Empire Leicester Square goes big with IMAX


The TCL Chinese (formerly Grauman’s) in Hollywood, Calif., just received a stadium seating with IMAX overhaul, and another classic is following suit for a late-2013 remodel in London, England. The introduction of an additional cinema along with a curved-screen IMAX auditorium—all in the former Screen 1—“will reinforce the Empire Leicester Square’s position as the home of the U.K.’s best cinema-going experience for years to come,” declared Justin Ribbons, chief executive officer of Empire Cinemas.

For Andrew Cripps, president, IMAX Europe, Middle East & Africa, the agreement “underscores the momentum that continues to build for IMAX in Europe and the power of the IMAX brand as the premium entertainment option at the world’s most renowned locations.”

The Empire opened in 1884 and, the partners noted, “from the earliest days of the moving image has been at the forefront of advances in cinema technology.” In March 1896, Louis and Auguste Lumière in fact presented the very first theatrical showing of a projected film to a paying U.K. audience in the same location. Since 2005, Empire Cinemas has taken its name from the theatre and now operates 162 screens in 16 cinemas as the U.K.’s largest independently owned cinema chain.

Screen Digests Giant Screens
In a recent report based on data collected by Large Format Examiner, the cinema experts at IHS Screen Digest noted that “growth of giant screens shows no sign of abating.” Of 818 worldwide, three quarters are housed in cinemas and 97% thereof feature 3D presentations. With almost 400 screens, not including circuit-branded experiences, the U.S. is the largest large-format market, followed by China with 250 open and/or scheduled to open. With 26, Russia is the only European country in the top five.

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European Nominations Revealed
The European Film Academy (EFA) announced 11 contenders for the annual People’s Choice Award, ranging from Anna Karenina (U.K.) to Searching for Sugar Man (U.K.-Sweden), and including multi-country candidate Kon-Tiki (Norway-Denmark-U.K.-Germany-Sweden) and international hit The Impossible (Spain). You may cast your vote here.

EFA members in 20 countries voted one national film directly into the list, which was complemented by titles selected by a six-person committee. Currently, the 2,900 Academy members are voting for their favorites in the categories of European Film, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenwriter. Nominations for European Cinematographer, Editor, Production Designer, Costume Designer, Composer and Sound Designer are determined by a seven-strong jury. The results will be announced on Nov. 9 at the European Film Festival in Seville, Spain. During the show on Dec. 7, Catherine Deneuve will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award and Pedro Almodóvar the European Achievement in World Cinema Award. “From its creation, the European Film Academy has been very generous with me and my closest collaborators,” the director gratefully acknowledged. “I share with them the joy of this award.”

Busan Books Euro Record
With 55 applications representing the highest number in the 16-year history of the European film sales support (FSS) agency, European Film Promotion “has been swamped with requests for FSS marketing support for Busan’s Asian Film Market.” Calling the budget extremely limited, project manager Susanne Davis noted that nonetheless, 29 titles yet unsold to Korea received €97,700 (US$132,000) in support.

Encouraged by the response, EFP expanded its umbrella booth at the Market to include 33 sales agents, more than doubling the number of 2012 registrants. EFP also supports a delegation of directors accompanying their festival films. Financial backing is provided by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union and, for individual titles, by the participating EFP member organizations from some 14 countries, including British Council, Danish Film Institute, German Films, Instituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual (ICA, Portugal) and Wallonie Bruxelles Images. First-time participant Andreas Rothbauer of Picture Tree International, representing Swiss-French entry Mary, Queen of Scots, noted how the number of European films enjoying “considerable success” there “is a great thing, considering Korea is one of the most expensive markets to release a film theatrically and given that local and U.S. films dominate.”

Pavilion Adds High Calibre Content

GFD Communications, systems integrator and exclusive Sony Digital Cinema 4K distributor for the Republic of Ireland, supplied Calibre U.K.’s HQView400DC alternative content scaler-switcher to the new cinema at the Pavilion Theatre cultural center in Dún Laoghaire. In addition to Dolby 5.1 and Meyer Sound, Sony’s SRX-515 projector illuminates the seven-meter (23-foot) screen in the 320-seat auditorium.

“The in-built, superior de-interlacing reduces image flicker and artifacts, and it is optimized for integration with digital-cinema projectors,” noted Pauline Brooksbank, Calibre U.K.’s managing director. The company says HQView400DC “gives stunning image quality from consumer and professional AV sources, providing flexible connectivity and…can be used as a routing switcher and universal interface [as it] vastly improves video image quality with better detail and clarity.”

Qube Masters Post Houses

QubeMaster Pro digital cinema package (DCP) encoding software is enjoying “high volume sales” to post-production facilities throughout Europe. At IBC in Amsterdam, Qube Cinema further demonstrated how QubeMaster Pro works “with a wide range of source material to pre-process, encode, encrypt and package content in one step, using a software-only solution that allows for faster encoding speeds.”

“QubeMaster Pro saves us time and has improved our post processes,” confirmed Anatoly Kuzmenko, chief executive officer at DCP24 Lab in Moscow, about mastering feature films, commercial video and 3D digital cinema content. “We no longer have to turn to different software when we change file formats.”

FIPRESCI Crowns Adèle

During the opening gala of the 61st San Sebastian Film Festival in sunny Spain (Sept. 20-28), the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) awarded its Grand Prix to La Vie d’AdèleChapitre 1&2, known internationally as Blue Is the Warmest Color. The 245 members of the association deemed Abdellatif Kechiche’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner as their best film of the year.