Category Archives: Events

CineEurope 2014: Immersive Sound Focus Session

Immersive Audio Panel at CineEurope 2014

With just 60 seats in a temporary room the middle of the trade show, there are 30+ people standing at the back. Either the immersive audio session is a wild success or the venue is too small. And there is plenty of surround sound which can be seen throughout the rest of the show.  The following are highlights from the panel discussion as submitted via iPhone:

Dave Monk of the European Digital Cinema Forum says time is short and wants to gets to grips with, ‘what is immersive sound’.

Brian Claypool from Barco talks about Auro and a “natural sense of immersion” that was cost effective that could easily integrate with existing workflows. “Let’s have the premium experience at the cinema,” he says. Monk asks what key differentiator between 5.1 surround and immersive audio is. In one word, ‘height’. Three levels – two 5.1 plus overhead sound.

Stuart Bowling (standing in for Dean Bullock?) from Dolby says that sound had taken a backseat as a way to transport you away as a cinemas goer. “Pushing the envelope pushed us to Atmos. Sounds is that narrative of motion pictures that gives you an emotional response.”

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CineEurope 2014: Coca-Cola Seminar – Reasons to Believe

Coca Cola Presentation at CineEurope 2014

The single most important food and beverage (F & B) company for the exhibition industry hosts its seminar at CineEurope 2014 on how to reach and engage with consumers. I have seen their talks at Cannes Lions (where I was yesterday – hence why no first-day CineEurope coverage) and they really do make you believe that there is so much more to their business than just selling brown sugar water. Having one of the world’s most iconic brands obviously helps and the “Share a Coke” name-on-a-bottle campaign is pure marketing genius.

Corinne Thibaut is upfront about the challenge of a declining youth cinema attendance. “We need a new marketing approach,” she says, to engage a new generation, and “to capture the imagination of moviegoers.” She then hands over the floor.

Javier Sanchez Lamelas, European Marketing Director of the Coca-Cola Company takes the floor and announces the theme of his talk: “falling in love with cinema.” Rather than talk behind the lectern, he walks out amongst the audience. He shows amazing exams of how Coke promotions date back to anaglyph 3D glasses in 1914! Shows the “Skyfall” 007 Countdown challenge video which was viewed 10 million times on YouTube. The audience here at CineEurope loves it. Mainly because it is good.

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CineEurope 2014 Preview: Interview with UNIC’s Jan Runge

Cine Europe Barcelona

CineEurope 2014 is just over a week away. It is the third year since the annual event moved on from Amsterdam and its previous incarnation as Cinema Expo. This year the show is busier than ever with a full four days of event, which Celluloid Junkie will be providing live reports and updates from.

In the run-up to the show we caught up with Jan Runge, the CEO of UNIC, the trade body of European exhibitors.

Celluloid Junkie: Cine Europe seems to have settled well into its host city of Barcelona. What should attendees expect to be new or different about the event this year?

Jan Runge: We could have not hoped for a better host city. The move to the Barcelona Convention Centre three years ago helped re-launch CineEurope and wee have seen attendance figures as well as support from our key partners grow year-on-year. This year, you can expect the highest level of studio participation in recent times – with film slates presented by leading European distributors next to those of our partners at the US studios. We will provide a cutting-edge and entertaining conference programme, including – for the first time – smaller and more informal ‘Focus’ sessions with industry leaders that will be hosted on the trade floor. The trade show will be as vibrant as ever, showcasing innovations in cinema technology, retail and services. Because of this exciting and at times demanding programme, we will this year extend the show to a full four days, culminating in a high-profile awards ceremony and dinner on Thursday 19 June. Be sure to book your travel accordingly.

All in all, we are confident that this year’s CineEurope will be a great event to attend – we will of course also show the main football games of the World Cup. Alongside all of this, Barcelona is one of the most attractive cities to visit around the World. People attending should know that the city will be celebrating Sant Joan, Barcelona’s midsummer celebration festival, on Monday June 23. If they stay, they are in for the exeprience of their life.

