Promoting European Oscar contenders


Hamburg, Germany-based and MEDIA Programme-funded European Film Promotion is presenting ten of the films submitted by their countries for Foreign Language Film award consideration at the Oscars. During the American Film Market, the screenings of titles seeking U.S. distribution will take place at the Wilshire Screening Room “Giving the entries maximum exposure in this crucial time in Los Angeles,” EFP opines, “attracts the kind of awards season attention which often leads to wide international distribution.”

This year, a record 71 countries submitted films for consideration. Nominations for the 85th Annual Academy Awards are announced on Jan. 10, followed by the Oscar ceremony on Feb. 24.

Kinepolis Catches Nîmes
The French subsidiary of pan-European Kinepolis Group increased its shares in Forum Kinepolis Nîmes from 79.92% to 100%. The company operates both the Kinepolis multiplex (12 screens, 2,928 seats,) and the Forum (four screens, 465 seats, ) in downtown Nîmes. “Kinepolis Group would like to thank the Martin-Baloge family for their cooperation and their many years of dedication,” the press office noted.

Century Cinemas Go Digital
Century Cinemas in Letterkenny, Ireland, installed eight d-cinema systems from Germany’s Kinoton. Reporting back from his visit with cinema owner Mark Doherty, Kinoton’s sales manager Lutz Schmidt relays some insights. So far, Century Cinemas hasn’t signed any virtual print fee (VPF) agreements. “Unless there is real value for us in doing so, we won’t take that step,” Doherty explained to Schmidt. “The VPFs we have seen so far wouldn’t do that.”

The reasons for going with the German technology are based on a collaboration that dates back to 2003, when Doherty began to upgrade the six-plex he had bought two years earlier. Two additional auditoriums were added in 2005, again with more Kinoton 35mm projectors and platters, before two Kinoton DCS and Dolby 3D systems launched in early 2009. “It was Kinoton’s reputation for excellence,” he said. “What has kept me going has been the quality of the equipment, service and support we receive.” Doherty, who operates several other entertainment facilities, “has very clear ideas about how cinemas should address the market,” Kinoton noted in return. For Doherty that means “to make sure to give moviegoers an experience that will make them keep coming back for more.”

A short video commemorating “Reelin’ in the years…” was posted by the Donegal Democrat.

Cologne Sounds Good

Thirty seminars, 20 film programs, hundreds of international guests from film, television, games and media, including Michael Nyman: The ninth edition of Soundtrack_Cologne will honor the maestro behind the music in Peter Greenaway’s films, not to mention his work on The Piano, on Nov. 17 at the Gloria Theater, a 1950s premier movie house turned event venue. To celebrate, Nyman will conduct his new, original composition for Dziga Vertov’s silent classic The Man With the Movie Camera live.

While convention disussions cover the aesthetics, technology and even legal aspects of music and moving images, another artistic highlight is a tribute to Frank Scheffer. The Dutch documentarian’s some 20 works on musicians such as Arnold Schönberg, John Cage, Brian Eno and Frank Zappa will be shown in seven distinct programs.

Discover European Talent

The European Film Academy and International Federation of Film Critics announced the nominees for the European Discovery 2012–Prix FIPRESCI awarded to a “young and upcoming director” for a first full-length feature film. The contenders hail from Denmark (director: Mads Matthiesen), Germany (Jan Speckenbach), The Netherlands (Boudewijn Koole’s Oscar-submitted Kauwboy), Russia (Angelina Nikonova) and the United Kingdom (Rufus Norris), and the winner will be announced during the 25th Anniversary European Film Awards on Dec. 1 in Malta.

During the opening-night gala of the 60th edition of the San Sebastian Film Festival, FIPRESCI awarded its Grand Prix for Best Film of the Year to Amour. This represented the second such honor for director Michael Haneke after Das weisse Band (The White Ribbon, 2009), who will once again represent Austria in the upcoming race for the Foreign Language Oscar. The 225 members of FIPRESCI vote on any feature-length film which premiered internationally during the previous year.

