Finger Lakes Drive-in needs $100,000 for a digital movie projector

Since 1947, movies played at the Finger Lakes Drive-in near Auburn have played off of 35 millimeter prints. Those prints are threaded through the projector and back onto giant reels at 24 frames per second, but times are quickly changing.

Almost every other movie theater has gone digital, and 35 millimeter prints of new movies are an endangered species.

"Not a lot of places like Disney or Sony make them anymore. Everyone is going digital with everything, it is new technology," said Louisa Schmicking from the Drive-in.

To keep showing movies, the Finger Lakes Drive-in needs a digital projector costing $100,000. The movies will arrive on hard drives instead of film prints.

So far, the drive-in has raised $11,000, and on Thursday night there will be a fundraiser.

The drive-in will show some of its collection of old movie trailers, and people can donate money for a new digital system to keep it open.

"I think it brings back a lot of memories, said Schmicking. "And you can hear the nighttime sounds like the crickets and look up in the sky and see the stars."

The drive-in can still get 35 millimeter prints of some new blockbuster films, but the art of threading and splicing film will soon go away.

"I'm so used to just putting a DVD in the DVD player and pressing the play button. Here you have to attach things and make sure the film doesn't get tangled up,â?? Schmicking says.

If you want to help the drive-in get the new projector, they are taking donations here. All donations will go towards the new projector.