For those of you who are interested in the intersection between technology and storytelling, the Digimart 2006 videos, which were MIA for awhile, are back. Here is one of the panels on the “Future of Theatrical Exhibition,” in which I make an appearance. To see the rest of the videos from the 2006 conference, check out the Digimart Site. And you can check out my previous post about Digimart 2005.
I’ve written many times about how theatrical exhibition has to move more toward special events in order to survive. Here is another example of Emerging Pictures’ efforts in this direction. This past weekend, we premiered Kenneth Branagh’s “The Magic Flute” in theaters across the country, and afterward did a live Q&A with Branagh himself, from his home in the U.K. Now you can watch the entire event below. By the way, the film is still playing around the country, so check out the Emerging Pictures web site for locations.
Here’s a video of a panel discussion that took place at the Cannes Film Festival this past May, at the UK Film Center. It’s a fascinating look at the various initiaves that are taking place to reinvent the theatrical experience by virtue of digital technologies. It’s a subject that, as you all know, is dear to my heart. And yes, I’m on the panel.
Earlier this year, Emerging Pictures worked with Jon Reiss and Sheri Candler on the release of the film “Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance.” We had a simultaneous premiere of the film in 44 cities, at the same time it was having its World Premiere at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, as part of the Dance on Camera Series. After the film, the panel discussion was broadcast to the theaters nationwide, with a Twitter feedback loop. This is a great example of what I’ve been preaching for quite some time–that we need to more focus on “eventizing” independent films, in order to entice people out of their homes and into movie theaters. Check it out…
With more and more studios moving away from 35mm prints, can art house cinema survive in a digital world?
This article was originally published on the Tribeca Future of Film web site, and was reprinted at Thompson on Film, among other sites. However, I decided to post it here as well, to make it easier to find and for archival purposes.
Check this out…We just completed a test of the technology we are using to do a live Q&A with participants in the UK and Australia, that will be broadcast live into Emerging Cinemas venues this Saturday morning. The film is “Third Star,” which will be screened at 11am Eastern time as part of the “From Britain With Love” series, followed by the Q&A with the director from Sydney and one of the cast members and the writer from London. In NY the screening will be at the new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. For other locations, check out the Emerging Cinemas web site. Or if you can’t make it to the theaters, you can watch the Q&A live at www.tinyurl.com/britfilmlive at approximately 12:40.
Here’s what the test looked like. That’s me standing in for the director.
For a very long time, I’ve been proselytizing to just about anyone who would listen about how digital projection could change the way we think about a theatrical release. While most people in the industry focus on cost savings, which can be substantial over time, I’ve been fascinated with the disruptive element–the fact that our entire notion of what constitutes the traditional theatrical model has been built around the economics of shipping these precious items called “prints” around. These assets, once bought, beg to be used as often as possible to justify their cost. Yet, every time the print is run through a projector it is deteriorating, and constantly at risk of being severely damaged. Switching from one film to another in the projection booth is a clunky process of splicing and unsplicing reels, subjecting the prints to even further potential damage. It’s not for nothing that the budgets for theatrical release are called P&A, indicating that the budget for prints has a prominence that is equal to or greater than any other part of the distribution budget. Continue reading “A Theatrical Showcase Points the Way”
There has been a lot of discussion recently among the mission-driven, independent art houses in the U.S. regarding the transition to digital. The art houses are stuck between a rock and a hard place due to the cost of DCI compliant (studio approved) equipment that would be necessary to show such cash cows as “Black Swan” or “The King’s Speech” — equipment that the art houses simply can’t afford — while the vast majority of the real indie movies that they play are not available in that format. Further angst is caused by the sense that it is only a matter of a few years before there simply are no more 35mm prints available. In the midst of a lot of doom and gloom, Russ Collins, the Executive Director of the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor and a leader of the Art House Convergence wrote the following guest blog…
By Russ Collins
Maybe I’m just too much of an optimist. Instead of seeing digital cinema as a harbinger of Art House doom I see it as an exciting opportunity. Digital conversion AND the preservation of celluloid exhibition formats are, to me, soluble issues that will be most effectively addressed by “new model” community-based, mission-driven Art House cinemas. Digital cinema can provide wider, quicker access to both historic and contemporary cinema repertoire and is much more accommodating to local filmmakers. Additionally, we get the benefit of digital restoration on wonderful old celluloid movies. Continue reading “Digital Projection WILL NOT Convert Art Houses Right Out of Existence!”
Just got back from Vegas, one of my least favorite places in the world, where I was on a panel at the International Film Festival Summit. It’s a great event, where the folks who manage and program film festivals all over the world get together to compare notes and learn best practices.
While there, I was interviewed by Patty Fantasia for her blog, “The Filmmakers Notebook.” Here is the podcast for your listening enjoyment. You should also check out Patty’s other podcasts from the IFFS at www.filmmakersnotebook.com.
In case you thought that we were approaching some kind of art film apocolypse, I have good news. Art film theaters are thriving, wherever they are managed by people who really know what they are doing, and who really care. I’d like to offer up one example. The Miami Beach Cinematheque, one of the venues on our Emerging Cinemas Network, has just announced plans to move into new, larger quarters. This is great news not just because it shows that such an institution can still thrive in the age of i-stuff, but the increase in seating capacity will enable larger grosses for distributors out of a market that should be one of the best in the country. Check out the link below and be blown away.