Upstate Films Announces Grand Opening of “The Mark" in Saugerties, March 15-20

Upstate Films Announces Grand Opening of “The Mark" in Saugerties, March 15-20

A state-of-the-art screening room for the Hudson Valley

SAUGERTIES, NY, FEBRUARY 13, 2024 — The Hudson Valley will soon have a new world-class venue. Upstate Films will celebrate the opening of “The Mark,” its new screening room, beginning on Friday, March 15, 2024. Located upstairs at the Orpheum Theatre in Saugerties, The Mark, an intimate 99-seat space, features outstanding sightlines, comfortable seats and top-of-the-line cinema audio and live sound systems. The theater was designed by the acclaimed acoustic consulting and architectural design firm WSDG, based in Highland, NY. WSDG is one of the world’s leaders in the creation of audio facilities.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 5p Friday, March 15 at the Orpheum, 200 Main Street, Saugerties.

The Mark’s most notable elements are its acoustics. Its Dolby Atmos sound system, engineered with WSDG and cinema specialist Dave Berti, provides precision sound that envelops the audience, immersing them in the heart of the film. The acoustics in the geometric room are crafted with artisanal care and by using the latest sound engineering technologies. The live sound system has been designed by WSDG in partnership with Blaze Audio, for outstanding performances. The Mark rivals the finest screening rooms in Hollywood, ensuring an unparalleled cinematic experience for the Hudson Valley.

The Mark’s Grand Opening celebration runs Friday, March 15 through Wednesday March 20, with a special program exploring the room’s acoustics on Wednesday, April 10. The festivities include three open house events featuring Atmos short films and free refreshments, a silent film with live accompaniment, comedy, the launch of “All Singing, All Dancing,” (a new series of classic musicals), and new and classic Atmos films. Please see below for the full program. 

On Wednesday, April 10, The Mark hosts a special event specifically highlighting the theater’s acoustics and Atmos sound system. "The Magic of the Mark: An Evening with John Storyk and Elliot Scheiner” features the eight-time Grammy-winning producer and engineer Scheiner and WSDG founding partner and award-winning architect and acoustician Storyk hosting discussion on immersive sound mixing for Atmos. The program promised to be a delight for the ears, including examples from Scheiner’s work on The History of the Eagles documentary.

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About The Mark
The theater is named in honor of the late Mark Braunstein, the visionary founder of Markertek, beloved member of the mid-Hudson Valley arts community and generous philanthropist. The Mark features design by the award-winning architectural acoustics design firm WSDG, led by John Storyk, has previously designed venues and studios for Bruce Springsteen, UCLA, Lincoln Center, Spotify, Jay-Z, MTV, Alicia Keys, NYU and, at the beginning of Storyk’s career, Jimi Hendrix. WSDG recently won its 13th NAMM award, given by the trade group The National Association of Music Merchants.

"We are immensely proud to be part of this project,” said Storyk. “Communities need theaters more than ever, and this theater will rival professional executive screening rooms anywhere in the nation. This is a project my dear friend Mark Braunstein would have loved to have supported—he understood the importance of gathering together to celebrate the arts and culture. It is an honor to dedicate our work to Mark.” 

The Orpheum, a central feature of the Main-Partition Streets National Historic District, was built in 1908 as a roller rink, vaudeville house and community center. It was converted into a movie theater in 1918, and, under several generations of the Thornton family, served for a century as the center of communal life for Saugerties. Upstate Films, a not-for-profit organization, purchased The Orpheum in 2021. It completed its first phase of renovations, including technical, safety and environmental updates, a new lobby and a spectacular new audio system in its large theater, in 2022. Upstate Films continues to operate its flagship theater, the Starr Cinema, in Rhinebeck. It has screened films there for the past 52 years.

“Every community deserves a great gathering place,” said Jason Silverman, co-Executive Director of Upstate Films. “The Orpheum has inspired generations of people from our region. The Mark will make a great space even better—we think it’ll be one of the best and most exciting venues to fully experience a movie anywhere. Working with WSDG and John and honoring Mark Braunstein—an extraordinarily generous man—has given this project a lot of soul.” 

Generous support for the project has been provided by the Wood Dock Foundation, DASNY, Empire State Development, Markertek and individual donors. A campaign, Support the Mark, is underway to complete project funding.

