Cinematheque unveils new sound system and seating upgrades

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      Yes, cinephiles, it's a day to rejoice.

      If you've ever marathon-sat through screenings of Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle or retrospectives of Hou Hsiao-Hsien at the Cinematheque, you'll be happy to know that the beloved local theatre has undergone several upgrades that will make your cinematic experience far more comfortable and up-to-date.

      Cinematheque managing director Kate Ladyshewsky, who oversaw the renovations, informed the Georgia Straight that their outdated sound system and worn-out seats (over 20 years old) have been replaced.

      New seats were last installed in 2008, which were donated by former Fifth Avenue Cinemas owner Leonard Schein.

      Ladyshewsky said that the new high-backed seats feature faux leather, padded arm rests, reclining options, and more leg room.

      In order to accommodate the new, wider seats, Ladyshewsky said that the seating capacity has been reduced from 194 seats to 155. The number of wheelchair-accessible spots has increased from two to four, bringing the full seating capacity to 159.

      The theatre has also upgraded from a 1980s sound system (Dolby Stereo Sound 4.0) to Dolby Stereo Sound 7.1, which operates on eight channels and includes a sub-woofer, putting it on par with other contemporary movie theatres.

      Ladyshewsky stated that the total cost was more than $120,000, with funding from the City of Vancouver, the Cultural Infrastructure Grant Program, the Canadian Heritage Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, and the BC Arts Council Capacity and Sustainability Program.

      She added that the old seats were donated to local schools, community groups, arts organizations, and individuals.

      A seat-naming fundraising campaign will be launched in the near future to support further upgrades to the space.

      For those who want to experience the changes in person, the first screening in the renovated space will be Luchino Visconti's 1960 feature Rocco and His Brothers tonight (April 8 at 7 p.m., 1131 Howe Street), complete with champagne and sparkling wine on hand to celebrate.

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