Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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June 26, 2013

Swank Motion Pictures cracks down on Bluefield summer movies

BLUEFIELD, Va. — The town of Bluefield, Va. is looking to scale back summer movies in the park due to a crack down by Swank Motion Pictures.

During the town council meeting Tuesday, Town Manager Mike Watson said the the company is asking the city to pay a $325 licensing fee per film they show at the weekly showing, which is offered to the community for free.

“We were contacted by representatives of the (Swank Motion Pictures) and they said we have to pay licenses to show movies, which is going to increase our costs for offering this,” Watson said. “As a result, we are going to have to scale back from showing one movie each week to showing a movie every other week. We will continue using town employees and give our refreshment.”

Swank Motion Pictures represents multiple media companies including Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, Sony, Universal Studios, DreamWorks Pictures, MGM, Lionsgate, Columbia, Tri Star and others.

Despite the increased cost, Watson said the town is hoping to continue offering the movies possibly with the help of community businesses.

“The town is looking for sponsors to help this continue,” Watson said. “We would probably allow the person who sponsors the event to allow the company to advertise either with a banner or truck at the movie.”

In other business, Watson said the town had received approval of a grant application submitted to the Virginia Department of Transportation to help with paving projects. With the money from VDOT, Watson said the town has a budget of $680,000 to do road paving and address issues on High Street as well as $100,000 to repair sidewalks.

The board voted 6-0 to allow an annual American Diabetes Association Community Walk through the town on Oct. 13. Watson said the walk would progress from the farmers market toward Ammar’s around Jack Asbury Square.

Councilman Donnie Linkous suggested the board meet with the new members of the Bluefield Board of Directors and Bluefield City Manager Jim Ferguson before the new board takes office. Councilman Steve Danko agreed with Linkous’ suggestion.

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com

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