The Hippodrome State Theatre will be introducing its new digital projector to the public this weekend with a special screening of a classic film.
The event, called Cocktails and Casablanca, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday with an encore showing Sunday at 2 p.m.
Alisha Kinman, cinema director and director of development, said the event will kick off the theatre’s new era of digital screening, made possible by the campaign The Hipp Goes Digital, which took place in July and raised money to buy a digital projector.
The theatre was given a $25,000 Cultural Facilities Grant from the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs but needed to raise the additional money via the campaign to completely convert to digital equipment, Kinman said.
More films are being produced only in Digital Cinema Package, or DCP format, which is phasing out the 35mm format the Hipp used before the upgrade, Kinman said.
The switch to the digital projector was necessary, she said.
Although the theater is moving forward with technology, the Hippodrome staff decided the first film they would show on their new digital projector would be a classic: “Casablanca.”
“Even though we are moving forward with digital cinema, we respect the very foundational work of classic cinema,” Kinman said.
Tickets for the show sold out within five days, so the theater added a second showing on Sunday, Kinman said.
Tickets for the second showing are still available for $10 and come with a complimentary bag of popcorn.
Cecilia Padilla, a 20-year-old UF theatre and English junior, said she is a frequent Hippodrome patron. She sees at least two shows a semester.
She missed out on the chance to purchase a ticket for the Saturday showing and was relieved to hear that a Sunday showing had been added.
“‘Casablanca’ is such a significant film and is one of my favorites,” Padilla said. “I absolutely love the Hippodrome, and I can’t wait to see the showing.”
[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 1/24/2014 under the headline "Hippodrome theater to debut new projector with ‘Casablanca’"]