This Friday marks the opening of a new movie theater in Oregon. A romantic soul, committed to bringing cinema to a tiny ocean-side community, made the move from an independent theater in Bellingham, Washington, to start another one in Florence, a town about halfway down the Oregon coast. The City Lights Cinema, a four-screen theater, is a veritable multiplex in this area, and is at least 50 miles from its nearest competitors to the north, south and east. Catering to a small but dedicated local community as well as a regular tourist population, City Lights Cinema will bring both mainstream and independent movies to the area and, in turn, will invigorate cultural appreciation in the region.
Meanwhile, 650 miles to the northeast in BC’s picturesque Okanagan Valley, another group is bringing its energy to the film community, this time contributing to film production offerings. The Film Factory is converting an old warehouse in Kelowna, BC, to a multi-use space with a sound stage, an 18-seat theater, editing suites, filmmaker offices and an audio booth, among other facilities.
A larger scale expansion comes with Laika Animation, producer of Box Trolls, Paranorman and Coraline. The animation studio, recently having spun off its commercial division, is looking for more studio space to accommodate a more intensive film production schedule.
These developments signal excitement and interest in the growth of Pacific Northwest media enterprises. They also show home-grown commitment to basing media organizations here and the recognition of communities that need and want this commitment.