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'At the Movies' on hold until more audition to volunteer
More movies could be coming to Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave., if enough volunteers step up.
At the Movies, a joint venture between OTA and the City of Sequim, brought 12 films to the theater in the past year and the city agreed Monday, Aug. 27, to pay for another 12 films on an additional one-year trial.
Attendance for the movies ranged from 12 people (“Babe”) to 114 for “The Help,” which was so popular after The Academy Awards that organizers had to turn people away at the door.
Halfway through the showings, organizers changed tactics from showing older films like “Grease” (29 people) and “North by Northwest” (37) to newer films like “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (93) and “Hugo” (83).
Sharon Delabarre, OTA board chairman, said they were happy with the production but they need more volunteers for projection, concessions and managing the venue to keep the venture going.
“It's something we're happy to provide to the community and we're hoping it will be able to continue,” she said. “It's for the community and one of the reasons we have a theater is so that things other than just OTA plays can happen in this venue.”
Movies are shown in the gathering hall for $5 per person. The theater donates its space and janitorial services and the city pays for licensing the film and for shipping charges from Swank Productions.
City officials estimated its 12 showings lost just over $580.
Mayor Ken Hays said he saw the event as a success even though it took a small economic loss.
“Things like this take time to take off,” he said.
The city's contract with the movie agency restricts the agencies from paying for advertising of the showings in order to receive the lowest rental rates, but they can display a showing on OTA's reader boards and in city and OTA informational packets and websites.
“In no way, shape or form can we compete with commercial movie houses,” Delabarre said.
Councilors Don Hall and Erik Erichsen opposed renewing the movies contract because of its loss of revenues and lack of volunteer support. The rest of the council agreed to give the event one more year.
Organizers are discussing a daytime showing of each rental along with a night showing.
“Senior apartment facilities would love to fill up a bus and take their residents there,” Councilor Laura Dubois said. “It's not the same social experience as putting in a DVD at home.”
Volunteers receive a free pass to the film they work in. To volunteer with OTA, call Loren at 683-7326 or visit www.olympictheatrearts.com; and to volunteer with the City of Sequim as a ticket taker, call Linda Cherry, volunteer coordinator, at 683-4139, or visit www.sequimwa.gov.