World's first LED cinema screen opens in Korea

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Asia / Pacific Roundabout

South Korea’s second-largest chain, Lotte Cinema, recently opened what it claims to be the world’s very first high-dynamic-range LED cinema screen. Developed by the country’s consumer-electronics giant Samsung, the screen reportedly is made up of 96 LED elements and measures 10.3 meters wide by 5.4 meters high, offering 4K image resolution. Although it does not need a projector, the screen affords a peak projection rate of 146 foot-lamberts, the equivalent of roughly ten times of what a common projector can achieve.

The exhibitor installed the screen at its Lotte World Tower location in South Korea’s capital Seoul, inaugurating it on July 13 with showings of Spider-Man: Homecoming and, the following day, Cars 3. Dubbed “Super S”, the new screening technology is complemented by a state-of-the-art audio system that was jointly developed by Harman Professional Solutions and Samsung Audio Lab and is being marketed under the slogan “True to Life.”

Lotte Cinema’s CEO, Won-chun Cha, called the futuristic “Super S” technology “a new paradigm of movie screening.” Meanwhile, HS Kim, president of visual display business at Samsung Electronics, said, “Through sharper and more realistic colors, complementary audio and an elevated presentation, our cinema LED screen makes viewers feel as if they are part of the picture.”

According to information obtained by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), Lotte Cinema together with Samsung Electronics is planning to also explore ways to deploy the “Super S” technology in additional areas that go beyond traditional film screenings. Since the LED screen is capable of operating in an extremely broad range of ambient brightness levels, the two companies will try to accommodate shows for children or those that incorporate a dining experience, as well as live broadcasts of sporting, gaming and music events, according to KOFIC.

Indian Court Clears Release of Controversial Film

India's Supreme Court on July 27 dismissed a petition that sought to have barred from being released a controversial Bollywood-produced movie dealing with the country’s state of emergency imposed in 1975 by then prime minister Indira Gandhi. The petition had been filed byPriya Singh Paul, a woman whoclaims to be the biological daughter of Indira Gandhi's son Sanjay, who died in a plane crash in 1980.Paul had argued the film, Indu Sarkar, depicted the state of emergency in a very negative light, distorted the historical context and that it was "full of concocted facts and totally derogatory.”

Indira Gandhi had imposed the emergency against a background of tremendous political, social and economic upheaval. Then India’s very first female prime minister, she suspended elections, severely curbed media freedom and civil rights, and even implemented a mass sterilization to counter the country’s uncontrolled population growth. However, the Supreme Court judges said in their verdict, which effectively threw out Paul’s petition, that the exhibition of a movie “is an artistic expression within the parameters of the law and thus there is no justification to prohibit the release of [Indu Sarkar].” The film opened across the country on August 4 as originally scheduled. The movie's director, Madhur Bhandarkar, expressed his satisfaction with the verdict, telling local media, "It is absolutely a great relief…and I welcome that the court held [the view] that artistic freedom cannot be curbed."

Laos to Submit Films to Oscars for First Time

The Southeast Asian country of Laos will submit two movies for the 90th Academy Awards next year. This will be the very first time the tiny landlocked nation enters a film in the world’s arguably most prestigious movie industry competition, reported the official Lao News Agency (KPL).The two homegrown movies selected by the Film Producers Committee of Laos to vie for the Oscar in the Foreign Language Film category are Dearest Sister (2016) and the considerably older title At the Horizon (2011).

Dearest Sister is a horror drama which so far has been released in almost 30 countries worldwide to great audience success. It tells the story of a young woman from a remote village who moves to the Lao capital of Vientiane to care for her wealthy female cousin, who lost her eyesight and gained the ability to communicate with the dead. Already released in 2011, the other film, At the Horizon, is a suspenseful social drama that masterfully narrates the collision of two worlds, the one of rich, influential and corrupt people on one side and those of the poor, disenfranchised but content and honest on the other. Produced by Lao New Wave Cinema Productions, At the Horizon, which reportedly was made with an estimated budget of only $50,000, won four awards (Best Movie, Best Director, Best Male Actor and Best Original Soundtrack) at the 2012 Lao Entertainment Awards.

Thai Military Draws Flak for Dunkirk Ticket Discounts

Thailand’s largest cinema chain, Major Cineplex Group, recently treated members of the country’s armed forces to discounted admission tickets for the Christopher Nolan-directed war epic, Dunkirk. The promotion was announced by the operator pretty much out of the blue on July 19, the same day the film was officially released in Thailand. While the chain very frequently offers ticket discounts via its various marketing channels, this time the campaign appears to have struck a quite sensitive nerve in the general public. Local newspapers reported about people complaining the military already was “one of the most privileged institutions in the country.” The comments were seen as thinly veiled discontent aimed at the broad powers the armed forces currently enjoy.

Thailand’s civilian government was overthrown in a military coup in May 2014 and the country is currently ruled by a junta that has been accused by both local and foreign critics of becoming increasingly authoritarian. Meanwhile, a video published by Major Cineplex Group as part of the campaign featured an unnamed soldier who implored people to watch the film so they could understand how much soldiers sacrificed for their nation: “I want people to come see this film and see the suffering of soldiers. Some people may think soldiers have it easy, but it’s not true.”

For inquiries and feedback, contact Thomas Schmid at thomas.schmid@filmjournal.com.