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Published January 19, 2012, 10:20 PM

Grafton's Strand Theater Could Close As Digital Devours Film

GRAFTON, ND (WDAZ-TV) - Technology may soon soon wipe out a historic piece of Grafton. The Strand Twin Movie Theater runs on film, but the motion picture industry is going digital.

GRAFTON, ND (WDAZ-TV) - Technology may soon soon wipe out a historic piece of Grafton. The Strand Twin Movie Theater runs on film, but the motion picture industry is going digital.

The Strand has been a staple on Grafton's main street for more than a century. Now the theater needs an outpouring of community support to help keep its doors open.

"I think it would be a bad thing for the community, the town, and area and would just be... I just can't imagine, I just can't," Strand Twin Movie Theater Owner Tom Henriksen said.

It's hard for Tom Henriksen to imagine closing the doors of the Strand Twin Theater. His grandfather took over the theater in 1935.

"So I always thought I was going to be doing this," Henriksen said.

But new digital technology from the motion picture industry could change the family business. Buying digital equipment for two screens would cost Henriksen at least $140,000. He says the theater could never get a loan to cover the costs. It just doesn't see enough of a crowd.

"Sometimes you wish, well you always wish there was a lot more of them, and you just hope that the show is good for them because in the old days there always seemed to be one good show out there," Henriksen said.

Henriksen likes to think about the old days of the theater, and 35 mm film will soon be a piece of that history.

But he says he's staying positive and he hopes with the community's help, the doors of the historic building can stay open.

"People seem to grasp that it's important to the community, and your town looses a little bit when you don't have a movie theater I believe," Henriksen said.

There was a community meeting Wednesday night in Grafton. About 50 people attended. Henriksen said that's way more than he expected and it offered him some hope for the future.

Other small theaters in the area had either community fundraisers or received economic development grants to convert to digital. The group that met Wednesday night will look into those options.

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