Ragtag invites public to help switch to digital movies

Fariha Rashid

Say hello to digital and goodbye to 35 mm film.
Ragtag Cinema received the message in January from film distributors that they were to, “Make the switch or get left behind.” If Ragtag does not make the switch by 2013, the theater will not be able to show most films because they will only be available in the digital cinema format.
 Ragtag Cinema, Columbia’s art house theater, is known for showing a variety of films.
Films such as independent, international, narrative and even local films all find a place in the nonprofit arts theater. 
In past years, commercial theaters presented films using 35 mm movie projectors, but since 2008, the film industry has been swiftly converting to digital projectors and pushing the old projectors out. For those who are unfamiliar with these terms, 35 mm film has been the most common and basic type of film used for motion pictures since 1909.
Although 35 mm films have played a huge role in film history, digital cinema will have better sound and sharper image while also providing improvement to classic films that have been digitally restored. Aziza Rashid, a frequent Ragtag customer, is happy with the switch to digital.
“I think it’s great because the films will have better clarity,” Rashid said, “but I’ll still miss that feel of watching a movie played with real film.”
The switch to digital is vital because it saves money. It’s much cheaper for distributors to put films on digital hard drives than make prints.
The Digital Cinema Package (DCP) is what the film industry is hoping to use as the new alternative for movie distribution to theaters recommended by Digital Cinema Initiatives, LLC (DCI). DCI was formed in March of 2002 through the partnership of Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal and Warner Bros. Studios.
However, it’s the theaters’ responsibility to purchase the digital projectors. Although Ragtag already has one digital projector, it still needs the server and sound system, on top of another digital projector for the other auditorium. Ragtag has called on its frequent movie goers and local supporters to help reach the $60,000 needed for their small auditorium and $100,000 for their larger one.
In July, they had raised $80, 000. 
At 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, Ragtag has invited the public to participate in an art auction of robots to raise money for their cause.
 Learn more about Digital Cinema Initiatives.
By Fariha Rashid

Do you love Ragtag? What are your favorite movies they have showing right now?