Fight to save Hollywood Theatre 0
Hollywood Theatre in Vancouver. (PHOTO SILMARA ALBI)
A British Columbia couple is travelling the province trying to document the dying vestiges of the 35mm cinema industry. Their journey comes as a Vancouver group tries to fight the transformation of one of the city’s iconic theatres into a fitness centre.
A development application for the Hollywood Theatre is currently before the City of Vancouver for a fitness centre to replace the aging West Broadway structure that for more than seven decades housed a single-screen theatre.
Silmara Albi, a fine-arts photographer traveling B.C. with her husband Curtis Emde, knows the Hollywood’s potential closure is just the latest step in the loss of the projector-powered cinemas that used to be in every community.
It was only two years ago she realized how important her work was, launching website projectionproject.com. Film distributors, she said, were no longer making analog movies alongside digital, causing a widespread shutdown of older theatres.
“I’ve been to Hope, to Cloverdale, to Vernon, I even went to one in Jasper, Alberta,” she said Thursday.
“It’s very interesting to get to know the characterizations of every theatre. They have a personality these places — the big chains don’t have it.”
Vancouver Coun. Adriane Carr plans to file a motion in council next week to halt the development application process until the theatre’s heritage can be assessed.
She said a petition put forward by Vancouverite Michele Smolkin on change.org for a moratorium on the application had reached more than 1,000 supporters by Thursday.
Sarah Kift, Church at the Hollywood spokeswoman, said her congregation has been renting the space since the previous owner sold the property after 75 years of films.
The church is organizing what could be the last film reels played at the theatre Nov. 20-22 — with entry by donation — to play videos compiled by Albi, documenting the theatre’s story.
Petition link: change.org