MANISTIQUE — The Upper Peninsula Film Union recently welcomed a much needed donation to its Highway 2 Community Drive-In Theater in Manistique.
SEMCO Energy Gas Company donated a utility instrument building that was being retired after being replaced with updated equipment.
It replaces a tent that was located in the middle of the front row of the Upper Peninsula’s only surviving drive-in theater. Since the U.P. Film Union reopened the theater back in 2016 it has had to keep the projector safe from the elements under this tent.
While this tent did keep the rain at bay, there was always great risk that something could physically happen to the projector in this relatively unsecure home. With the many people and vehicles moving about, the projector essentially needed to be guarded.
Eric Sherbinow of the U.P. Film Union stated that “… the ideal situation would be having a projector in the original projection booth located in the concession building, but such a projector has a price tag of over $100,000.
“We are a donation-financed nonprofit and it is doubtful we will ever have that kind of money. SEMCO’s donation will allow us to place our projectors in a truly secure environment. We had planned to build such a structure this season and the timing of this donation couldn’t be better.”
The new projection booth will also allow the projector to be placed higher above the ground and therefore above the heads of people and cars that happen to pass in front of it, eliminating shadows being cast on the screen.
Each season the Highway 2 Community Drive-In Theater hosts movie events that are free thanks to generous sponsors who pay for the film licensing
The U.P. Film Union lets other nonprofit groups operate the concession stand at these events.
“To date, the Film Union has helped other groups raise nearly $20,000 for their respective causes,” said Don Erickson of the U.P. Film Union.