That’s a wrap

The curtain drew on one of the longest-running shows in Kamloops yesterday.

Twenty years ago, Dave Pilchar moved to Kamloops to manage the Paramount Theatre.

He was appointed to the position and moved his family from Edmonton when the theatre was acquired by his parent company, Landmark Cinemas, in 1987.

Two years later, he took the Northills Theatre under his wing and embarked on a silver-screen era that would flash before thousands of eyes.

Today, he is proud of his accomplishments in a community he has grown to love, especially the relationship he has established with the Kamloops Film Society (KFS).

“Fourteen years ago, their president, Brian Mitchell, came to me with $69 in the kitty and wanted to keep their society going,” Pilchar said. “And today, they’ve got lots of money and basically every second Thursday at the Paramount, they have either close to or sell-out crowds in the big theatre.”

A market for non-traditional films like those shown by the KFS is something Pilchar has tried to cultivate in Kamloops, and has become the niche for the Paramount Theatre.

“I have really loved to see the growth of art-film and non-traditional commercial film in Kamloops,” he said.

In December, Pilchar was approached by Landmark Cinemas, which he has worked for since 1976, to take over a

new three-plex theatre in Drayton Valley, Alta.

The new oil-patch theatre was built in May by a local family involved in providing theatre to the community for two decades.

“They wanted to make sure everything was a success,” said Pilchar about his appointment, “so, I take it as a bonus in my cap they thought of me to take up the challenge.”

His plans include getting rid of the small-town atmosphere at the theatre and introducing Landmark Cinemas promotions and genres that include more children’s programming and independent films.

Long-time right-hand man Jeff Harrison will replace Pilchar as manager of the Paramount.

Harrison has worked under Pilchar for the past six years and “is a young guy with lots of potential.

“He’s very keen for the challenge” and Harrison will maintain the status quo and quality of service and films that the Paramount is famous for in Kamloops, said Pilchar.

With the finality of his decision becoming more apparent, Pilchar added he will miss Kamloops, its scenery and the Blazers — but most of all, he will miss the people.

“Talking to the people of Kamloops and talking to them about films in general — that’s the part I’ll miss,” he said.

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