August 21, 2018

To My Dearest Cinema Faithful,

As we prepare to mark nearly 11 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.

number3By 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.

number4In 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.

number5In 2015, your donations saved the Cinema from closing after 7 consecutive blizzard weekends wiped out a whole season of revenue.

number6Last 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 the end of 2018 draws closer, I look ahead again. We have done so much together – raising nearly $40,000 this year alone – 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:

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 Regent, 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.

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.

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, street-unfriendly loft like ours would go for a song, but our rent is very high, and the annual increases outpace inflation by over 2x. This has cost us over $20,000 already, and that deficit will balloon to nearly $70,000 in the next decade, so we need to get ahead of it (and write a more equitable lease).

wowieWe’d like to get out from under our oppressive 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 creating A/V redundancies (backup systems), acquiring party amenities and kitchen equipment, and paying off the lease on Sol, our projector (under 2 years left!).

Here’s what POWER FOR AN HOUR, PAY FOR A DAY is all about:

While a goal like ours appears daunting at first, it becomes a lot more attainable when you look at it as “Baby Steps” in reaching that seemingly large goal. We’re not going to get there by banking on the “big fish” donations of $500 and $1000 (which are nice to receive but are considered by us to be “found money”). The meat of any campaign, we have found, is in an accumulation of smaller donations of between $10 and $100.

Want to know what those kinds of donations cover? Here are some examples:

$10 ::: Powers Sol, our projector,
for an hour

$20 ::: Heats or cools the Cinema
for a day

$30 ::: Pays for electronic sign service for a month
$40 ::: Supplies and cleans the
restrooms for a week

$50 ::: Powers and maintains the
elevator for a week

$75 ::: Buys snacks or beverages
for a week

$100 ::: Funds the crew for a day

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. 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 keen thank-you gift for your generosity).

All of our needs are vital (and not a “wouldn’t-it-be-nice-if” kind of thing) and are directly related to Cape Ann Cinema & Stage remaining your humble home away from home. Our goal is $75,000 by October 11, the start of our 9th Annual DoctoberFest Documentary Film Festival. Again, we have raised nearly $40,000 this year alone. We can get the rest of the way there with your help… and live to enrich you another day!

Thank you for your continued support of this cuckoo-crazy thing that we do.

With love and sincere thanks,
Robert Newton
Creative Director
The Cape Ann Cinema & Stage


OurTown Cinemas
c/o The Cape Ann Cinema & Stage
21 Main Street – 2nd Floor
Gloucester, MA 01930


4 thoughts on “DONATE!”

    1. Hi Daphne,

      We consider the 10-pack of tickets (your entry into Cinema Membership) a “micro-investment” in the Cinema, so it is a donation of sorts, though the donation levels in the left-hand column of the website do more in the short-term.

      Thanks for your help!


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21 Main Street * Gloucester, MA 01930 * (978) 226-3800

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