“Field of Dreams” taught us, “If you build it they will come.” Noblesville businessman Jim Wafford has built a 30 seat intimate theater in a vacant building that connects to his other businesses, Logan Street Signs & Banners and Noblesville Trophies, at 1744 S. 10th St.“I always had a dream to have a little theater where people can come and enjoy themselves, ” Wafford said. “At the park, people would tell me they wish there was a place they could go and see old movies all the time.”
Wafford said the purpose of the theater was to raise funds for the Free Classic Movies in the Park series he puts on for the community.
This will be the third summer Wafford is presenting the classic movie series, which began during a conversation with Noblesville Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Brandon Bennett. During the discussion, Bennett told Wafford that the parks department budget had been cut and they would be showing fewer movies the next year.
“I saw a need for free family entertainment, and no one else is doing it, ” said Wafford, who also shows films at the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds during the winter. “I love classic movies. I’m kind of romantic. I just like the older dress. I wouldn’t mind living back there. There’s a lot of class.”
Before screening a film, Wafford must contact his representative to get licensing rights. Movies cost Wafford $200 to $400 each screening. To air “Casablanca” to 113 people in 2011, it cost Wafford $405.
“The more awards it won, the more expensive the movie is, ” he explained. “Most people don’t realize you have to pay for movies.”
To pay for the licensing agreement, Wafford rearranged his advertising budget and has sought help from businesses to sponsor the film series. To lessen the amount coming out of his pocket, Wafford is using his theater to raise funds to support his free movie programs. Another way Wafford is trying to raise money is with a DVD recycling program. He is accepting donations of movies that he is reselling for $5 to $10.
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