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Movie showing: Colfax approves auditorium use for “Elf”

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  Some people around Colfax will remember when movies were shown regularly in the Colfax Municipal Building auditorium under the name of the Cozy Theater.

For others — the idea that movies were once part of Colfax culture is a completely foreign idea.

But now that the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group has done a marvelously spectacular job of renovating the municipal building auditorium, movies can — and will — once again be shown in Colfax.

The Colfax Village Board approved a request at the November 24 meeting from the Colfax Commercial Club to do a holiday showing of the movie “Elf” in the municipal building auditorium on December 20.

“The restoration group did a great job on the auditorium,” said Scott Gunnufson, village president.

Over the past several years, CMBRG has paid for electrical updates in the municipal building at a cost of around $100,000.

Removing the boards over the windows and installing energy-efficient windows in the auditorium was part of the $180,000 energy efficiency community development block grant Colfax received in 2010.

The restoration group also paid to have to the auditorium painted with the original colors of burgundy, cream and a pale green and arranged to have the stage curtains taken down, cleaned and put back up.

The latest project for CMBRG was having the floor sanded and sealed and the theater seats bolted down.

The floor and bolting the theater seats was completed several weeks ago.

Now that the floor is finished and the theater seats are bolted down, it is time for the community to see and appreciate all of the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group’s hard work, Gunnufson said.

With funds left over from the Colfax Sesquicentennial in July, the Colfax Commercial Club has purchased a 16-foot long by nine feet high movie screen. The movie screen’s debut was a Halloween movie in Tower Park, and the Commercial Club would like to show a Christmas movie in the auditorium in December, said Mark Johnson, vice-president of the Colfax Commercial Club.

The licensing fee to show “Elf” is $300 or 50 percent of the ticket sales, whichever is greater, noted Gunnufson, who is president of the Commercial Club.

The Commercial Club is planning to seek sponsorships from businesses in town to show the movie, and a splash screen with all of the sponsors will appear both before and after the movie, he said.

The Commercial Club also will be asking businesses if they want to be part of a “shop local” initiative by including coupons or discounts for their businesses on the back of the movie tickets, Johnson said.

“This is a great opportunity to use the auditorium,” Gunnufson said.

CMBRG “went to great lengths and great expense, and now it will be nice to able to use the space,” he said.

All clubs and groups in Colfax and the surrounding area are welcome to use the Colfax Commercial Club’s movie screen if they want to show movies as well, Gunnufson and Johnson noted.

“I think there is a lot of curiosity about the auditorium, and I think (a movie) will be popular with residents in Colfax and the surrounding area,” said Mark Halpin, village trustee.

The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved the Colfax Commercial Club’s request to use the auditorium to show a movie on December 20 and waived the rental fee for the auditorium.

Gunnufson abstained from voting on the motion.

“Elf” will be shown at 7 p.m. on December 20.

The Colfax Commercial Club will charge an admission fee of $2 to help defray the cost of the licensing fee, Johnson noted.

“Elf,” starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner and Zooey Deschanel, is the story of Buddy (played by Will Ferrell), who was accidentally transported to the North Pole when he was a baby, was raised among Santa’s elves, and is returning to New York City as an adult — in complete elf uniform — to find his father (James Caan).

The Colfax Commercial Club will be showing “Elf” through a licensing agreement with Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.; Tim Swank, chairman; St. Louis, Missouri.