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August 14, 2004

What is it they say in the movies? "Cut. That's a take! Print it!" The Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History has reached that stage after several years of fundraising, planning, designs, exhibit research and collection gathering. The Building Committee has been given the go ahead to locate a contractor and complete the permitting process to begin construction.

On Tuesday, July 20th group of Lone Pine residents met with Mr. Rogers at his offices in Las Vegas to present their proposal, exhibit designs, floor plans and model for the Museum. The representatives included Jaque Hickman, co-director of the project, architect Brian Webb, Advisory Board member Beverly Vanderwall and Museum Executive Director Chris Langley.

"From our perspective, it was a very successful meeting, " Hickman remarked enthusiastically. "We and the community have worked very hard on this project. It is wonderful to finally reach the point where we will have something tangible to show everyone." She continued, "The Museum will be a great addition to our area and a boon to the entire community in terms of attracting tourism here." The first step will be to move temporary offices and a construction office onto the site as soon as possible.

Jim and Beverly Rogers of Sunbelt Communications, a company that operates several NBC Television affiliates across the west had promised, when all the initial planning and work was completed by Lone Pine, to build a museum that celebrated and preserved the community's film history.

The Film Festival Board, which has lead the organization through fourteen festivals, during which the event has grown in stature and reputation, embraced the idea of a museum. Kerry Powell and Dave Holland had met with Jim Rogers after one such event at his request. They listened while Jim told of his vision for a museum that would preserve the film history that the Festival celebrated each year. Then Jim volunteered to donate the funds for the building and the process began.

Like most complex yet worthwhile projects, the challenges have been many, the learning curve for the local board steep, and a lot of volunteer hours of work expended to get to this stage. Each time a deadline was set, many obstacles appeared and progress lagged, much to everyone's disappointment.

Procuring the land required $229,000 fundraising and the cooperation of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power as well as the help of Rene Mendez and the Inyo Board of Supervisors to accomplish. The Museum Board raised an additional $100,000, established an Acquisitions account, and worked diligently to make certain the museum was based in sound business practices.

Jim Rogers, along with the Lone Pine Board of Directors members, have persisted and on Tuesday a group of local residents met with Jim at his offices in Las Vegas. Mr. Rogers has recently become the chancellor of the University of Nevada Reno Campus, adding one more worthwhile project to his already full plate.

Sunbelt Communications hired Bill Hunter to aid in collections acquisition and Bill has been working with Chris Langley, Executive Director of the Museum, and the entire Film Festival crew to create exhibits and plan the exhibition space. Bill is a graphic artist and a very active volunteer with the Golden Boot Fundraising Event, another of Jim Rogers' charitable activities.

The group presented all the plans, including a floor plan model of the museum to Mr. Rogers. After asking about the placement of the movie stagecoach which he bought for the museum, he expressed his enthusiasm for all the work that had been done and said he wanted the Museum group to proceed immediately to construction for an eight thousand square foot exhibit space.

During the meeting Rogers called one contractor with whom he had done several projects. The group spoke with him on speakerphone. Rogers also offered his collection of western artifacts, movie memorabilia, guns and costumes on a rotating loan basis to be used in the museum exhibits.


Contact Info

The Museum of Western Film History
701 S. Main Street
Lone Pine, CA 93545