Berlinale banks on digital technology


We have reported before about the digital efforts that the Berlin International Film Festival expends during its February festivities. In view of all the tech talk expected at CinemaCon, we are once again indulging the numbers nerd in all of us.

This year, 95% of the 2,500 Festival screenings and those at the European Film Market were digital. Not surprisingly, the technical crew found “distributing the films with their ever-larger data volumes [to be] one of the greatest challenges.” Thankfully, “seven enterprises are supporting the Berlinale this year in the field,” the press office relayed, namely Colt, EMC, Barco, Dolby, Doremi, DVS and VIDI.

Fiber-optic cable specialist Colt connected all the permanent screening venues with a bandwidth of 75 Gbit/s and, for the first time, provided its colocation services, which enabled the operation of the high-performance storage system supplied by EMC (with a storage cluster capacity of 400 TB). To transcode the films that were submitted in very diverse formats into DCPs, DVS supplied several Clipster post-production workstations while VIDI operated an HD-SDI transmission system with four channels “to ensure that the required HD video signals were transferred losslessly.”

Our friends at Dolby guaranteed that “everything also goes smoothly in the movie theatres” by checking over 50 venues before the Festival opens. Once again, Barco provided a selection of DP2K and DP4K projectors, “as these are crucial for transforming the Berlinale’s temporary venues into modern movie theatres.”

The 65th annual Berlinale is scheduled for Feb. 5-15, 2015.

Paris Promotes Independent Film

From April 4-6, the ninth annual European Independent Film Festival (ÉCU) will showcase 85 films from 32 countries ranging from features and shorts to documentaries, animation, student films and experimental works. ÉCU's Official Selection, organizers promise, “represents the very best independent filmmaking talents from the world.” Filmmakers compete in 12 categories for 22 awards, including “Best European Independent Film 2014.”

“We eagerly look forward to giving these great indie films the recognition they deserve by screening them to large audiences here in Paris,” said Scott Hillier, filmmaker and ÉCU’s founder. Host venue is the Cinema 7 Parnassiens, where “personalities from cinema, television and the arts, as well as filmmakers and film industry professionals, will mix with a cinema-loving public craving the energy, free spiritedness and innovation that embodies independent film.”

Berlin Debuts Avant Première
February 8 to 12 marked the debut of Avant Première, a new trade fair dedicated to the performing arts. More than 300 film professionals turned the Hotel Scandic at Berlin, Germany’s Potsdamer Platz into “the place to advance the international cultural film business,” organizers reviewed, “connecting filmmakers, broadcasters, distributors, directors, authors and others.”

In fact, 60 international public and private broadcasters (such as ZDF, ARTE, BBC, NRK and NHK) were trading over 500 of “the latest state-of-the-art film productions on music and dance” in the Avant Première Screenings while attending panels, lectures and seminars. One of the highlights was the showing of Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari in a “new and utterly digitally restored version” with equally new music by John Zorn.

The team from More2Screen attended Avant Première and will be participating at the Alternative Content Open House at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on March 26 as well. Managing director Christine Costello just told us that More2Screen has been appointed international distributor for the British Museum’s second big-screen event about Vikings, commencing in June. “Cultural events at the cinema are being welcomed with open arms,” Costello noted. “The British Museum is leading the way in showing how an exhibition—in theory fixed by time and place—can be transformed into a cinematic experience accessible to thousands of people around the world.”

Audiences at Vue Cinemas are a case in point, not only because they will have the opportunity to visit the Vikings. The U.K.’s Vue Entertainment reported record numbers of people attending its event cinema screenings with a 50% increase last year “and expects admits to double in 2014.”

Baden-Baden All Booked
Following on the heels of CinemaCon, all tradeshow floor at KINO 2014 is sold out, the German theatre owners association reports. “Naturally, we’re still fine-tuning,” HDF head Andreas Kramer says about seminars and programming. “We have a lot planned and will offer exciting topics to attendees.” To see what’s happening in Baden-Baden, from April 8 to 10, with Sony Digital Cinema 4K covering the product screenings, click here.

Amsterdam Eyes Cinema Remakes
EYE-The Netherlands Film Museum in Amsterdam has mounted an exhibition that “shows the work of filmmakers and artists who use iconic feature films as a basis with which to create something radically new.” Works created by Cory Arcangel (reinterpreting Colors by Dennis Hopper as “a mesmerizing, abstract play of colours”), Ed Lachman and Ana Torfs, to name but three, are combined with back-to-back showings of many a film classic, and its sometimes equally classic remake: double bills of Scarface (1932 and 1983) and High Noon (1952) with its science-fiction remake Outland (1981), along with “compelling evidence that David Lynch’s Lost Highway (1997) should be regarded as a remake of the crime classic Kiss Me Deadly (1955) by Robert Aldrich.”

“The remake is a familiar and frequent phenomenon in the world of cinema,” programmers noted. “Hollywood in particular often relies on existing films that were either trendsetters or made a lot of money in their day or country of origin. Besides popularity and profitability, there are also artistic considerations for remaking existing films and using them as a basis to create something radically new. Cinema Remake reveals how the phenomenon…has produced exceptional results, both within cinema and on the interface between film and visual art.”

Dublin Digs Love Eternal

Despite the fact, or just because Love Eternal is based on the Japanese novel Loving the Dead, Brendan Muldowney’s second film won the “Best Irish Feature” award at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. The news reached us via its French co-producers at Reel Suspects, who are “very proud of our beloved film.” Our sister publication The Hollywood Reporter further described the international appeal of this project. “This English-language Galway Film Fleadh premiere, an Ireland-Luxembourg-Netherlands-Japan co-production, will appeal to international festivals looking for offbeat material and has an outside chance of theatrical bookings, especially in Europe and the Land of the Rising Sun.” You may watch the trailer here.