Germany marks 25 New York City premieres

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The special industry screenings of new German films in New York City have now showcased 25 titles since debuting in November 2004.

On June 14 at Tribeca Cinemas, Oliver Mahrdt of German Films Service + Marketing welcomed director Ralf Hüttner and world sales agent Dirk Schürhoff of Munich, Germany-based Beta Cinema for a showing of Vincent Wants to Sea (Vincent will meer). Enthusiastically received, this vibrant road movie has character, heart and humor, and certainly was the perfect milestone addition to German Premieres.

“It is quite surprising in the fast-paced city of New York that we were able to create a long-lasting series of German films,” Mahrdt declared, noting the “steady success rate of movies that were picked up for North American distribution.”

Also receiving financing backing is another film that received U.S. distribution—Visions, which opened MoMA’s Kino!2010 and will be released by Zeitgeist in the fall (http://bit.ly/euro0810b).

As part of the “Distribution Support” program that German Films set up in 2005, films can apply for funds up to €50,000 (US$61,500) to cover additional promotional activities for the releases. During the last meeting, German Films awarded nearly €100,000 for 12 titles to find theatrical audiences from Argentina to Taiwan.

Cineworld Commits to Digital
Arts Alliance Media (AAM, www.artsalliancemedia.com), the London-based digital-cinema facilitator, announced “two significant milestones on the road to converting Europe’s cinemas to digital.” In addition to signing Cineworld Group (www.cineworldplc.com) to take all of the circuit’s 790 screens at 77 locations into the digital age, AAM also announced the closing of a €50 million (US$61.5 mil.) financing deal with Sankaty Advisors (www.sankaty.com), a division of Bain Capital, to fund the conversion of over 1,000 more screens in AAM’s existing pipeline of exhibitor deals. “It’s clear that the transition to digital cinema has reached a tipping point,” noted David Ross, executive VP at Sankaty, “and that AAM are at the forefront of this transition.”

The Cineworld deal, which the circuit will finance from its existing financial resources and cash flow, is expected to represent an investment of approximately £30 million (US$44.8 mil.) over the next three years, in addition to the £10 million that were already spent digitizing the first third of the circuit until now. Commenting on the deal, Cineworld CEO Steve Wiener said, “Digital is a core part of our strategy. We are delighted to be at the forefront of the U.K. cinema industry in offering our customers the very best in entertainment in every Cineworld location.”

Kinepolis Masters 3D Images

During last month’s Cinema Expo, MasterImage 3D (http://masterimage3d.com/) and pan-European exhibitor Kinepolis Group (www.kinepolis.com), with 317 screens at 23 megaplexes, announced a joint initiative. Kinepolis has purchased and installed MasterImage MI-2100 systems covering 35% of their digital screens to date, with a rollout of an additional 8% planned by year’s end.

“MasterImage’s approach gives us what we need most—the best presentation for our audiences and a business model that makes sense,” said Nicolas Hamon, Kinepolis’ projection and sound manager, about the fact that the circuit will own the equipment outright and has the option of using either one-time or reusable polarized glasses.

Tromatizing Germany
On the occasion of Troma Entertainment’s 35th anniversary (www.tromanale.org), Lloyd Kaufman, company president and creator of The Toxic Avenger, will be attending a mid-July retrospective in three German cities. On the program at Berlin’s Raw Temple (www.raw-temple.de), Cinestar Saarbrücken (http://bit.ly/euro0810c) presented by “SplatterdayNight Fever” and KommKino Nürnberg (www.kommkino.com) are, among others, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead and the world premiere of Markus Jurchen’s fan flick Attack of the Tromaggot (http://bit.ly/euro0810d).

Visual Acuity Opens Dome Theatre
The May 27 opening of “the most modern and technically advanced visualization space in Europe” required nothing short of the presence of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. In the words of Brighton, United Kingdom-based technology consultancy Visual Acuity (www.visual-acuity.com), the royal ceremony opening the Dome at Visualiseringscenter in Norrköping (http://bit.ly/euro0810e) “marked the end of an extraordinary three-year design and construction process.”

Constructed within the river-flanking 19th-century shell of a former turbine-driven power station that once supplied energy to the local textile industry, the 14.8-meter diameter (49 feet) Dome theatre seats up to 102 people. The projection space was designed for academic research as well as for “the screening of educational and entertaining 2D and 3D presentations,” for conferences, live performances and equally alive usage of “state-of-the-art datasets for astronomy and human biology” that showcases the research of the University of Linköping.

Technology providers to the project include Spitz Inc. for the perforated aluminium NanoSeam dome screen (165° by 360° field of view and tilted by 27° to create a room within the room). HoloVis International designed and installed a six-projector full-dome stereoscopic display system (with a seventh projector as a backup and for presentation use), all integrated using 7thSense Delta Media Servers and a Medialon custom control system. Swedish AV company Mediatec provided a 7.2-channel surround sound system from JBL and specialist LED cove lighting. Last but not least, the Dome theatre system uses an active stereo 3D solution from XpanD. About “the attention to detail needed for the project,” Visual Acuity pointed out that they even “planned for a room to house the glasses washer.” For a time-lapse video of how the Dome came together, go here: http://bit.ly/euro0810f.

Acuity’s lead consultant Mark Matthews concludes, “While most domed projection spaces are new-build projects that offer you a clean slate, the existing building imposed a lot of constraints on the design of the spaces within it. We are proud of our work in making this project a reality, and having worked so closely with the University through the design and implementation of the project, we are confident that great things will be achieved within the building.”

iSuppli Feasts on Screen Digest
With the declared goal of “expanding its industry-leading analysis of the electronics value chain into the fast-growing media market,” California-based iSuppli Corp. (www.isuppli.com) agreed in principle to acquire Screen Digest. The London-based analyst experts have been providing market research covering film, TV, broadband media, mobile media, cinema, home entertainment, TV technology and videogames for over 40 years (www.screendigest.com).

“The addition of Screen Digest’s vast range of intelligence services would enable iSuppli to offer its clients the most complete understanding of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) value chain in the market research business today,” noted Derek Lidow, president and chief executive officer of iSuppli. Allan Hardy, managing director of Screen Digest concurred: “With developments in the media industry increasingly tied to the proliferation of new technology platforms and services, iSuppli and Screen Digest will be uniquely positioned to help clients throughout the TMT supply chain understand and capitalize on the forces reshaping the global entertainment and electronics businesses.”

E-mail news and comments to Andreas Fuchs at info@creativecinema.net.