wide cost-cutting move at the end of the month, production companies will stop distributing future releases on 35mm film, the technology in use at the Silver Screen.

The council is waiting to hear the outcome of an application for a £2 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant which could be used partly to update the facilities.

Cllr Paul Marsh, chairman of the finance and general purposes committee, said: “When we took over the town hall we applied for a grant partly to use to upgrade the cinema and for community use. It’s not confirmed yet that we’ve got the money but it’s looking positive. From day one, the council has and still is committed to that usage.

“I’d like to thank the petition, I think that shows there is a strong support for the cinema.”

The petition launched two weeks ago has now gained more than 3,400 signatures.

To book your tickets, which are £10 for adults and £8 for concessions, go to call the box office on 01303 221230 or visit the cinema in person at the town hall in Guildhall Street, Folkestone.

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