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Thousands sign campaign to save Silver Screen Cinema in Guildhall Street, Folkestone from closing

12 March 2014
by Matt Leclere

The cinema, in the town hall, is the only one in Folkestone and currently does not have the digital facilities to cope with newly released films.

But the cinema is also looking to renegotiate its lease with the town council, which owns the town hall building.

Folkestone Silver Screen Cinema is under threat of closure

Folkestone Silver Screen Cinema is under threat of closure

This is now the subject of a petition to ensure the two-screen cinema does not close down.

After launching last Thursday, it has already secured a total of 2,945 signatures.

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

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

Petition organiser Tom Langlands said: “Thriving towns need a cinema. A well-managed, customer-focused cinema working in harmony with other local businesses should be the beating heart of any community.

“Sadly, if Silver Screen Cinema Folkestone doesn’t go digital by the end of March 2014 it will no longer be able to screen the latest releases and it’s effectively the end for Folkestone’s last remaining cinema.

“This would be a tragedy for the town and one we shouldn’t allow.

“If the projector is secured from public funds the present owner, Silver Screen Cinema, should endeavour to work more closely with the community to develop a commercial, weekly programme that caters for all ages and budgets.”

Silver Screen is an independent cinema group that also has premises in Dover.

It is estimated that around £95,000 would need to be spent to allow the two screens to become digital, £60,000 for the main auditorium and £35,000 for the second screen.

Production companies will stop distributing releases on 35mm film at the end of this month in an industry-wide move. It reduces the cost of distribution and allows cinemas to digitally beam movies into cinemas via satellite link.

Petition organiser Tom Langlands

Petition organiser Tom Langlands

Digital technology will make 3D films more easily booked and screened.

Town council clerk Jennifer Childs said the town council is looking into options after Silver Screen approached the town council last year asking to draw up a new tenancy, which would include digitising both screens using public money to install the facilities.

The campaign to help save the cinema started on social media websites Facebook and Twitter and has gained the support of Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw and co-presenter of the BBC’s Film 2014, Danny Leigh.

Read the full story in this week's Folkestone & Hythe Express with council and cinema reaction plus Folkestone's unique place at the heart of Kent film history

To sign the petition visit www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/save-our-cinema-silverscreen-folkestone

 

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