Center Seeks Final Funds to Buy Roxy Theatre
- Center seeks final funds to buy Roxy
By SHERRY DEVLIN of the Missoulian
The International Wildlife Media Center and Film Festival may inhabit
Missoula's Roxy Theater, but the historic movie house is not yet
In a plea to would-be donors, film festival executive director Janet
Rose said the "Save the Roxy" campaign is $140,000 short of the
$400,000 needed to meet an end-of-June bank deadline.
"We are not a money-maker," Rose said Monday. "We don't generate big
revenue. We need the public's support to pay off the Roxy."
Audiences can number 20 people on a Friday night, and no one is
turned away - even if they don't have the $4 admission, she said. "So
we're really just bumping along."
But the media center's yearly film festival draws thousands of
wildlife filmmakers and aficionados, and its educational programs
serve thousands more school children, so the work is important, Rose
And the Roxy is central to that work.
The Wildlife Media Center contracted to buy the Roxy 18 months ago
and moved into the Higgins Avenue theater shortly thereafter.
Since then, the group has opened the Roxy's three theaters to the
community for wildlife films every weekend, and also for workshops on
filmmaking, a lending library for teachers and adults, and for
lectures and performances by outside groups.
Recently, Rose said she realized that by moving into the Roxy before
its funding was secure, the film festival probably gave some members
of the public a false impression - namely, that the habitat was
It is not, she said Monday. "Probably a lot of people think we got
the building and don't need their help anymore. But we don't have the
building and we do need everyone's help."
By June 30, the group must raise the final $140,000 needed to pay off
a bridge loan at First Security Bank.
And while the 27th annual International Wildlife Film Festival
(planned for May 1-8) will certainly help raise part of that money,
it will not be enough, Rose said.
The bulk, she said, will have to come from individuals - film
festival supporters, schoolchildren, community groups, anyone who
wants to preserve both the Roxy and the wildlife film festival.
Already, one wall in the Roxy's lobby is covered with hand-painted
tiles recognizing all of the $50-plus donors to date. Another wall is
filling up fast.
"But we need to cover the entire lobby," Rose said. "So we need to go
out and publicize the need and what it's for and why it's important."
Over the past 18 months, the bulk of the funds raised for the Roxy's
purchase have been small-dollar donations: $100 from an elementary-
school class, $1,000 from a patron of the arts, $250 from a family
that enjoys wildlife films.
Now, Rose said, she hopes to tap into several segments of the
community that haven't yet donated significant amounts: the medical
community, legal community, downtown businesses.
"There's no doubt we are becoming a fixture downtown," she said. "And
we're becoming a major resource for schools and children."
It'll never be easy to make ends meet, Rose said. But it'll at least
be possible if the group can raise $140,000 by June.
"If we have a small mortgage, it is certainly manageable," she
said. "If we get this last $140,000, we're home free."
Reporter Sherry Devlin can be reached at 523-5268 or at
If you're interested
Learn more about the Save the Roxy Global Community Campaign by
contacting the International Wildlife Media Center and Film Festival
at 728-9380 or at iwff@.... The group's daily and
weekly events are posted on its new Web site at www.wildlifefilms.org.