Giving Back: Christie initiatives bring magic of movies to communities across the country
Much like the term “all natural” in the food industry, the term “corporate responsibility” is sometimes misapplied or misused in the corporate world. Many companies say they practice it, but not all can support their claims.
For Christie, a global visual technology company, corporate responsibility is an integral part of the company’s culture. It begins at the highest level of the organization, with its president and CEO, Jack Kline. Kline is a board member and passionate supporter of Los Angeles’ Lollipop Theater Network, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring first-run movies to children confined to hospitals nationwide due to chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Often, it is one of the children’s most-desired wishes to be able to see a specific movie, so Lollipop works with the Hollywood studios to make it happen. The organization has screened over 150 films to date and is currently able to offer its program in over 17 states nationwide.
Working with Lollipop, Kline has led Christie through many community giveback projects that include the donation last year of a state-of-the-art Christie digital projector, screen and audio solution to Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). The donation provided CHOC with its very own, special movie theatre in which to view movies.
“The goals of the Lollipop Theater Network are near and dear to my heart, and we’re regularly reviewing worthy causes to contribute to,” says Kline. “Movies offer a great medium for telling stories, for sharing education, culture and history, and of course for entertaining. It’s a perfect fit with our product lines and services. I feel great satisfaction knowing that everyone at Christie is behind our giveback efforts 100 percent and eagerly participates in them, including volunteering their time in community programs.”
CHOC was just one of the many instances in which Christie donated tens of thousands of dollars in equipment and services to a worthy nonprofit. For example, it also donated a top-of-the-line Christie Solaria® Series projector and related theatre equipment to Gianopulos Family Theater at Wilson-Hanks Family Cultural Center, Saint Sophia Cathedral. Christie’s Managed Services team worked with audiovisual innovator BLACKSTAR Engineering to install the equipment in the Gym complex, transforming the basketball court by day into a fully professional movie theatre by night.
More recently, Christie donated a digital-cinema projector to Variety-The Children’s Charity of Texas. It was installed at the organization’sPeaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children, a 120-acre multipurpose site that serves more than 4,000 children with chronic illnesses and special needs each year. Randy Hester, Variety’s president and CEO, notes that constructing a professional, cinema-quality theatre offers children at the camp an extraordinary opportunity to see the best of Hollywood in a safe and supportive environment.
“People take for granted the fact that they can just get into a car to go see a movie, but for these children it could be an enormous challenge,” says Hester. “We are very grateful to Christie for their generosity.”
Cool for School
Supporting education and the arts is another strong Christie initiative. Last year, the company helped the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts (USC SCA) launch an Immersive Cinematic Experience through the donation of a Christie Solaria 4K cinema projector, audio equipment and installation services within the school’s Eileen Norris Theatre. The theatre is home to some of SCA’s largest classes and is often used for movie premieres and screenings of major Hollywood and international films.
“We had a vision to partner with the prestigious cinema school and cultivate a relationship through generous giving,” recalls Kline. “We felt that our own innovative culture would perfectly complement the already vast knowledge and experience of the school’s educators. It’s a great thrill for us today to see that our cinematic tools, combined with their expertise, are helping to inspire future filmmakers to recreate humanity’s stories in the most lifelike and engaging ways possible.”
The theatre is also the “classroom” for a popular course taught by distinguished film critic Leonard Maltin. One of the longest-running courses at USC, it treats students to exclusive advance screenings of highly anticipated films, often featuring special guest speakers from the movie world, from directors and actors to writers and cinematographers.
“I take great pride in knowing that every film we screen is given a world-class presentation. More than one guest filmmaker has told me that their movie has never looked or sounded that good anywhere else,” says Maltin.
In fact, Oscar-winning sound-effects editor Stephen Flick had this to say about the presentation:“The Christie Vive Audio donation transformed the Norris Theatre. It has a transparency and depth that is rare to find in any motion picture theatre, and having heard various systems in the Norris for the past ten years, I can say that Vive might even be a game-changer. It introduces young filmmakers to a superior sound experience, and they in turn will expect and demand that all venues should sound so good, in their future professional work.”
Museums are another Christie favorite. Last year, the company donated one of its top-of-the-line digital-cinema projectors and installation services to the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in San Diego, a professional-quality, nonprofit theater venue in San Diego. The equipment, which replaced a first-generation Christie cinema projector, now lights up the 226-seat Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theatre. Beloved by the local community, MOPA is host to diverse film festivals and screenings, reaching over 10,000 people annually.
In the American heartland, Christie donated a cinema projector to the Twilight Theatre and Community Auditorium in Greensburg, Kansas, which is part of Kiowa County–about 100 miles west of Wichita.
The Kansas town had been devastated by an EF-5 tornado in 2007 that destroyed the original theatre and leveled 95 percent of the town. Against all odds, the town rebuilt again to become America's leading community in LEED-Certified buildings, with wind-turbine energy supplying much of its power.
Twilight Theatre's executive director Adam Wagner, who led the efforts to secure funding and rebuild the theatre, recalls walking tradeshow floors the previous year, approaching cinema manufacturers who might assist in donating equipment.
"When we approached Christie, they immediately offered to donate one of their best digital-cinema projectors. We were absolutely thrilled by their generosity," recounts Wagner.
Christie’s giving proved contagious. The company’s projector was installed by Cinema Equipment & Supplies (CE+S), which also donated its services.
"It is a source of great pride to us to know that our cinema equipment will be providing many years of exceptional entertainment to so many deserving communities and people of all ages, in the U.S. and throughout the world," says Kline.