BY TOM DALTON
---- — SALEM — For Paul Van Ness, the 12 days of Christmas may take on a different meaning after it took him that many days to raise $60,000 to save his downtown movie theater.
“I would describe it as a miracle,” Van Ness said after more than $60,000 was pledged on the Kickstarter website in response to his request for donations to convert CinemaSalem to digital movie projection.
He made the appeal Dec. 4 and crossed the threshold Saturday. As of mid-day yesterday, 925 individuals had contributed more than $61,500.
“It was truly amazing to watch,” said Van Ness, who took over the downtown cinema six years ago.
Although Van Ness earned a reputation for donating funds to local organizations and hosting free events, he attributed the overwhelming response to other factors.
“I do think, in part, it was the way we try to do business, but it’s also how important being able to go to a movie in a downtown location is to people.”
He called the response “humbling” and “heart-warming.”
Any funds raised beyond the goal will go to other upgrades at CinemaSalem, he said.
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.