CJ: What are the big issues that you expect to feature in discussions at the show, on and off stage?

Jan-Runge-bw

JR: We have experienced a sustained period of growth in admissions and box office across European territories over the past decades. With the transition to digital cinema now almost completed in most territories, the challenge is to maintain and grow attendance further by continuously upgrading and differentiating the cinema-going offer, not least vis-a-vis competing platforms.

I think we are all excited about the films that our partners from distribution will be presenting, while at the same time recognising that Europe is a fragmented market place that at times requires a more diverse and targeted film offer given the increasingly global motion picture value chain that of course influences the creative side. Closely connected are discussions around scheduling releases throughout the year as well as event cinema (‘alternative content’) and the success of local programming.

With regard to digital innovation, our programme this year will to a significant extent look into opportunities to upgrade the cinema-going experience and to reach new audiences by deploying innovative services in social media, mobile communications and data analytics and I would expect that many discussions will touch on these topics. Of course, the same goes for recent innovations in cinema technology, be they immersive sound, digital delivery, High Dynamic Range, laser illumination, 4D Cinema or other new developments in the cinema space.

Finally, we continue to tackle problems of film theft across Europe and face various challenges in the political realm, including potential cinema-related tax increases in various EU Member States and attacks on exclusive and sustainable theatrical release practices by policy makers who have a skewed perception of the economics of cinema.

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The Cannes Film Festival Overcomes Its Digital Dilemma

2014 Cannes Film Festival
As the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival came to a close last week, artistic director Thierry Fremaux scheduled a last minute press conference so that journalists from around the world could speak with filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. The director was visiting the festival for a 20th anniversary screening of his second feature, “Pulp Fiction”, which premiered at Cannes in 1994 and won its top prize, the Palm d’Or. It’s a safe bet nobody predicted the lead story coming out of Tarantino’s 48 minutes with journalists would be about digital cinema and serve to underscore the learning curve film festivals are grappling with when it comes to the new technology.

Yet, every year in Cannes there is at least one press conference where a filmmaker or actor says something that gets tossed into the media echo chamber and published around the globe en masse. Director Lars von Trier’s comments about Nazis a few years back are a perfect case in point. In 2014, the honor went to Tarantino, whose animated, hyperactive Cannes press conferences are the stuff of legend. This year he managed to bolster his Cannes cred after negative comments he made about digital cinema were turned into headlines by every major media outlet in all languages.

As Fremaux pointed out while introducing Tarantino, the filmmaker’s name is closely tied to Cannes and the year “Pulp Fiction” won the Palm d’Or is an important milestone in the festival’s history. That is why Tarantino was asked to participate in a press conference, an activity usually reserved for filmmakers with movies premiering in Cannes. Fremaux also noted that “Pulp Fiction” was the only title in the festival to be projected using 35mm film. “Everything else is DCP, digital,” Fremaux reported. “But obviously we wanted this film to be shown in 35mm.”

With that said, it didn’t take long for Tarantino to turn his attention, not to mention his ire, toward digital cinema. “As far as I’m concerned digital projection and DCPs is the death of cinema as I know it,” Tarantino proclaimed. “The fact that most films now are not presented in 35mm means that the war is lost. Digital projection, that’s just television in public. Apparently the whole world is okay with television in public, but what I knew as cinema is dead.”

After comments such as that, you can only imagine how many headlines screamed “Tarantino Declares Cinema Is Dead”. More than likely you’ve already seen a few of the thousands of stories in which the filmmaker’s comments on the subject are extensively quoted.

“I’m hopeful that we’re going through a woozy romantic period with the ease of digital and I’m hoping while this generation is completely hopeless that the next generation will demand the real thing,” he continued. “I’m very hopeful that future generations are much smarter than this generation and realize what they’ve lost.”

