Trailer and film-to-digital conversion company Filmack marks a milestone this year that few other local industry outfits can match: 90 years in business.
That makes it “the oldest, continuously operating cinema trailer company in the country, and perhaps the world,” says third generation owner Robbie Mack, whose grandfather founded the company one year after Charlie Chaplin left Chicago for Hollywood.
Mack attributes Filmack’s longevity to the persistent dominance of 35mm film itself, “the numerous improvements in picture and sound quality and presentation through the years, and the lack of technology and research to bring anything better to market.”
But as theaters gradually make the transition to digital projection, Filmack’s future is uncertain.
For the past three years Filmack has been converting film trailers to digital cinema ? 10% of trailers the company produces are now digital, and they have a steady sideline in transferring between various video formats and 35mm, 16mm and 8mm film.
But as demand for 35mm trailers falls in the coming years, so may go Filmack’s market share.
“I don’t think technology will allow Filmack to go from a third generation run company to a fourth,” Mack laments. “Our forte has always been delivering cinema trailers on film, something that not many companies can do today. But now, anyone can shoot and create a trailer and finish it on a Mac.”