All eyes on Amsterdam's EYE
On April 5, the EYE Film Institute Netherlands celebrated the opening of its spectacular new quarters within Amsterdam (www.eyefilm.nl/en). With a €40 million budget (US$52 mil.), the angular façade of white aluminum is located on an island directly across from the old city. On the inside, it “boasts state-of-the-art, top-quality projection equipment,” in the words of Kinoton, the Munich, Germany-based projector company.
From a central Arena space, ramps lead to four auditoriums, ranging from 67 to 315 in capacities, and two large exhibition areas. The Arena also houses the Institute’s film library. To meet the EYE’s “exacting requirements” in the preservation of historic film material, Kinoton’s Dutch partner, Rosbeek Techniek, installed two custom-built FP 75 E-S Reference studio film projectors with 35/70mm combination drives, which “support all common picture and sound formats back to the early days of cinema.” Digitally controlled, their Reference intermittent drive is “globally unique,” Kinoton assures, and “sets new standards with regard to focus, picture steadiness and brightness.”
Cinerama Lives at Pictureville
Speaking of 70mm, our friends at the Theatre Historical Society recently reminded us about the 2012 Widescreen Weekend at the Pictureville Cinema in Bradford, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, one of three in the world left (from about 150 at the height of the format) that can still present three-strip Cinerama “in all its splendor.” Film programmers Bill Lawrence and Thomas Hauserslev included “the usual mix of lectures, screen talks, format demonstrations, Kinopanorama, Super Panavision 70, three-strip Cinerama, blowups and maybe IMAX 3D, on screens in all popular sizes and shapes.” For more information about the event, check out www.in70mm.com/pictureville/2012.
Cinema City Opens in Ostrava
At the end of March, Cinema City International launched its 14th multiplex in the Czech Republic, bringing the company’s screen count in the country to 119. The new cinema in Forum Nova Karolina in Ostrava has eight digital screens and 1,195 seats.
Including the 2011 acquisition of eight Palace Cinemas, “the growth of our chain…brings us great opportunity to offer our best standards of cinema-going across the whole country,” said Mooky Greidinger, chief executive officer of the largest multiplex cinema operator in Central and Eastern Europe and in Israel. “We are currently in the process of repositioning our chain, which includes major refurbishments of our prime locations” and expanding related businesses such as cinema advertising and film distribution.
Throughout last year, Czech operations generated €26.8 million revenue (US$35 mil.), which represented one-tenth of the company’s total revenues, and attracted 3.6 million moviegoers. Respective increases of 96.8% and 94.8% over 2010 are attributed to the Palace purchase.
7,000 to Premiere MIB
Sony Pictures Releasing GmbH and Telefónica Germany are currently planning what could very well be the biggest bash of a movie premiere. Some 7,000 fans will be able to see Men in Black 3 on May 14 in Berlin. Will Smith, Josh Brolin, Nicole Scherzinger and director Barry Sonnenfeld are expected to attend the 3D screening at the O2 World. All proceeds from the event will benefit Bambi Stiftung, the charitable foundation of publisher Hubert Burda, whose media holdings include over 250 magazines worldwide with almost 70 titles in its German home market.
New York Celebrates Euro Spring
The Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), along with a variety of European cultural associations, continue to make sure that Manhattanites can see films from all corners of the world. In line with our column, we’re looking at Europe, of course.
From April 11 to 22, “Disappearing Act IV,” New York’s annual showcase of contemporary European film, presented 25 titles from 21 countries—all shown with free admission at the Czech Center’s Bohemian National Hall and the French Institute/Alliance Française (www.disappearingact.org). The System, a political thriller from Germany, kicked off “Act IV” at the IFC Center.
Meanwhile, promo and support agency German Films selected Lollipop Monster to inaugurate “Kino! 2012” at MoMA, running from April 23 to May 2. This is the 33rd program of the annual film series founded by Laurence Kardish, senior curator at the Museum’s Department of Film. Nine new productions are being presented with support from the Goethe-Institut in New York and the German Consulate General. “The focus this year is on films from the young generation,” German Films noted.
Along with several of the film’s directors and producers in attendance, a special reception celebrating 100 years of Studio Babelsberg honored the oldest generation. Der Totentanz (The Dance of Death), featuring Asta Nielsen in a newly restored version, was the very first film made at Babelsberg, in February 1912.
Moving on to Lincoln Center, the resident Film Society lined up the largest presentation of Icelandic cinema—both classic and contemporary—ever held in the United States. FSLC program director Richard Peña noted that “now even Hollywood is looking at Icelandic films,” reminding us that the recent Mark Wahlberg hit Contraband was actually based on Reykjavik Rotterdam. While Icelandic directors have been producing films since the silent era, Peña credits the founding of the Icelandic Film Fund in 1978 as really sparking a cinematic movement. “Fearless in their treatment of a wide range of subjects, and known for their brilliant use of some of the world’s most startling landscapes, Icelandic films celebrate the vital and continuing importance of the cinematic production of “small nations.” (www.filmlinc.com/films/series/images-from-the-edge-classic-and-contemporary-icelandic-cinema)
Moviegoers Ready for More Imagination
Research commissioned by leading gin label Bombay Sapphire shows that 81% of the international film community believes mainstream audiences now have a thirst for more imaginative films. Of the more than 3,000 people culled from Screen International and Empire magazine databases, 60% opined that “too much emphasis is being placed on new technology that could distract from the importance of imagination in overall filmmaking.”
Bombay Sapphire believes “imagination is the key ingredient in any creative endeavor,” noted global brand manager Joanna Botwood. “As such, we are working to understand how we can support the film industry going forward.” Thanks for shaking things up, if not stirring them.
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