ELIZABETHTON — State Line Drive-In was not one of the five winners of a $80,000 digital projector in Honda’s Project Drive-In, but there is an unexpected twist in the contest.
At about the same time that State Line owner Andrew Wetzel learned that his theater was not the fifth and final winner in the original contest, he received an email that has reinvigorated him and restored his hope to save his business.
The email was from Project Drive-In, and it told him that there have been so many donations to the cause that Honda will now be able to give away four more projectors. Wetzel said that even the film companies are participating.
“This is good news and I am very hopeful,” Wetzel said. All of the previous votes still count, and State Line supporters can cast more votes through Sept. 21. A vote can be cast once a day on each computer at projectdrivein.com, plus once a day by text by sending 48 to 444999.
Wetzel said the project is one of his last hopes to keep his theater from closing. Like every other drive-in in America, Wetzel said he does not have the customer count to justify borrowing $80,000 for the projector and upgrading the projector room. Without the digital projectors, State Line and hundreds of other drive-ins across the land will soon go dark because the only prints of first-run movies will be in digital format.
Honda has recognized the problem and created Project Drive-In in response.
Unlike the previous five winners, Wetzel said all four winners in the second round will be announced at 9 a.m. Sept. 23. After waiting in anguish as five other drive-ins around the country were announced, he is hoping to see the bright light at the end of the tunnel — the light of a new digital projector.
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