The Plaza Theatre will not be getting a facelift from the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) and American Express, as plans for the Kensington theatre’s renovation have fallen through. Instead, the Plaza will get a new HD projector that will put the theatre at the technological forefront of Calgary’s film scene.
During last year’s festival, CIFF and American Express — the festival’s main sponsor — announced the credit card company would donate 10 per cent of every purchase at certain Calgary businesses toward the Plaza’s restoration. However, CIFF executive director Jacqueline Dupuis says no renovations will happen because the festival and the theatre’s owner had different goals. “I think that the film festival’s objective was to ensure the longevity of the Plaza Theatre as a theatre, and the owner of the Plaza is looking to improve the land value of the Plaza,” says Dupuis. “So those are two very different goals.” (The owners of the Plaza were unavailable for comment.)
American Express reached its goal of raising $100,000 last year through its program. “As promised, we will be undertaking the restoration by restoring the Plaza Theatre’s projection equipment,” said American Express spokesperson Jolene Price in an e-mail, adding the money will buy a new HD projector.
Dupuis says that while “it’s unfortunate” the Plaza renovations won’t happen, the new projector is good news for everyone. “They’ll have the only HD projector and deck in town,” says Dupuis. “So it will be wonderful for the film festival and wonderful for all other film organizations to have the opportunity to use that technology.”
This year, American Express is doing a similar fundraising program. The money raised — to a maximum of $50,000 — will go to SAIT’s film studies program.