Jewel Theatre manager Peter Didrichsen (centre) holds old 35-millimetre film reels with Russell Bagshaw (left)

Stettler turns its reels as theatre goes 3D

Big-name 3-D movies will come to Stettler soon as Jewel Theatre has moved to the big stage with a digital projector to replace

Big-name 3-D movies will come to Stettler soon as Jewel Theatre has moved to the big stage with a digital projector to replace the nostalgic 35-millimetre film on reels.

“This will give us the ability to show 3D movies,” said owner Peter Didrichsen, manager of the theatre for the past 12 years with Landmark Cinemas.

That first 3-D movie will be Oz the Great and Powerful on March 22.

“Picture quality and sound quality will also be enhanced and we’ll get movies quicker on release,” Didrichsen said.

In the coming weeks, the theatre will also get a new screen to replace the current screen, which is to be donated to the William E. Hay Composite High School drama department.

Since the 328-seat theatre opened in 1952, the old 35-mm has become antiquated within the industry.

“Ours goes back to the 1970s, and some parts may be even before that,” Didrichsen said.

“For 20th Century Fox, Epic is the last movie they will make on 35-mm reels, and other film companies are all getting out of film.”

The new projectors are said to be simple to operate.

“It doesn’t take a lot of time to set up on the old projector, but it will take less time,” Didrichsen said.

Business at the Stettler movie theatre continues to thrive, he said.

“People still go to the movies. I have a feeling that this is the smallest town in Canada by population with a daily theatre.”

Jewel Theatre has also played a role in helping one local resident go on to fame with a modelling career.

Tricia Helfer of Donalda was discovered by a modelling scout in 1991 while waiting in line at Jewel Theatre — a story she shared in an interview with Craig Ferguson about two years ago.

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