Game on for Berlin Film Festival

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With “film and games moving ever closer together in terms of the way in which they are produced,” it made good sense for film festival head Dieter Kosslick to present the first Berlinale keynotes as part of DGT (German Game Days www.deutsche-gamestage.de). “The games industry represents one of the strongest growth sectors in the creative and media industries worldwide,” added Elmar Giglinger, managing director of co-presenter Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg, “and has built up an ever-increasing number of links to film, TV and music.”

Medienboard and Berlinale offered three international lectures on the subject. Story architect Anita Ondine (Seize the Media, London) talked about “transmedial narrative concepts” and game director Rupert Ochsner (Beta Film, Munich) showed how “Borgia,” Europe’s most expensive TV series to date, will appear in game form. Global business development executive Malte Wagener (Koch Media, Munich) illustrated how the online trailer success for Dead Island created “tremendous interest” from “a number of internationally renowned studios” who want to produce a film version of the game.

Maybe it could even premiere at the next Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin. The 62nd edition is booked for Feb. 9-19, 2012.

Producers Lab Toronto to Return
Following the success of the inaugural Producers Lab Toronto (PLT), European Film Promotion and the Ontario Media Development Corp. will present their second feature film networking and co-production program during the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, Sept. 8-18. “The platform encourages European and Canadian producers to partner on film projects with a high artistic, as well as commercial, value,” the mission states. PLT capitalizes on “the significant presence of the international film industry attending the Festival to provide a unique forum for participants and their projects.” The organizers further report, “Last year’s session has already resulted in one co-production agreement being signed, and feedback indicates that a lively exchange between the continents has begun, with the producers remaining in contact, comparing notes on projects and exploring ways to work together.”

Classic Movies Book Barco

Barco was the exclusive 4K digital-cinema projector supplier for the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival that brought digitally restored film classics back on the big screen at Grauman’s Chinese and other theatres in Hollywood. “With more than 70 screenings,” the Kortrijk, Belgium-headquartered company noted, “and dozens of movie celebrities in attendance, Barco joins a highly celebrated event to honor the classic era of American and European cinema.”

Barco recently completed its acquisition of CineStore operations and know-how from their fellow Belgian d-cinema experts at XDC/FTT (www.xdcinema.com) and brought all team members in-house to assure continuity for its 2,000 deployed screens (of 4,200 committed). Going forward, XDC activities will focus on digital-cinema services, company chief Serge Plasch noted. “Our technology and R&D team will focus on network, content-delivery services and integrated cinema software solutions.”

With Germany’s Film Ton Technik Rüttgers executing the rollout, during the HDF Kino 2011 tradeshow in Baden-Baden, XDC signed four locations of FSF GmbH, including Cineworld Recklinghausen for Barco Series 2 projectors and Doremi servers. And further east, in Croatia, Blitz-CineStar selected Barco as “exclusive digital-cinema supplier” for all ten of its multiplexes.

SmartJog Connects French Cinemas

UGC Ciné Cité Lyon became the 300th cinema in France to join the SmartJog network. SmartJog, billed as the “global leader in managed digital delivery services” (see FJI September 2010), has connected “all of France’s largest cinema screen networks, and as well as many French independent cinemas. On average, SmartJog installs around 20 new sites a month in France and plans to connect 500 of the country’s cinemas by the end of 2011,” the company reports. An additional 80 cinemas have already been connected via satellite in Belgium, Germany, Finland, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

More of Europe’s Finest in Theatres

Three outstanding works by Werner Herzog starring Klaus Kinski (Aguirre, The Wrath of God; Fitzcarraldo; Nosferatu The Vampyre) and 12 equally fine tales by Eric Rohmer, including his Tales of the Four Seasons, are now available to theatres from Europe’s Finest. All the films have been digitized in 2K DCI-SMPTE DC-28 standard and are available on DCP and/or Blu-ray. “These films are an important step ahead in our effort to save the European film heritage for the digital age,” said Tilman Scheel, head of the Cologne, Germany-based digital “cinema on demand” distributor that currently offers a catalog with some 60 European film classics and contemporary art-house films.

Cinema City Leases Palaces
Following up on our March 2011 item, Cinema City International N.V. has executed a lease agreement for three cinemas and 17 screens in Hungary that were not part of the initial purchase of Palace Cinemas. Going forward, the market leader in Central and Eastern Europe will also operate Palace Cinemas Duna Plaza in Budapest (seven screens with 1,682 seats), Palace Cinemas Nyir Plaza in Nyiregyhaza (six screens with 1,003 seats) and Palace Cinemas Kaposvar Plaza (four screens with 634 seats).

Lusomundo Showcases Student Films

A special shout-out goes to Portugal, where EB 2.3 Viso School in Viseu hosted an intense 24-hour digital production session. “aVISO@24” brought together not only former students, who had to come up with a five-minute short based on a variety of criteria and complete the film within the defined setting of their school, but also recruited four professionals from Lisbon to provide support on writing, directing, editing and coaching actors. “The program went very well indeed,” reports art teacher Carlos Salvador, who worked on putting it all together. “In the end we had seven short films, some of them really awesome, and all done from scratch in 24 hours.”

Best of all, on May 28, the public got to see the results on the big screen at ZON Lusomundo’s all-digital sixplex in town (www.zonlusomundo.pt/Cinema.aspx?c=VI). Special thanks went to the cinema’s Luis Martins and Marta Correia for supporting the arts, education and the community.

E-mail news and comments for Andreas Fuchs to kevin.lally@filmjournal.com.