Monthly Archives: March 2012

Sundance Goes Digital With Assistance From Barco

Sundance Film FestivalWhen Barco emailed a press release last Thursday with the subject “Sundance Film Festival expands digital cinema footprint with Barco projectors” I initially figured it must be an error. Sundance is held in Park City, Utah and takes place in January each year. If Barco was looking to get press for this year’s festival they are a little late and if they were trying to get ahead on next year’s event they are way too early.

In fact, the release was about the 2012 festival. Turns out Barco is not only helping theatre owners convert to digital, but they are also giving a hand to film festivals who will ultimately have to adopt the technology. For this past year’s festival Barco provided four additional digital cinema projectors to go with a number of others Sundance was using previously.

You may be wondering why we’re paying any attention to a corporate announcement that comes six weeks after the event in its subject line. Yet the real importance of the release is not necessarily that Barco is supplying film festivals with digital projectors (though it’s great that they are). Rather it is the meaning found between the words and sentences of the press notice that truly matters. It’s not written in black and white, but more of an invisible gray.

For those who may not be familiar with the Sundance Film Festival (i.e. non-film buffs or intelligent life forms from other planets), it is the premiere independent film festival in North America. Along with those in Berlin, Cannes, Telluride, Toronoto and Venice, it is one of the largest such festivals held each year. It has become known as the launching pad for such filmmakers as Darren Aranofsky, the Coen Brothers, Spike Lee, Christopher Nolan, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Bryan Singer, Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino and countless others. “Precious”, “Blood Simple”, “Little Miss Sunshine”, “sex, lies, and videotape”, “Reservoir Dogs”, “The Blair Witch Project”, “American Splendor” and “Super Size Me” are just a few of the indie-films which were first shown to the public at Sundance.

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No More Silver Screens In France

CNC LogoBy 8:00 am Friday morning I had three voicemails and five emails all either trying to pass along or confirm the same implausible news. Rumor was spreading fast that France’s Le Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée, otherwise known as the CNC, had banned silver screens throughout the country, giving exhibitors a five year timeframe to comply. If true, it could have enormous implications in the 3D market.

I initially thought some announcement the CNC had made was being misinterpreted after the rumor mill twisted it into something far more alarming. As a part of France’s Ministry of Culture the CNC is responsible for regulating cinema as well as the production and promotion of “audiovisual arts” within the country, so it’s easy to see how such a rumor could be easily believed. However, a quick trip to the CNC website informed me the news was accurate.

At the start of a six day conference on technology in exhibition and distribution, CNC president Eric Garandeau announced an “agreement to ensure the quality of film screenings in movie theaters in the digital age.” In his opening remarks Garandeau acknowledged all the hard work that goes into making a movie and that, “if so many people put so much care to seek perfection in the image, it is necessary that these efforts are visible and even sublimated on the screen, in the most beautiful manner.” Wanting to see the difference for himself, Garandeau held a test screening to see “if a layman could make a comparison and tell the difference between a white screen and a silver screen.”

Garandeau says he saw the bright smile of Oscar winning actor Jean Dujardin switch from white to gray during the test and that the brightness level at the edges of the screen, compared to the center, decreased significantly. Not surprising since color balance, luminance consistency, and hot spots are the major drawbacks when it comes to silver screens, especially when they are used for 2D films.

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Where Were We?

Come In We're OpenIf the emails that have been coming in from some of our loyal readers are any indication, some of you may be wondering where we’ve been or why the posts on Celluloid Junkie have decreased over the past six months.

The explanation is quite simple really. Like all of those who blog about the industries within which they work, sometimes it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to write about certain topics for various reasons. The very jobs which allow us to be knowledgeable enough to write about our industry sometimes actually prevent us from doing so due to conflicts of interest or breaches of confidentiality. Since these positions are how we actually feed our families, they tend to be given priority.

So it is that over the past several months each of the contributors to Celluloid Junkie have been otherwise engaged. Patrick von Sychowski has been busy tending to his responsibilities at Reliance MediaWorks. J. Sperling Reich has been focused on a number of industry related projects. Anyone who has glanced a a trade publication over the past year knows how busy (and feted) Carolyn Giardina has been lately.

That said, we expect to pick up the pace here on Celluloid Junkie and try to make up for some lost time… or in our case, a lack of worthwhile posts.