ICTA selects best European cinemas

European Update

During the 22nd edition of its Seminar Series, coinciding with CineEurope in Barcelona, Spain, the International Cinema Technology Association will once again award the prestigious “Screen of the Year” Awards.

ICTA members voted for Tennispalatsi in Helsinki, Finland as the “Classic” of the Year and named the 14 screens (including IMAX) at Hollywood Megaplex PlusCity in Pasching, Austria as the best “New Build.” Arcadia Cinema in Melzo, Milan, Italy, received the “New Screen” of the year honors “for its technical renovation.”

The awards will be presented during a cocktail reception on June 18 at Boo’s Restaurant & Beach Club. With cheers abounding—and a special photo spread following in next month’s CineEurope edition of Film Journal International—we encourage you to check out, for now, the links provided in this column.

Barco Lights Up Star Wars Celebration

This column was completed on May the Fourth (Be With You), but we didn’t need to travel to a galaxy far, far away to get in the spirit. What is the best thing that has happened to light sabers of late? Seeing them laser-illumined on the big screen, of course.

Barco, Belgium’s “global leader in digital cinema,” recently joined The Force with Lucasfilm and ReedPOP at the 2017 Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Florida. In mid-April, fans welcomed the likes of Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels and Hayden Christensen to the “Galaxy Stage” at Orange County Convention Center as they watched a special tribute to 40 years of Star Wars. Screenings of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back were projected on Barco’s 17,000-lumen DP4K-17BLP.

“Knowing the high expectations of our most devoted Star Wars fans, we wanted to deliver an extremely rich, mesmerizing experience,” noted Mary Franklin, global event director at ReedPOP. “As soon as we observed the Smart Laser projector in action, we knew it would exceed our expectations, which Barco has continued to achieve during the past several years and Celebration events.”

Cannes Uncorks Wine Bar

What could be better than having cocktails and/or drinking bear at Boo’s in Barcelona? Sipping a glass of Mouton Cadet wine during the Festival de Cannes, perhaps.

For the 70th Anniversary edition of the International Film Festival, Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA, official wine supplier to the Festival since 1992, is reopening its famed Mouton Cadet Wine Bar on the sixth-floor rooftop of the Palais des Festivals. Reimagined by artist-designer Mathias Kiss, the setting will feature a Palm Springs-inspired villa with French Art Deco influence, “offering even more glamour, optical illusions and 180-degree views.” The wine bar will also feature the new collector’s Limited Edition bottle that is paying tribute to the anniversary.

Named “the most admired spot of the Cannes Film Festival,” the Mouton Cadet Wine Bar welcomed Woody Allen and Jesse Eisenberg last year, as well as Eva Longoria, Xavier Dolan, Nicole Garcia, Robert De Niro, Usher, Marion Cotillard and Léa Seydoux, to name but a few. The Wine Bar is also the one stop for the International Jury on closing night.

On-the-Move Producers Promoted

Staying in Cannes, at least on the page, European Film Promotion and its member organizations once again selected 20 of “the most promising up-and-coming European producers” to take part in the organization’s “high-profile networking platform,” during the Festival, May 17-28.

During the five-day series of “Producers on the Move” (PoM) events, this group will enjoy roundtable pitching sessions, one-to-one speed dating and case studies—one involving opportunities provided by the pan-European co-production fund, Eurimages—as well as other industry meetings. “The stakes for participation are high,” the organizers based in Hamburg, Germany, noted, and include “the key requirements that the candidates have experience in an international co-production and an international theatrical release in their portfolio.”

With that, the final selection shows that “quality and entrepreneurship are not limited to the big players of the larger European countries,” they wrote, “but can also be found in Latvia, Iceland or, as shown in previous years, in countries like Hungary.” From that country, PoM 2003 alumnus Victoria Petranyi sees her production Jupiter's Moon competing for the Palme d’Or, alongside fellow alumnus Patrick Quinet from Belgium with Rodin. Another competition title is The Square produced by Erik Hemmendorff and Katja Adomeit (PoM Sweden 2009 and Denmark 2015, respectively).

Ymagis Group Gains ‘Tech 40’ Status

Ymagis Group, “the European specialist in digital technologies for the cinema industry” including Éclair and CinemaNext divisions, received the prestigious “Tech 40” label as one of twelve newcomers to the list.

Awarded by a committee of independent European experts on business, financial and stock market performance criteria, this label spotlights the 40 top-performing European companies in the technology sector as listed on the Euronext markets in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Lisbon. Since the “Tech 40” label launched two years ago, Euronext noted that the index for these shares rose by 25% year on year. The 40 companies have a combined revenue of €10 billion, 45,000 employees and total market capitalization of €14.5 billion (US$15.9 billion).

While Ymagis co-founder and chief executive officer Jean Mizrahi is understandably proud of the achievement, it is equally reassuring to the cinema business in its entirety to be considered a successful and growth-opportunity industry. “This label highlights the innovative and technological nature of our business and will increase our exposure to European and international investors,” Mizrahi said.

Futuro Scopes Out Alcons

For the last 30 years, French attractions and adventure park Futuroscope has been entertaining visitors with its multimedia experiences and dynamic rides. To mark the start of its fourth decade, a new €11 million (US$12 mil.) state-of-the-art audiovisual experience opened, with advanced Dutch sound technology from Alcons.

Originally launched in 1992 as “The Magic Carpet,” this update reinvents Futuroscope’s IMAX set-up as “L’Extraordinaire Voyage.” Eighty-four travelers sit across three rows of seats on a floating and moving platform as they are whisked away on a ten-minute “flight” around the world. Their journey is accompanied by an orchestral soundtrack and sound effects, plus smells and wind effects. Complementing the 600-square-meter (6,460 sq. ft.) hemispherical screen is a 12+1 Alcons Audio pro-ribbon system.

Futuroscope’s technical manager, Yannis Marchet, said they “needed a system that would match the drama of the visual experience, playing the soundtrack at a comparatively high volume, but with no compromise on quality. The system also had to be mounted so that the sound from the surround loudspeakers could match the directional subtlety of the video.”

“The Alcons pro-ribbon drivers can fire through the screen,” explained Bruno Ghidionesco of Audiolead, Alcon’s distributor in France, “without any of the problems of reflections off the back of it from horn-loaded loudspeakers. And their perfectly controlled directivity means that the coverage and clarity is exceptional for such a dynamic audience experience.”