Pensacola, Florida
Saturday March 23rd 2019


Digital Or Die

Film Festival Spring Screen Series Asks You to Convert or Die
By Hana Frenette

They just don’t make ‘em like they used to. And sometimes they just don’t make them at all. Such is the case for major motion pictures being made on 35mm film reels. It’s something that’s happening less and less, and at the close of 2013, will hardly happen at all.

“By the end of the year, all theaters with have to convert to all digital projectors or close,” Jim Norton, owner of the Movies 4 Cinema in Gulf Breeze said. “There are thousands of small theaters that will probably have to close.”

The price of releasing movies on 35mm film has finally become too much for all of the major studios in America. It costs as much as $1500 for one copy of a film to be made onto a 35mm reel and then it must be shipped in its large metal container. It costs roughly $150 for a movie to be made as a digital copy instead.

“If we weren’t here, independent films would not be available to Pensacola,” Norton said. “I think there’s a good chance we’ll stay open.”

Movies 4 will be hosting the Pensacola Film Festival Spring Screen Series. Twelve movies will be played throughout the weekend, including classics, foreign films and new releases.

“We run these festivals almost every year, but this time, the biggest thing we’re trying to do is raise awareness to the fact that we need to raise money to buy a digital projector,” Norton said.

Just one digital projector costs $75,000. Norton will be accepting donations during the festival, and will be starting a Kickstarter fund in a few months with the hopes of reaching the hefty goal of a projector. Or two.

“We can raise the money in Gulf Breeze, people just have to be aware,” Norton said. “It’s time to convert or die.”

The Crescent Theater in Mobile, Ala. was feeling the same pressure to convert quickly to digital and created a Kickstarter account with a goal of $75,598. The neighboring theater surpassed its goal and raised over $85,000 allowing it to purchase a new projector.

“The Crescent has their projector now and I’m hoping we’ll be able to accomplish the same,” Norton said.

Norton also plans to keep at least one 35mm projector, even if it’s just for showing old movies at future festivals.

The upcoming festival will offer $5 tickets for each film, or $25 for a weekend pass to all 12 films. Complimentary wine will also be offered.

Movies 4 is well on its way to raising awareness to its cause for conversion.

“We’ve done this festival for many years, and we’re going to do it again, for now,” Norton said. “It’s kind of a party.”

For now, they’re just going to play the movies like they always do.

WHERE: Movies 4 at Gulf Breeze
WHEN: Friday – Sunday, April 26-28; movies playing daily at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.


“Buck,” Daily at 1 p.m. Documentary, English, PG, 88 min. The story of Buck Brannaman, the real “Horse Whisperer.” Winner of eight awards.

“Searching for Sugar Man,” Daily at 4 p.m. Documentary, English, PG-13, 86 min. True story of musician Sixto Rodriguez. Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature.

“The Imposter,” Daily at 7 p.m. Documentary, English, R, 99 min. A Frenchman claims to be the missing son of a Texas family after three years. Winner of 10 awards.

“Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Daily at 1 p.m. Drama, English, PG-13, 93 min. The story of a 6-year-old girl living in Louisiana’s Bayou. Starring the Academy Awards’ youngest Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis.

“Rust and Bone,” Daily at 4 p.m. French with English subtitles, Drama/Romance, R, 120 min. Alain’s bond with Stephanie grows after an accident. Starring Marion Cotillard.

“Girl with a Dragon Tattoo,” Daily at 7 p.m. Danish with English subtitles, R, Crime/Mystery, 152 min. Original movie based on the bestselling novel.

“Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” Daily at 1 p.m. English, Comedy, PG-13, 124 min. British retirees travel to India to live. Starring Maggie Smith and Judi Dench.

“A Late Quartet,” Daily at 4 p.m. English, Drama/Musical, R, 105 min. A famous quartet struggles to stay together. Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken.

“Gulf Breeze: Small Town, Big Hearts,” Daily at 7 p.m. Documentary, Short Film, NR, 20 min. Shot on location in Gulf Breeze. Directed by Clay Bloodworth. Short question and answer to follow film.

“Moonrise Kingdom,” Daily at 1 p.m. English, Comedy, PG-13, 94 min. Two children grow up in a small East Coast town. Starring Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and Frances McDormand.

“Your Sister’s Sister,” Daily at 4 p.m. English, Comedy, R, 90 min. Three friends spend a weekend together. Starring Emily Blunt.

“Holy Motors,” Daily at 7 p.m. French with English subtitles, Fantasy, NR, 115 min. A few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar. Starring Eva Mendes.