December 17, 2017
To My Dearest Cinema Faithful,
As we celebrate over 10 years in business, I look back at the incredible work we have done since starting this beautiful thing of ours:
In 2007, I took a $7,500 nut (which was all of my savings) and established Cape Ann’s first and only community cinema. You braved the icy winter roads to Rocky Neck to make our first season – a delightful combination of films that we loved and ones that you asked for – a success.
By 2009, your support had given us the impetus to move downtown, to our current West End home. Business doubled.
By 2011, we were able to hire a staff — albeit a skeleton crew — so we could offer more shows daily. By this time, business had tripled over our first year, and our offerings went from 1-2 daily to 4-5 daily.
In 2013, your donations allowed us to upgrade our projector to an industry-standard DCP model, giving us the capability of presenting first-run films for the first time. We affectionately named the projector “Sol” (after the power of the Sun). It went online (and became self-aware, methinks) in 2014.
In 2015, your donations saved the Cinema from closing after 7 consecutive blizzard weekends wiped out a whole season of revenue.
This year, we opened The Magic Lantern Community Screening Room, a wickedly quaint 15-seat space across the hall from our Main Theater, at our 8th Annual DoctoberFest Documentary Film Festival. The new room features the kinds of “smaller” movies we started with all those years ago. This room will bring much-needed additional revenue, through daily programming and ultra-affordable rentals. It is a wonderful and essential addition to the Cinema mix.
As 2017 comes to a close, I look ahead again. We have done so much together and built a resource that the community needs and can be very proud of, but we cannot and will not rest on our laurels. It is time to take it to the next level of thriving (and not just surviving). Here’s what we need to do:
PUT MEAT ON THE BONES OF THE SKELETON CREW
While we are no longer the one-person operation we were when we started, we need a larger payroll. We need a staff to handle events like the hugely successful HarborWalk Summer Cinema and the fetes and festivals we hold in other venues like CinemaSalem, The Cabot, and churches all over New England. We have also found a local marketing team we’d like to engage, as we know that in order to grow and serve more people we need to start marketing more through advertising and other outreach.
GET A FACELIFT
We lack proper signage on Main and Rogers Streets, and a paint job wraparound to attract more walk-in business is also a must. The downstairs lobby needs a-sprucin’, and our restrooms need a good thrice-over.
PAY MONTHLY EXPENSES AND BOOST CAPITAL INVESTMENT
While we dream of purchasing our real estate someday, the reality is that we must continue to pay rent until such a time. While you’d think that a hidden loft like ours — even in a happenin’ neighborhood like ours — would go for a song, the song in question is the 18-minute version of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” which is like 6 songs all stacked upon one another.
We’d like to get out from under our stack and breathe freer so we can do all the other things we need to do to make The Cape Ann Cinema & Stage’s future a perpetual, self-sustaining one, come what may. Some of these other things include A/V redundancies (backup systems), party amenities and kitchen equipment, and a payoff of the lease on Sol, our projector (under 2 years left!).
The Cape Ann Cinema & Stage is an essential resource for this community we love so much, and you, our patrons, are essential to it. We lucky few are part of something truly special, and it must be carried forward… for the folks who just haven’t found it yet, for the people who haven’t found their home on Cape Ann yet, and for the people who have not been born yet.
As always, your donations are 100% tax-deductible (through The Gloucester Fund). Your gifts are appreciated, maximized from our years of subsisting on very little, and essential to our future. Please click on one of the big ol’ blue-and-yellow [DONATION] buttons on the left today (and enjoy a thank-you gift for your generosity).
All of our needs are vital and directly related to Cape Ann Cinema & Stage remaining your humble home away from home. Our goal is $75,000 by March 4: Oscar Sunday. We can do this with your help.
Happy holidays, and a joyous film-filled new year to you!
With love and sincere thanks,
The Cape Ann Cinema & Stage
CHECKS CAN BE MADE PAYABLE TO:
THE GLOUCESTER FUND
Re: The Cape Ann Cinema & Stage
45 Middle Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
(and mailed to either The Gloucester Fund or The Cinema)