Paying Tribute to an Audio Pioneer

In Focus

This editor has known Ioan Allen for close to four decades. That’s a long time to have a business relationship, and it’s even more rare to have maintained a close, personal friendship during that span of time. Ioan is an incredible individual—producer, innovator, historian, executive, showman and audio professional.

Ioan’s contributions to motion picture sound are well-known. For nearly 50 years he has been a pioneer responsible for audio standards and new sound formats. Our tribute section in this issue reaffirms what many in the industry believe: “that film sound would not have advanced in the ’70s and ’80s as quickly and as successfully without the passion and drive of Ioan Allen.”

Ioan has been the backbone of the International Cinema Technology Association for more than 40 years, bringing to the organization credibility and purpose and inspiring everyone he comes in contact with. He has been the steady hand at the tiller, serving on the board of directors for nearly the entire time the ICTA has existed. His fundamental mission has always been to do what is best for the enhancement of the motion picture experience. One of the most important activities of the ICTA was the creation of the annual Seminar Series that Ioan spearheaded. The Los Angeles Seminar Series attracts more than 225 people from all walks of the industry to get together and disseminate information. It is the most important networking event in the technical arena and is a must-attend for those in the know. 

Ioan was one of the main catalysts for the establishment of the Inter-Society for the Enhancement of Cinema Presentation. This group continues to meet regularly, and one of its offshoots, the Inter-Society Digital Cinema Forum, is very well-positioned in the industry.

To show its gratitude to Ioan, in 2000 the ICTA established the Ioan Allen Award that is bestowed on a member of the group who has excelled in their dedication and support of the organization. The ICTA also made Ioan an honorary director to keep him involved and his creative brain working for the industry and the ICTA.

In the January edition of Film Journal International, you will learn more about Ioan’s career, his accomplishments and what people are saying about him. Here are just a few of the accolades:

“He was eager to share his vast knowledge of film presentation in a very collegial manner. Over the years, he has educated many of us about all the aspects of film presentation and standards, not just the audio aspects...this industry owes him a debt of gratitude.”—David R. Schwind

“I think it is fair to say that without Ioan’s diplomatic skills, we would not have cyan-dye tracks or the TASA trailer loudness specification—both efforts ultimately recognized by the Academy’s SciTech Awards committee.”—Douglas Greenfield

“Moviegoers everywhere will forever be in Ioan’s debt.”—John Allen

“It should go without saying that film sound would not have advanced in the ’70s and ’80s as quickly and as successfully without the passion and drive of Ioan Allen.”—Michael Karagosian

“You have always been a never-ending challenger, a pioneer and a great visionary.”—Dick Sano

“His advice, insight and support have been invaluable.”—Philip Kaufman

“I’ve worked directly with Ioan on the TASA Program, the Cyan Dye Track Committee, and during my time at Dolby we helped introduce digital cinema to the world.”—Ted Costas

“While Ioan’s technical presentations are well known to the ICTA, what you might not know is that he was also an Adjunct Professor of Sound at USC.”—Tom Holman

Congratulations, Ioan! The upcoming ICTA dinner in your honor is a chance to bask in the glory of your accomplishments and to allow your fellow associates to thank you for your invaluable achievements.


‘The Movie Defines the Month’

After a somewhat rocky summer, the 2016 box office is firmly back on track. In fact, in late November the domestic box office surpassed $10 billion, the fastest it’s ever reached that milestone. And as our January issue went to press, potential blockbusters like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Illumination Entertainment’s Sing had yet to open; their performance could lead to another record year.

Most interestingly, four of the year’s top seven films opened in “off” months: Deadpool in February, Zootopia and Batman v Superman in March, and The Jungle Book in April. As Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore, observes in an exclusive interview in our January issue: “It used to be ‘The month defines the movie’—now it’s ‘The movie defines the month.’ It’s amazing it took until 2015 to break the hundred-million-dollar opening-weekend record for December—with Star Wars—The Force Awakens.

We’d never done that in December, but if you look at the release dates of the more than forty movies that broke the $100 million barrier on opening weekend in North America, there have been more in November than in either June or July. The only months that haven’t seen a $100 million opening weekend are January, September and October. If it’s a good movie, moviegoers don’t care which month it opens.”

That philosophy, once resisted by the major studios, has been increasingly embraced by them in recent years. And it’s proven to be a boon both for the industry and for moviegoers who crave great entertainment all year round. The proof is in the numbers.