As the best film during the official selection, FIPRESCI jury members selected The Dead Man and Being Happy (El muerto y ser feliz; Spain/Argentina/France) by Javier Rebollo “for its audacity and the risks it takes in order to reflect on the expressive possibilities of cinema, narration and genre.”

Action Sports Across Europe
Also during the San Sebastian Film Festival, Red Bull Media House, the content production division of the well-known energy drink from Austria, announced plans for Heroes by Nature. Beginning in January 2013, the action-sports-focused event will be programmed monthly in movie theatres across Spain, Germany, Austria (exclusively at CineplexX), Scandinavia and Romania.

Each screening will include a theatrical feature and 60-minute documentary along with live broadcasts with the filmmakers and athletes. Noted Sophokles Tasioulis, Red Bull’s head of cinema and international theatrical sales, “Cinemas…will give audiences an entirely different, immersive experience of the extreme-sport world. We will bring new, young audiences to the movies and will provide filmmakers a prominent platform to showcase their films to a broader audience.”

At San Sebastian, more than 2,000 fans already enjoyed the world and European premieres of The Art Of Flight 3D and Storm Surfers 3D on the 400-square-meter 4,306 sq. ft.) screen of the Velodrome, equipped by and with Kelonik, Xpand and Doremi.

Miami Beach in New York
The closest thing to ShowEast in Hollywood, Florida? An Ocean Drive-themed and DLP gadget-driven “Holiday Spectacular” in Manhattan, powered by the event experts of Pepcom. Just before the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) predicted average U.S. holiday spending on high- and play-tech to increase from $246 in 2011 to $252 (with overall gifting up 11% to $1,634), your columnist (temporarily leaving his European beat) checked out the aisles and aisles of goodies that will be competing for the movie dollar.

Among the many headphones, media players, camcorders, digital cameras, game consoles, tablets, previews of Windows 8 devices, and DVR and Cloud solutions, the biggest news is miniature projectors powered by Texas Instruments’ DLP technology. While there are currently more than 30 products using TI’s DLP Pico chips, including laptop accessories, media players and even children’s toys, attachments to smart-phones seem to become the likely breakthrough product.

For iPhone and iPod Touch, Brookstone (HDMI Pocket Projector, with a “crisp image” up to 60 inches/152 cm with 85 lumen), 3M (Projector Sleeve, 60 inches, 35 lumen) and General Imaging all developed devices that allow one to “easily share videos, photos and movies in real time and project them up to 50 inches diagonal [127 cm] on virtually any surface.” To further quote from General Imaging’s description of its $129.99-priced ipico handheld projector, “Gone are the days of friends and family crowding around a small screen…”

The marketers at Samsung say that with those very same 50 inches “of whatever is displayed on the built-in screen” projected at 15 lumen and with more than 400,000 applications from Google Play, not to mention the movies available there, “the big-screen opportunities with the Galaxy Beam are near-endless." Frank Moizio, manager of DLP Pico projection, lauded “the same core technology used in most of the world’s digital movie theatres.”

Epson showcased its new Home Cinema 3020 2D and 3D home-entertainment projector (for under $2,000) to complement the higher-end PowerLite Pro Cinema 6020 and 5020 series (under $4,000 and 3,000, respectively). Enveloping your eyes like wraparound glasses, the company’s Moverio Android-based, WiFi-connected see-through display offers 80 inches/203cm perceived, Dolby Mobile virtual surround-sound support included.

Technology is great, but as theatrical exhibition knows better than anyone else, content matters! So, to make sure that those slice-of-life recorded images and videos look Hollywood (California) cool, CyberLink was on hand to showcase “the next generation of media creation tools.” The “Director Suite” includes editing, color correction and audio mixing capabilities to Blu-ray standards, “designed to empower users with the tools to create compelling digital media content.”

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