Long live the King!

European Update

With The Dark Tower just opened and It poised for September, it’s the season of Stephen King. Hard to believe that “one of the most frequently adapted and versatile writers in history, and as formidable a cinematic force as a literary one,” according to the British Film Institute (238 writing credits on IMDB), is about to celebrate his 70th birthday. Throughout September and October, a series of screenings of classic film and television adaptations will highlight a tribute at BFI Southbank in London.

In addition to masterpieces Carrie, Stand by Me, The Shawshank Redemption and The Shining (on the huge screen at the BFI IMAX), “Stephen King On Screen” will offer a “Birthday Weekender” summit (Sept. 21-23) with film quiz, talks and discussions. “Stephen King’s Picks” presents films such as The Hitcher (Robert Harmon, 1986), Village of the Damned (Wolf Rilla, 1960) and Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur, 1957).

A Brighter Blonde in Berlin

On July 17, the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Germany, went atomic. Universal Pictures International and Carl F. Bucherer watches celebrated the world premiere of Atomic Blonde. With David Leitch as director (John Wick Chapter 2) and Swiss actor Daniel Bernhardt (Logan, John Wick, Matrix Reloaded), the 1989 Berlin-set action thriller features two Bucherer brand ambassadors in key roles.

To match the action on the red carpet and onscreen adventure, the presentation was highlighted in Sony 4K “for big-screen thrills bursting with detail, color and jaw-dropping contrast,” Sony Digital Cinema Europe noted. Using the SRX-R515DS dual projection system (provided by Germany’s zweiB GmbH) proved ideal for the 1,627-seat auditorium of Theater am Potsdamer Platz, which is also home to the annual Internationale Filmfestpiele Berlin (see item below). Added Oliver Pasch, Sony 4K sales director for Europe, “It’s great to see a premiere of this caliber choosing Sony Digital Cinema 4K to ensure the picture debuts in best quality possible.”

A More Colorful City

European content-services provider Eclair and production powerhouse EuropaCorp presented the highly anticipated (and much more successful than stateside) premiere premium-release of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets in the high dynamic range of EclairColor. Across select cinemas in France and Germany, “EclairColor provides exceptional image quality and increases the impression of being in the thick of the action…with heightened contrast and a wider color range,” explained Christophe Lacroix, senior VP of Eclair. “It really has brought out the best,” added Agnès Berger-Sebenne, post-producer of the film.

Currently, 95 cinemas are equipped with EclairColor, roughly split between France and Germany. For an interactive location map, check here.

In related news, CinemaNext, which like Eclair is a business unit of Ymagis Group in France (FJI July 2016), entered into an agreement with Germany’s CineStar “to oversee all projection and audio installations, field services and technical customer service” for all their 52 locations, representing 409 screens.

Said Karl-Joachim Lohkamp, general manager of CinemaNext Deutschland, “It is a privilege for us to work with them.” “We found in CinemaNext the right partner to handle our needs from a technology standpoint,” noted Oliver Fock and Stephan Lehmann, managing directors of the CineStar Group. “Our industry is changing at a fast pace and this is the ideal time for us to develop…a cost-effective approach to carrying out services such as equipment installation, training, procurement, 24-hour monitoring, maintenance, year-round customer service and spare parts inventory.”

ECCO and D-BOX Move Forward

In another cross-country alliance of services and support to cinemas—and across continents, in fact—Canada and Germany are joining hands. ECCO Cine Supply and Service and D-BOX Technologies extended their longstanding agreement. Under the new two-year deal, ECCO has been granted the rights to resell and distribute D-BOX motion-cueing technology to exhibitors in Europe. So far, ECCO has completed nearly 90 installations across the region. “We can’t wait to introduce even more people to this unparalleled immersive experience and show exhibitors the tremendous effect this technology will have on their box office,” said Thomas Rüttgers, ECCO’s managing director.

“ECCO is one of the top service providers in the industry,” said D-BOX president and chief executive officer Claude Mc Master. “Their dedication to excellence is second to none. This agreement is one more step in our company’s mission to make our innovative motion-seating technology an essential part of the moviegoing experience around the world.”

Florence Celebrates Franco Zeffirelli

If ever there was a director who would further highlight the power of high dynamic range, exquisite sound (as good as, if not better than, 70mm mag) and probably of moving seats as well, that would be Franco Zeffirelli. Known for his epic flourishes and beauty that so duly befit the Grand Opera, this September sees the opening of a monument to his creativity.

Located in his birthplace of Florence, Italy, the Franco Zeffirelli International Centre for the Performing Arts is destined to become “a global powerhouse for exhibitions, education and training,” it was announced during a recent media preview.

Housed in the historic San Firenze complex, “it marks the fulfillment of a dream by the award-winning director and producer, pursued over the course of an extraordinary 70-year career [in] theatre, cinema, opera and music, as well as politics and culture.” According to the news release, the Zeffirelli Centre will offer exhibition and educational activities promoting culture associated with the art of show business and educating students in the disciplines of theatre, opera and cinema. The building also houses a hall for concerts and film projections, classrooms and workshop spaces.

Zeffirelli chose to give “all the papers, notes and sketches concerning my work…creating a Foundation so that my city, repository of priceless and unparalleled artistic and cultural values, may enjoy its own patrimony of the performing arts. This is my way of seeking to repay the debt of gratitude I owe to Florence.”

Berlinale Funds World Cinema

During the 26th session of the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund (WCF), jurors recommended contributing €524,000 to the funding of 13 projects (US$621,000). Five films from Bangladesh, Palestine, Brazil, Afghanistan and Uruguay were nominated for production funding. Another four from Tunisia, Brazil, Argentina and Egypt were added as part of WCF Europe and two from South Africa and Sudan/South Africa from the WCF Africa. Two films received €15,500 for their August/October theatrical releases in Germany.

This round of funding received 182 submissions from 47 countries. Since its establishment in October 2004, the WCF has awarded a total 173 projects chosen from 3,070 submissions. All WCF-funded films produced to date have screened in cinemas and/or shown at renowned international film festivals. A fact that organizers deem “evidence of the initiative’s worldwide success.”