Berlinale dishes out delicious cinema

European Update

While a huge array of global cinema offerings are listed on the menu of the 68th annual Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin, the festival’s “Culinary Cinema” sidebar this year is serving nine documentaries and one feature film under the motto of “Life is Delicate.” According to programmers, these offerings focus “on the relationship between food, culture and politics.” Explains festival director Dieter Kosslick, “When it comes to cultural and political matters, sensitive decisions have to be made all the time. It’s like in a kitchen, where it’s also tricky to make, at the very least, something edible and, at the very best, something delicate.”

Walking a decidedly delicate balance between one’s truly German guts and the fact that the Berlinale coined the theme as “Life is Delicate” in English, this columnist believes the intended wordplay does not quite work. In German, “delikat” means both subtle and fragile, as well as “delicious,” when it comes to food. Ready for some delicatessen, anyone?

Either way, the 12th edition of this culinary film feast does indeed provide some tasty offerings. Following the screenings, an assembly of top chefs will take their turns in the Gropius Spiegelrestaurant serving menus inspired by the films. One of them, 20-year-old “culinary prodigy” Flynn McGarry, is already the subject of his very own documentary. According to the Berlinale, “He is looking forward to the premiere of his film and to cooking in the Culinary Cinema’s kitchen.” Also on McGarry’s agenda is cooking with schoolchildren during “Youth Food Cinema” day, Feb, 22, in collaboration with Engagement Global and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Guten appetit!

More Time for Euro Film Market

Also during the Berlinale, the European Film Market (EFM) extended its EFM Horizon section to five days (Feb. 16-20). That bodes well for the workshop and presentation series, just one year after its launch. After all, EFM Horizon focuses on nothing short of “the future of film business and pioneering developments in the media and entertainment worlds,” organizers note. And plenty of future there is. For the 2018 edition, some of the “hot new themes” are artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain (a database that runs cryptocurrencies) and diversity in the film industry.

In addition to such digital innovations and current developments in technology, horizons will be widened on “the storytelling of tomorrow and ideas for new business models and strategies.” As always, EFM Startups will be bringing “the film industry into contact with original and lateral thinkers in the creative industries and technology scene.” Ten startups from Berlin and Europe as well as two from Canada, the focus country at the EFM2018, have already been selected.

With virtual reality in the marketplace, the “VR Cinema at Marriott” was added to the lineup of screening locations, including mainstream movie and art houses.

ARRI Says Bigger Is Better

The legendary designers at Munich, Germany-based Arnold & Richter Cine Technik (ARRI) unveiled a complete large-format camera and lens system. ALEXA LF is based on a 4K version of the ALEXA sensor, that is “slightly bigger than full frame” and records native 4K on different formats, including uncompressed, unencrypted ARRIRAW up to 150 fps. The resulting 4448 x 3096 image “doesn’t just add definition,” explained the company’s product manager for camera systems, Marc Shipman-Mueller, “it creates a whole new look—one that is truly immersive, with a three-dimensional feel.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has recognized ARRI’s engineers and their contributions to the industry with 19 Scientific and Technical Awards.

…And Cinerama Certainly Agrees

The Cinerama Restoration Team is on tour again, screening a variety of three-panel Cinerama process triptych motion pictures from its legacy library at events in New York City (“To Save and Project,” Museum of Modern Art), Amsterdam, the Netherlands (EYE Filmmuseum) and Paris, France (“Toute la memoire du monde,” Cinématheque Française). During these special presentations, Dave Strohmaier, chief restorationist, and producer Randy Gitsch, who have overseen the digital remastering and recombination of these pictures, present a historical backstory and restoration demonstration.

A standalone screening of Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich is slated for the “Ultimate Screen” at Colosseum Kino in Oslo, Norway, where the Norwegian-American “Cinemiracle” co-production originally premiered in 1958. Check out the trailer here.

CTC Welcomes New Governors

The global cinema technology network CTC announced the appointments of Sarah Lewthwaite, managing director and senior VP, EMEA, at Movio, and Sandie Caffelle, sales and marketing manager at Jack Roe, to its board of governors.

Delighted to welcome both women to the team, CTC’s president Richard Mitchell noted: “Whilst traditionally CTC has focused on technological developments within the auditorium, technology has spread rapidly throughout the cinema estate from ticketing through to point-of-sale, loyalty programs, digital signage and interactive experiences.” With the appointments, CTC can count on their “significant knowledge and expertise” in those areas.

Before joining the leading global marketing data-analytics company, Lewthwaite was marketing VP at Cineplex Entertainment in Canada. As one of Celluloid Junkies’ “50 Top Women in Cinema 2017,” she also received mentoring under UNICs Women’s Cinema Leadership Scheme. Caffelle has been at turnkey cinema IT systems provider Jack Roe for over 26 years. She is widely respected, Mitchell added, “for delivering tailored solutions to exhibitors and supporting these with outstanding customer service.”

In time for CinemaCon, CTC will also be naming further governors and be announcing its new advisory council. The 15 people have been chosen “to help provide steering and support on key focus areas and future outputs for the organization,” making sure these are aligned to the objectives of the industry. For further information on CTC including membership opportunities, e-mail

Kinepolis on Course in Canada

Belgium-based Kinepolis Group announced the first two new projects since acquiring Landmark Cinemas Canada last December. The company reached an agreement with Magic Lantern Theatres to take over and complete their Brighton Marketplace development in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, by June this year. At the same time, Landmark Cinemas announced a real estate partnership to open a premium movie theatre at CF Market Mall in Calgary, Alberta. The latter will feature five auditoriums and luxury recliner power seating by spring of 2019; the Brighton site will have seven with premium recliner seating.

European and Canadian holdings combined, Kinepolis Group now operates 93 cinemas (43 of which it owns) in eight countries, with a total of 814 screens and more than 180,000 seats.