DENVER-Denver-based Starz Encore Group and the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation are leading the charge for a $7-million fund-raising campaign to remake a former movie house into a world-class film study and film festival center. The donation to the University of Colorado at Denver and the Denver Film Society mark the largest that has been received in the society’s history.

The undertaking involves a 25,000-sf, 12-screen theater that had been closed last year by Kansas City, KS-based AMC Theatre. The structure is located on the Auraria college campus at the edge of the CBD.

AMC had operated a movie house in the historic Tivoli complex on the Auraria campus since the mid-1980s. The building now primarily serves as a student union for the campus that includes students from the University of Colorado at Denver, Metropolitan State College and Community College of Denver.

Plans call for the building to be renovated into three theaters–each with about 400 seats in a stadium-seating design–or be razed to make way for a new structure. The new center will provide classrooms and training, not only for University of Colorado students, but also students from kindergarten to 12th grade.

Colorado Gov. Bill Owens and Mayor Wellington Webb had been on hand for the recent announcement. “It was Oliver Cromwell who said, ‘He who stops being better stops being good,’” Owens told “I know I will get no argument from anyone here that CU and Starz Encore both enjoy national reputations for excellence. And they refuse to be ‘just good,’ as evidenced by this partnership being formed, which will make these organizations, as well as CU and the Denver Film Society, even better.”

Starz, founded nine years ago by John Sie, is the largest provider of cable and satellite-delivered premium movie channels in the nation. Along with the QVC Network and the Discovery Channel, it is one of the key holdings of Douglas County-based Liberty Media Group, headed by John Malone. Starz Encore is projected to have $730 million in revenues this year in comparison to $640 million in 1999.

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