Reel East Texas Film Festival's Christmas wish will be granted: donors are funding an upgrade to the doors of the historic Texan Theater.
Saturday's Classic Christmas Movie Marathon saw audience members donate $1,183 during the free admission event in the South Kilgore Street venue.
“We put this together in about two weeks,” RETFF Director Chip Hale said, planning the movie marathon on the heels of the first film festival in mid-November. “There really wasn't time to have expectations of what we were trying to raise as far as sponsor dollars.”
Grateful for the donations and eager to put them to use repairing the theater's doors, Hale's enjoying what they represent: more people contributing to the energy at the old theater, 'crowdsourcing' its revival.
“We explained to people the entire day what we were there for,” he said, screening public domain Christmas cartoons and films along with a licensed run of “White Christmas” in order to generate support for the revitalization of the building. “Main Street provided the screen, AMBUCS of East Texas funded the chairs, now we have donations for the doors. Now we're able to follow-through on what we told them we were going to do.
As of Tuesday afternoon, “We are already meeting with a contractor to look at the doors on the Texan. That's what's happening right now.”
If developing plans take root, he added, visitors to the next free movie in the theater, tentatively set for Valentine's Day, will be able to see visible progress.
“It creates this kind of synergy. We owe a lot to the Texan itself – the building has its own energy. I think people are just absolutely delighted to see a movie in there.”
– By JAMES DRAPER