The annual Hardacre Film Festival gets underway in Tipton today, and when it’s over the home of the festival for the past 16 years is shutting down for a makeover. The historic Hardacre Theater has been in continuous operation since 1914 and it’s showing its age.
Festival director Will Valet says it’s time to upgrade the equipment to the 21st century. “It’s one of the few theaters around the country that still projects 35-millimeter film. The theater industry has switched very rapidly to digital projection, and smaller, privately owned theaters like the Hardacre have been forced to either evolve or die, and that’s kind of where we are now,” Valet explains.
Valet says he hopes the theater will be closed for a short time only. He serves on the board of a group trying to raise money to buy the building and restore it. “It costs about $80,000 to get the digital projection and sound, and so that’s a hurdle we’ll have to jump. But a lot of theaters have been able to do it, and we’re confident we can do that as well,” Valet says.
Whether it can happen before next year’s Hardacre Film Festival, however, is in question. Valet says he’s exploring options for an alternate location for the event that draws entries from around the world. Or they could put it on hiatus for a year or two.