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“Gravity” Takes Off At 15th Annual Golden Trailer Awards

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In an industry that loves to award itself with never-ending accolades it should come as no surprise that there is a trophy for those who produce the trailers used to market new releases. Even more so because we’ve previously written about the Golden Trailer Awards, an annual competition that recognizes the professionals who craft movie trailers, television commercials and posters for new releases.

This year’s Golden Trailer Awards were held this past Friday at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills. The preview for Warner Bros.’ “Gravity”, produced by mOcean, won the top prize (Best In Show), as well as Best Thriller, beating out entries for other big titles such as “The Lego Movie“, ” The Hunger Games: Catching Fire“, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Star Trek Into Darkness” and many more. Sisters Evelyn Brady-Watters and Monica Brady founded the Golden Trailer Awards back in 1999 and report that a record number entries were submitted this year.

It’s a good thing then that there are plenty of chances for marketing professionals to take home a trophy. The Golden Trailer Awards has more categories (70+) than the Oscars (24); everything from Best In Show for the best trailer of the year to Best Film Festival Poster. There are even categories for Best Standee for a Feature Film, Best Pre-show Theatrical Advertising for a Brand and what must be a relatively new addition, Best Vine. Nor are the Golden Trailer Awards limited solely to motion pictures, as they include several trophies for marketing associated with video games.

My own personal favorite categories are Golden Fleece, which honors the best trailer produced for a bad movie, and the Don LaFontaine Award, which goes to the trailer with the best voiceover. (Don LaFontaine recorded voiceover narration for more than 5,000 trailers before his death in 2008 and is credited with coming up with the catchphrase “In a world…”). On Friday those awards went to, respectively, Dreamworks “The Fifth Estate”, produced by In Sync Advertising and 20th Century Fox’s “The Heat”, produced by Big Picture.

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Los Angeles Magazine and ArcLight Cinemas Hit The Road With March Screening Series

It has always been our goal here at Celluloid Junkie to bring our readers any of the interesting or noteworthy ideas we run across in the worldwide motion picture distribution and exhibition industries. The hope is that spreading the word about such items will help spur your own innovative efforts.

With that in mind, today I received an email promoting a special screening series taking place in Los Angeles (see below). In conjunction with the publication of their March issue which focuses on road trips, Los Angeles Magazine is teaming up with ArcLight Cinemas for a retrospective series of classic road trip movies. The screenings will be held at ArcLight’s Hollywood multiplex on Tuesdays and Sundays throughout the month of March.

Showing classic movies is not a new concept for Arclight Cinemas. The exhibitor has been holding Arclight Presents… screenings since 2002 when their flagship cinema first opened in Hollywood. If one of the most important factors in making such a series successful is marketing, then working with Los Angeles Magazine to help spread the word to a broader audience is a smart move on Arclight’s part.

Focusing on the theme of road trip movies may be a stunt, but not necessarily such a bad idea. It gives the program a hook, or at the very least a purpose, however slight it may be.

Now that digital cinema has been rolled out throughout North America, other circuits could just as easily curate and produce similar retrospective screening series to help boost attendance on days when admissions are traditionally low (e.g. Tuesdays and Sundays). Additionally, finding media outlets to work with in large urban areas should not be too difficult. Los Angeles Magazine is a part of the Emmis Publishing empire which publishes five additional regional magazines including Texas Monthly, Cincinnati Monthly, Indianapolis Monthly, and Atlanta. Modern Luxury is another regional magazine publisher with titles in Manhattan, Houston, Aspen, San Francisco among many others. Surely there must be similar outlets in Europe, Asia and elsewhere.

Let us know what you think of Los Angeles Magazine and ArcLight Cinemas teaming up for the Road Trips screening series in the comments below. Good idea? Bad idea? Could such retrospectives work in other cities?

Arclight Presents... Roadtrip Movies

TCM Celebrates 20th Anniversary With Free Screenings of “Casablanca”

TCM's 20th Anniversary Casablanca Screening
It’s hard to believe the cable network Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is entering its 20th year. It certainly doesn’t seem like that much time has passed since TCM began broadcasting some of the most beloved movies ever made into homes.

