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Two Alachua County Movie Theaters Use Kickstarter To Fund Digital Projectors

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Part of the renovations to the Priest Theatre in High Springs include replacing the original marquee sign above the building’s entrance. (Ethan Magoc/WUFT News)

Alan and Janet Alligood used Kickstarter in High Springs during April and May, raising more than $87,000 to fund renovations and a new projector at the Priest Theatre.

Now, the Hippodrome Theatre is launching its own Kickstarter campaign in Gainesville.

It began Monday and runs through Sept. 20. Both cinema theaters needed to transition from film to digital projector units.

The efforts are part of a nationwide movement. Digital allows for clearer sounds and easier transportation of movies. At the Hippodrome, the Digital Cinema Package is going to cost an estimated $40,000, and the theatre already has $25,000 in grant funds.

“If we don’t have it in the long run, we will have to go dark and will not be able to show films in the future,” said Alisha Kinman, Hippodrome cinema director.

Their Kickstarter campaign needs to raise the additional $15,000, and any extra proceeds will go to remodeling the interior of the theatre such as new chairs.

In High Springs, the Alligoods replaced old curtains, electrical wiring, and that was just the beginning. There were many needed upgrades that Janet Alligood’s parents, Janice and Bobby Sheffield, did not have the funds to address when they owned it.

See more of the ongoing changes at The Priest in the gallery below.

Morgan Falcon contributed reporting.

Janet Alligood sits in the lobby at the Priest Theatre on July 18 and takes a break from assisting with the building’s renovations. She and her husband, Alan, own the theatre. (Ethan Magoc/WUFT News)

The Priest Theatre was built in 1910 with an original purpose of hosting vaudeville acts. (Ethan Magoc/WUFT News)

Janet Alligood stands in front of a fire escape door that is boarded shut today. In its segregated era, the door served as a fire escape for African American patrons who were forced to sit in the theatre’s balcony. (Ethan Magoc/WUFT News)

While digging into the Priest’s walls, workers found an old hammer that had been buried there for several decades. (Ethan Magoc/WUFT News)

The Priest Theatre’s renovations also address structural and cosmetic issues throughout the backstage area. (Ethan Magoc/WUFT News)

The Priest Theatre’s backstage once served as vaudeville changing rooms. The room structure is still visible on the second level. (Ethan Magoc/WUFT News)

The building’s film projectors are from 1944, though they’ll soon be inactive and live in the building’s lobby. They’ll be replaced by a new digital unit. (Ethan Magoc/WUFT News)

Alan Alligood turns on the Priest Theatre’s film projection unit, which will soon be replaced by a digital version. (Ethan Magoc/WUFT News)

The lobby’s video games in the Priest Theatre will be sold, as Janet Alligood and her husband pursue a purely historic look and feel. (Ethan Magoc/WUFT News)

The building’s original seats remain at the Priest Theatre, though they have been reupholstered several times over the past century. (Ethan Magoc/WUFT News)

Co-owners Janet and Alan Alligood, after a day of working on the Priest Theatre’s renovations. (Ethan Magoc/WUFT News)

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

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