Details can be found at

The full grand opening program is as follows:

Monday, March 11-Friday, March 15


Friday, March 15 
5pm - Ribbon-cutting ceremony (details to come)

5:15-6:30pm - Open House at The Mark: free short films, popcorn and soda

7pm - Silent film: THE GENERAL (Buster Keaton, 1926) with live music by Anvil Orchestra / $10/$14

Saturday, March 16
Noon-2pm - Open House at The Mark: free short films, popcorn and soda

2:30pm - DUNE: PART 2, in Atmos / $7-$11

6:30pm - $5 community screening: LA LA LAND in Atmos (2023)

8:30pm - Upstate Comedy Club (local comedy showcase)

Sunday, March 17
Noon to 2 pm - 30-minute clip show on repeat (free admission and popcorn)

2:30 pm - DUNE PART 2 (2024, in Atmos) $7-$11

6 pm - $5 community screening: RRR (dir. S.S. Rajamouli, 2022, 187 min)

Monday, March 18
6pm - RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCE (2023, 168 min.) / $7-$11

Tuesday, March 19 and Wednesday March 20

7pm - Musical series “All Singing, All Dancing: HIGH SOCIETY, introduced by Katie Cokinos

Wednesday, April 10

7pm - The Magic of the Mark: An Evening with John Storyk and Elliot Scheiner

FREE / reservations strongly recommended

Upstate Films was founded in 1972 in Rhinebeck, New York. In the 51 years since, it has provided millions of filmgoers with life-altering, inspiring and connective experiences. It remains one of the nation’s most prominent rural art-house cinemas. In addition to the Orpheum Theatre, Upstate Films operates the Starr Cinema in Rhinebeck Village, and its touring program has visited Catskill, Kingston, Hudson, Saugerties, Rhinebeck, Kinderhook and Woodstock. The leadership team includes co-Executive Directors Paul Sturtz and Jason Silverman, and a Board of Directors led by co-chairs Allen Coulter and Barbara Huseby.

WSDG (Walters-Storyk Design Group) is at the forefront of the field of architectural acoustic design and analysis. The firm delivers cutting-edge technology, ergonomic and stylish interiors and environmentally conscious solutions. WSDG has created more than 3,000 audio/video production, performance, education, corporate, house of worship and residential projects around the globe. Co-founder John Storyk began his career in 1968 with designs including Electric Lady, Jimi Hendrix’s first studio. He and Beth Walters formed WSDG in 1987, with the late Nancy Flannery joining to serve as CFO. The company expanded with offices in Latin America, Switzerland, Berlin and Miami. The firm’s accolades include 13 NAMM TEC Awards, awards from AIA and feature articles in The New York Times, Vanity Fair and The Washington Post.

Blaze Audio specialize in pro audio solutions tailored for the commercial and leisure install markets. Our products deliver the power and exceptional sound performance demanded in commercial locations, and the technology, quality, and reliability expected by the professional audio market. Blaze Audio is a brand of Pascal, the world’s leading provider of pro audio amplifier electronics. 

Interviews with Upstate Films’ co-directors Jason Silverman and Paul Sturtz and architect John Storyk are available upon request. Renders of the space and other photos can be found here. A promo video and a slideshow are available to share or embed.

Steve Bailey
Steve Bailey Public Relations, Hummingbird Media
240213-WSDG-TheMarkGrandOpening.docx 4 MB
About WSDG

WSDG (Walters-Storyk Design Group) is an 13-time TEC award-winning international firm specializing in architectural acoustic consulting and media systems engineering. Pioneering architect/acoustician, John Storyk (AIA), founded the company in 1969 with the creation of Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios in New York City’s Greenwich Village. WSDG provides a wide portfolio of design and consulting services that support architectural projects during throughout all phases of project development. Our international team of consultants have provided timely, detailed and cost-effective advice on highly sensitive and complex architectural construction and renovation projects, from small but critical retrofits to challenging ground up construction projects. WSDG has extensive experience with sensitive architectural issues including historical renovations, additions and new construction projects in media production, corporate, government, transportation, education, broadcasting and cultural / entertainment sectors.  

Past clients include Jay-Z, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, J Cole, and Jack Antonoff, corporate entities such as Spotify, Sony, CBS, Novartis, and IBM, and global governmental AV installations as well as and educational institutions such as Berklee College of Music, UCLA, University of Music Vienna, and NYU.

262 Martin Avenue
Highland, NY 12528