Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 28, 2014

Logo contest, new banner signify progress

By DIANE VANCE | Mar 25, 2013
Orpheum Theatre Fairfield, formerly Co-Ed Theater, is accepting designs for a new logo for the facility, which will appear on all the theater’s literature.

A temporary, new banner covers the former marquee, reminding the community Fairfield’s movie house is under renovations and plans to reopen later this year, restored to its art deco glory.

The original name Orpheum Theatre has been incorporated for the movie theater and a contest is on for a logo.

“Orpheum Theatre Fairfield invites anyone to submit an entry for a logo,” said Patricia Draznin, committee member. “We’re looking for an inspiring logo that will symbolize our new community movie theater that’s being redecorated in the 1930s art deco theme.”

The designer of the winning entry will receive two tickets for the price of one for two years, and their logo will appear on all Orpheum Theatre Fairfield literature and on the theater website and Facebook page.

All entries must be emailed by April 19 to orpheumtheatreff@gmail.com or submitted to Ken Malloy at 500 N. Third St., Suite 108, in Fairfield.

The former Co-Ed Theater closed abruptly in September when Big Time Cinema, the parent company, filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy claim in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Western District of Missouri.

Within a few months, about 20 volunteers began efforts to revive the movie house.

The Orpheum Report explains, “Like many small towns across Iowa and around the country, the Orpheum Theatre Fairfield is re-creating itself as a nonprofit community theater to offer a full range of film entertainment in an attractive venue with an optimal viewing experience.

“In cooperation with the nonprofit corporation, the Orpheum Theatre and Fairfield Film Institute, and a local realty company that owns the building, SJJ Development Corporation, are upgrading the infrastructure of the building that houses the theater and renovating the lobby.”

The Orpheum Report is a regular column providing updates on the progress of the new Orpheum Theatre Fairfield.

More details are available on the website www.orpheumtheatrefairfield.org, including a movie survey for community members to express opinions on movie tastes and requests.

The business plan, the theater’s history and a place to make a tax-deductible donation toward the upgrade of the new theater also are at the website.

Volunteers have been studying successful business protocols in similar small-town theaters, researching state-of-the-art digital equipment and comfortable new seating. Under the direction of Alan Balmer of Balmer Nelson Van Mersbergen, CPAs, Orpheum Theatre and Fairfield Film Institute is applying for federal nonprofit status.

An executive board of 12 members, whose experience in business and the arts is responsible for ensuring the success of the venture, guides the nonprofit corporation Orpheum Theatre and Fairfield Film Institute.

Committees have studied other small towns that reinvented closed theaters and talked with other city leadership groups who accomplished the renovations.

From the business plan on the Orpheum Theatre Fairfield website:

“Kristian Day of independent film distribution company Modern American Cinema, the producer of Capone’s Whiskey (the documentary on Templeton Rye) and the director of the Donna Reed Foundation in Denison, has been working with several small town theaters to help them raise funds and establish a format that works within their town.

“Kristian has evaluated the Fairfield theater and market and has stated that it is not only the most economically feasible theater he has worked with, but if properly renovated and formatted, will be a national model for small town and neighborhood theaters.”

According to the business plan, renovations include state of the art digital conversion of both theaters; all new seating with emphasis on comfort, sight lines, durability and cleaning; full renovation of both theaters and the lobby which is being restored to its original size; restrooms; and developing a full kitchen at the north end of the building.

Exterior upgrades also are planned, which include a second, formal entrance at the north end of the building.

The expanded lobby will have three concession counters, one for tickets, popcorn, soda and candy; a second for espresso, coffee, chai, tea, beer, wine and pastry; and a third, offering food and beverages yet to be determined. Café seating for about 50 people is planned.

The theater committee intends to have a variety of film genres showing, including children’s programming, student and young adult films with a student focus group helping the film review committee to make selections, mainstream films, independent, classic, documentaries, religious or spiritual films, foreign films as well as local and regional films.

Film festivals will be offered and the north theater is being equipped to function as a sports bar on specific days.

Along with the main screen, four or five additional large-screen TVs will provide a venue for college and NFL football and other sporting events on weekends.

The south theater will have a new 32-foot high definition screen while the smaller north theater screen will be resurfaced for HD and 3D images.

“The Orpheum Theatre has been Fairfield’s hometown movie theater since 1910,” concludes the business plan at the website. “In 1941, the theater enjoyed a fabulous renovation and a new name, the Co-Ed, to honor the Parsons College students who developed the remodel plans.

“A second screen was added in 1984. The movie theater enjoyed 100 years of continuous operation, serving as one of the town’s main social and cultural centers.

“The time is right. Now we can create a state of the art movie theater that shows the best quality content of films to satisfy our diverse community demographic.”

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