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Possible Future for Tipton Hardacre Theater

TIPTON, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--Just one hour from now the 16th annual Hardacre Film Festival, but this year could be the last.

The future of the festival rests on the fate of the focal point of the event a local movie theatre.

The name says it all: "Hardacre", the name of a theatre and a film festival.

"Over the year we've had good support and people like to have a small town theater, said owner Stuart Clark.

"My husband reminded me that he had his first date there when he was seven and that was about 1946, said Daisy Wingert, who owns a shop near the theatre.

It opened as an opera house in 1916 then converted to a movie house in 1919, and it's been the center piece of Tipton ever since.

It's not just the history. Another thing that makes the theater so nice is the admission price. Its five dollars every ticket.

Back in 1997 the Hardacre gave its name to an independent film festival, but now, a steady decline in attendance has put both theatre and festival in dire straits when it comes to upgrading aging projectors.

"By 2014 it will be impossible to get 35mm film and if we can't get it, it will be extremely expensive so we need to upgrade it or die, said film festival director, Will Valet.

Now the only hope is to turn it over to a non-profit group.

"It's a little scary but at the same time we're very optimistic that we can raise the money to purchase the theater but to renovate it and bring it into the future, Valet said.

For neighbors like Daisy losing the theatre is to lose part of Tipton.

We just absolutely cant lose it. We can not have it close. Its vital to our downtown, she said.

Silent projectors, empty seats. and nothing more than memories.

"Some of my staff members who met here ended up getting married. so lots of neat little stories, Clark said.

This year's film festival highlights 11 independent films and runs through Saturday in Tipton.

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