Hunter gets nod to try to save 'Classic Film Series'


BELLOWS FALLS -- It's "lights, camera, action" for a the Bellows Falls Opera House Theater Committee member tasked with setting up an online fundraising campaign to try to save the Classic Film Series.

The Rockingham Selectboard gave Charlie Hunter the nod to develop the account to raise the $3,000 to $5,000 needed to spare the program that has been held at the opera house the past couple of years. The Classic Film Series consists of a vintage movie shown at the opera house at 7 p.m. every Wednesday for $5 per ticket. Each month typically carries a theme and area businesses and organizations often choose to sponsor a certain film.

Municipal Manager Willis D. "Chip" Stearns II announced at Monday's meeting of the Bellows Falls Village Board of Trustees that the film series is slated to end at the end of the month due a lack of finances. He said the series is losing money because it costs $250 simply to show certain classic films -- and that pricetag does not include the cost of required electricity -- and the current average attendance hovers between 25 and 40 people every Wednesday.

Shortly after leaving Tuesday's meeting, Hunter announced on Facebook that Stearns would be happy to keep the series going if it can be properly funded. Hunter, who is also a local artist and a Bellows Falls village trustee, told the Reformer the fundraising campaign will likely be in the form of Kickstarter or Indiegogo, two online fundraising platforms. He said on Wednesday it seems Indiegogo may be the best fit.

Selectboard member Josh Hearne owns Donovan's, an Irish pub and restaurant on Rockingham Street, and said he sponsored the showing on "The Boondock Saints" in March. He told Stearns his business would sponsor another film in the future if the series is preserved. Hearne told the Reformer the $250 sponsors a film, earns 10 free tickets and gets a business or organization advertised, which he said is a great deal.

June's theme is "Music & Laughter" and the 1944 film "Meet Me in St. Louis" with Judy Garland and Margaret O'Brien will be shown on June 4. The following weeks will consist of the showing of "A Star is Born," "High Society," and "Kiss Me, Kate."

The opera house is on the first floor of Rockingham Town Hall. According to the opera house's website, the town hall was constructed in 1926 in the classical revival style. It states the town hall went through a $3.7 million renovation from 2004 to 2006 to restore the opera house to accommodate both movie showings and live performances.

Domenic Poli can be reached at, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.


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