Film society eyes reopening of Paramount Theatre as drive-in operations continue

After achieving charitable status, the Kamloops Film Society is looking forward to welcoming crowds back into the Paramount Theatre once health guidelines allow.

In the interim, the society will continue operating its Twin Rivers Drive-In Theatre on McArthur Island.

The society, which runs the Paramount Theatre, downtown at Victoria Street and Fifth Avenue, officially achieved its charitable status at the end of April, just ahead of the hybrid-model Kamloops Film Fest that occurred this year.

The new charitable status will allow the organization to issue tax receipts for donors and seek out further funding only available to organizations with that status.

"Down the road, if we're doing donor campaigns, you pretty much can't really do them without having that option,” Kamloops Film Society executive director Dusan Magdolen said. “It's very hard for people to give any significant dollars without a tax receipt.”

But fundraisers aren't quite on the film society’s calendar just yet. Magdolen does not think the timing is right, with COVID-19 still lingering and the theatre still trying to get up and running at its full capacity.

Under B.C.'s restart plan, theatres could open in a limited capacity with up to 50 audience members as early as June 15.

But Magdolen said that doesn't necessarily mean movies will be playing at the Paramount the day the province moves to Step 2. He said with the drive-in operating and private bookings once again available up to 10 people, there is no rush to get people back inside the theatre.

"In all honesty, from our one pre-COVID summer experience, summers aren't huge. We're not missing out on all this revenue because we're not open," he said.

July may be different, as the province will likely move to Step 3 on Canada Day. By the fall, Magdolen said, he hopes even bigger audiences are allowed.

"It's going to be exciting. Our safety protocols have been good throughout, so we're not tentative about that aspect of it. The worry is more that people will be hesitant to return," he said.

The June lineup for the Twin Rivers Drive-in Theatre includes four films, including a Father's Day special event.

The lineup includes Raya and the Last Dragon (June 11 and June 12), The Croods: A New Age (June 19 and June 25), A Biker's Ballad (June 27) and the classic Field of Dreams as a Father's Day special on June 20.

More information and tickets are available online at

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