SHELBURNE FALLS — Pothole Pictures fans are already enjoying Memorial Hall’s new popcorn machine, but soon moviegoers and Metropolitan Opera telecast viewers will have something else to cheer about: A state-of-the art movie screen.
Two anonymous donors made large contributions this spring, so that Memorial Hall Association and the community-run movie house, Pothole Pictures, had enough money to buy a new 25-foot-wide, high-definition screen.
“The picture will be much, much clearer,” said Jessica Murrow of the Memorial Hall Association board of directors. The screen is in the building, but will probably not be assembled by volunteer workers until later this summer.
Movie projectionist/technician Jim Neeley said the new screen cost between $3,500 and $4,000 and weighs about 675 pounds. He said the 18-foot tall, 24-foot wide screen is larger than the old screen, so that the movies can be projected a little larger than they’ve been.
“We’ll be able to project a bigger image,” he said. “There’s a more reflective, whiter surface, which will increase the brightness. We’re hoping to get it up in a few weeks.”
Andrew Baker started Pothole Pictures in 1995; the old screen has been used for both Pothole Pictures and for live high-definition broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera. But over the years, tears in the screen have been patched from behind with duct tape and awning tape.
“It was a simple, but durable thing,” Baker said. “Then we had that rip in it, and people felt unhappy with this slight mar. It really gave us the feeling that the end was near. This is quite a significant upgrade.”