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Rockford Theatre
Rockford Theatre

Film Buffs Rally To Save Century Old Rockford Theatre

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Members of the North Dakota Film Society (NDFS) have organized a fundraising drive to help save the century-old Rockford Theatre in New Rockford, ND. On December 19, the theatre announced it would be closed indefinitely due to the roof collapsing.

A Facebook post by the theatre announced, “It is with great sadness we must inform you that the roof has collapsed on our beloved movie theatre.” A photo that accompanied the post showed the theatre’s ‘Rockford’ sign laying back across the roof.

Facebook post by the Rockford Theatre announcing closure due to roof collapse.

In the weeks following, NDFS created a GoFundMe fundraiser to assist the theatre with the cost of repairs and for programming once the theatre reopens. NDFS, a group of filmmakers, educators, journalists, and cinema owners is asking “North Dakota’s cinema lovers to help preserve this precious piece of cinema history and get images on the silver screen as soon as possible.”

According to Cinema Treasures, the Rockford Theatre first opened as the Blackstone Theatre in 1920, with seating for up to 272. In 2012, the theatre converted to digital video projection and now lists seating at 192.

After former owner Richard Johnson died, the community took ownership of the theatre and has continued showing first-run movies and classic films. New Rockford is 160 miles northwest of Fargo-Moorhead and had a population of 1,356 in 2021.

How to help

The North Dakota Film Society is asking for donations to a GoFundMe campaign. As of January 3, 2023, over $12,000 has been raised with a goal of $20,000.