Apparently, time flies when you’re presenting classic films, commercial-free and without any edits. The network launched on April 14, 1994, and now reaches 85 million homes in the United States alone. To celebrate their 20 years on the air, TCM is bringing “Casablanca” to select theatres so that audiences can see the Academy Award winning film on the big screen. The 1942 film stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in a story of star crossed lovers that has set the standard for the genre.

I almost left out the best part of TCM’s plan; all of the “Casablanca” screenings will be free in honor of their 20th anniversary. The movie will be shown in 20 cities throughout the United States on March 4th of this year. The first ten markets have already been selected and include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. TCM is letting viewers cast votes to determine the remaining 10 cities in which “Casablanca” will screen. Voting is taking place online through February 10th.

The remaining markets will be announced on February 18th, at which point tickets will made available to all screenings will be made available via TCM’s 20th anniversary website. Tickets will be required for entry to each “Casablanca” screening.

According to the press release TCM published announcing the free screenings of “Casablanca” this won’t be the only anniversary event the network will hold, so stay tuned.

Celluloid Has Become A Rarity At The Sundance Film Festival

Happy Christmas

Lena Dunham and Anna Kendrick in “Happy Christmas”

Few annual events have chronicled the movie industry’s transition from 35mm film to digital cinema quite like the Sundance Film Festival. There were times during this year’s festival, which concluded over the weekend, where it was hard not to be reminded of the art form’s long journey from an analog to a digital medium.

When I first started attending Sundance before the turn of the millennium, just about every official selection was shot on 16mm or 35mm film negative and projected using film prints. It was rare to see an entry shot on Beta or high-def video and even rarer to see them projected that way. When the festival did manage to screen titles produced on video they were usually documentaries.

By 2003 the tide had begun to turn as low-budget independent films, both dramatic and documentaries, arrived at the festival either having been shot on Beta SP and HD Cam and were projected using high-def projectors. In those days, there was a stark contrast between entries shot on film versus video. This disparity between the formats was only made all the more obvious upon being projected. Selections shown on film prints were crisp and clear, whereas poor compression aliasing and muted colors often betrayed video when it was being used as a source.

But if time heals all wounds, it also improves technology, at least that which is used for film production. As we neared the end of the “aughts” the quality of entries shot digitally had improved tremendously. It was around this time that Sundance stopped including the medium in which a film was captured, simply denoting whether a title was color or black and white. This was also around the time that the festival began utilizing digital cinema equipment capable of meeting DCI requirements.

In 2008, Sundance premiered “U2 3D“, a 3D concert film featuring the popular rock group, on a giant 45 foot screen. “Cane Toads“, a 3D documentary about an Australian amphibian infestation, was screened in 2010 and by 2012 Sundance was screening a majority of its selections digitally.

Of course, this year the festival is mostly, if not entirely, relying on digital projection. Sundance may have no choice, given the increasing difficulty of actually being able to strike a 35mm release print. Filmmakers have the same issue securing 16 and 35 mm negative when it comes to physical production, forcing them to shoot digitally. However, camera companies such as Red, Arri and Canon have been manufacturing equipment that rivals 35mm when it comes to image quality.

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Sundance Walks A Fine Line With New eWaitlist System

Sundance Film Festival eWaitlist

Purchasing or acquiring tickets for the Sundance Film Festival has never been an easy endeavor, whether for patrons or for the event’s staff. An estimated 50,000 attendees clamor each year for tickets to hundreds of showings of more than 200 films officially selected by festival programmers. Screenings take place in at least 18 different cinemas spread out geographically from Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

As if the programming and venue choice wasn’t complex enough, Sundance has numerous ticket packages that attendees can select; packages for the full festival, VIPs, corporations, students, film industry executives and even local residents, to name just a few. Add to all of this the strict schedule throughout every autumn when most tickets and packages must be purchased and its easy to see why Sundance is hardly for the casual moviegoer.

