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Crime Boss, Former Jewel Thief Team Up To Save S. Fla. Theaters

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An electrician examines the transformer of a completed Kalee 35mm cinema projector made by Kershaw and Sons. (Photo by Walter Nurnberg/SSPL/Getty Images)

An electrician examines the transformer of a completed Kalee 35mm cinema projector made by Kershaw and Sons. (Photo by Walter Nurnberg/SSPL/Getty Images)

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BOCA RATON (CBSMiami) – New technology will force small-town movie theaters, including some in South Florida, to shut down this year. However, a Hollywood “crime boss” is in South Florida on Friday to change that.

Actor Frank Vincent, who starred in the 1990 crime film GoodFellas, will attend the Celebrity Powerball Conference, a private event in Boca Raton benefitting SaveAmericasCinemas.org. The non-profit organization raises money for America’s 3,000 “Mom and Pop” theaters to purchase the digital equipment necessary to continue screening films.

While these small-town theaters have been fixtures in local communities for decades, they’ll be forced to close this year if they don’t buy the new digital equipment. Cinemas can no longer show movies with 35mm film because film studios are shipping their movies in a digital format.

At a cost of $100,000 per cinema screen, small-town cinema owners simply don’t have the resources to buy the screens, sound systems and servers.

That’s where a former Mafia jewel thief comes to the rescue.

Led by filmmaker Walter T. Shaw (Genius On Hold), Walter has gotten his GoodFellas buddies to join the cause.

“We are keenly aware of the historical, emotional and cultural damage that will be caused by the massive closings of these well established community icons that have brought joy and countless memories to generations of small town families across this great nation. We can save these theaters,” said Shaw.

At the event, a group of small town theater owners will be in attendance to share their story and will be eligible for a PowerBall-like drawing to see which theater will receive the first digital transfer from the charity.   

Learn more about the fight to save small-town cinemas at SaveAmericasCinemas.org.

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