Photo by Whitehorse Star
Photo by Whitehorse Star
The momentum is rolling on the Yukon Film Society’s efforts to resurrect the Yukon Theatre.
The territorial government said today it’s providing the society with $35,000 to assist with operations and renovations of the Wood Street theatre.
That will include a structural inspection, investigating any health and safety upgrades required, consulting an accessibility contractor, and conducting an energy audit.
The society will contribute money from its operating capital as well as from the revenue generated in operating the theatre.
It plans to hold several two-week runs of new release films, as well as the Available Light Film Festival during the first five months of operations.
It has leased the building from the Richmond, B.C.-based numbered company which bought it – and Qwanlin theatres complex on Fourth Avenue – from Landmark Cinemas earlier this year.
Landmark closed both buildings after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020.
For years, long before the pandemic, the company had a large sign up near the Chilkoot Centre promoting a planned new complex there, but never followed through on its plans.
The society will continue to work on planning and strategic partnerships to support operating the community arts building in the long term.
“The Yukon Theatre has been a fixture of the downtown landscape for many years and a symbol of Yukoners’ love of film,” said Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai.
“The Yukon Film Society’s plan to reopen the theatre for festival screenings and first-run films is exciting, and I applaud their efforts to make this a reality.
“Our government is pleased to contribute to a new vision for the Yukon Theatre, and I look forward to seeing the possibilities the future brings.”
Andrew Connors, the society’s artistic director, said his organization “is uniquely positioned to bring cinema back to Whitehorse for the enjoyment and benefit of all Yukoners.
“We have decades of experience managing cinema, media art exhibitions, performing arts events, supporting filmmakers in the production of their work, and with the annual multi-faceted Available Light Film Festival.
“This project is the natural evolution for the society, and the potential for hosting many of our activities in an historic downtown community venue that operates year-round is an exciting prospect for our team, and a dream-come-true for the thousands of members and supporters of the Society,” he added.
Connors told the Star Monday he’s working with the theatre’s new owners to give it a new lease on life.
The society is planning on running new releases, such as Dune and Spencer, with more conventional fare for its fans, such as documentaries.
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