For those who aren’t lucky enough to nab tickets before the festival, or who aren’t accredited as members of the press corps, there is still hope for seeing some of the most buzzed about films at Sundance each year. Any unsold tickets can be purchased same-day for USD $20 at specific festival box offices, or alternatively you can take your shot through the waitlist for each screening and pay only USD $15.

In years past, “waitlisting” a screening often meant standing in line up to two (and in rare occasions three) hours ahead of time to get a waitlist number, usually in frigid temperatures. This didn’t necessarily guarantee entrance however, since pass and ticket holders might fill up the venue leaving those on the waitlist literally out in the cold. The process was less than optimal and not much fun, though at times one could form friendships or business relationships in a Sundance waitlist line.

This year the festival is trying something new for waitlists to help avoid the hassle of standing in line for hours. Sundance has created an eWaitlist system enabling festival patrons to reserve a spot in line for screenings of specific films up to two hours in advance of their start time. Festival goers who have registered for the service can use the Sundance mobile app, a special Internet site or strategically placed self-serve kiosks to obtain a waitlist number. Attendees can even reserve a waitlist number with a friend, essentially making two reservations at once. Then, all they have to do is show up at the theatre where the film is showing no less than a half hour before it starts and find their spot in the waitlist line based on the number they were issued.

Sounds simple, right? Not exactly. Not only is the whole process new to Sundance veterans and rookies alike, it requires numerous steps every time a reservation is made. The festival’s eWaitlist page is chock full of details and there is even a four minute instructional video on how to use the system:

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When the festival began on January 16th, and throughout the first weekend of the event, the eWaitlist system was continuously down or inaccessible. When one was lucky enough to pull it up on their computer or mobile device, all available waitlist numbers disappeared within seconds as each screening’s reservations were opened up. If you weren’t online trying to reserve a number exactly two hours before a showing, when the eWatlist for the screening opened for reservations, you’d be shutout.

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Klip Collective’s Projection Mapping Impresses Sundance Film Festival Audiences

Before every film screened at the Sundance Film Festival, presently taking place in Park City, Utah, a pre-roll trailer is shown. This has been going for as long as anyone can remember. The trailers, often referred to as “festival bumpers”, are crafted by noteworthy filmmakers, artists or designers and are different each year.

This year the festival turned to Klip Collective, a Philadelphia based production house that has gained a reputation for using technology and various forms of media to create immersive and unique visual experiences. In 2013, Klip Collective created a piece that appeared in the New Frontier section of the festival titled “What’s He Building In There“. Based on a Tom Waits song of the same name, the work was a story about a man inside the building that was projection-mapped onto the front of a festival venue.

The project impressed Sundance officials so much that they were commissioned Klip to create a trailer for the 2014 festival and invited them to bring another project as part of the New Frontier section.

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival trailer (which can be seen above) was meant to mark the 30th anniversary of the event. Like last year’s project, it is a 3D-pixel-mapped work that is projected onto Park City’s Egyptian Theatre, one of the festival’s primary cinemas. The piece prominently features clips from some of the films that have shown at the festival over the years, including “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, “Clerks”, “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Reservoir Dogs”.

The project would not have been possible without the use of modern technology, specifically digital cinema. Two Barco projectors were set up across the street from the Egyptian, which is located on Main Street in Park City, and aligned for pixel precision. The following is a behind the scenes video of how the piece was projected onto the cinema when Klip shot the trailer on July 17, 2013:

One thing about these festival trailers is that for those of us who see upwards of 30 or 40 movies during Sundance, they can become mildly annoying. After seeing the same trailer so many times during the 10 day span of the event, its music and images begin to permanently inhabit our heads even when not watching films. One idea to alleviate such trailer fatigue this year might be to run a contest during the festival; anyone who can name all of the dozens of movies represented or referenced in the bumper wins or is entered into some sort of raffle. Just a thought.

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