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LFCA Conference 2002 Re-Cap

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Written by: Ross Anthony/BMZ Staff
Date: May 2002

Re-cap of the most recent industry conference, which included exciting previews from Disney and IMAX Corporation.

  

Category: Columns

[Editor's Note: "The Large Format Cinema Association is a non-profit corporation created to benefit the large format cinema community of filmmakers, distributors, equipment manufacturers, consultants, exhibitors and others. Membership and full participation are available to all, without reference to specific film or video format." (provided by LFCA) The organization's annual conference is held each May in Los Angeles to screen new Big Movies and discuss topics of interest to the industry.)

The Large Format Cinema Association held its 6th Annual Conference and Film Festival at varying venues (Universal CityWalk, California Science Center, The Bridge, The Cinerama Dome) in and around Los Angeles, CA this May.

For the LF film fan, some of the biggest news was Disney’s stirring up the waters on the first day, showing off its many new projects including "Treasure Planet" (which has a gorgeous ship-launching sequence). This will be released in both normal, 35mm theaters and Big Movie theaters simultaneously - the first such endeavor. Disney boasted about "Ultimate X" enjoying a strong opening, and outlined their plans in the works to re-purpose "Tarzan," "Aladdin," and "Lion King" following the release of their new "Young Black Stallion," coming soon. Disney also announced that it had acquired the rights to distribute James Cameron's Ghosts of the Abyss in the U.S. and Canada (but did not show any footage). [Editor's Note: Cameron will break new ground with his distribution plans for "Ghosts." See BMZ BUZZ, 5/24/2002 for details.] The chatter around the conference regarding Disney's interest in LF was somewhat apprehensive. Will Disney heighten LF awareness and help smaller producers, or will those producers be muscled out by Disney’s financing dollars?

In other news that promises to change the Big Movie landscape forever, IMAX Corp. showed test footage from the blow-up of Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 – the first live-action Hollywood film that will be blown-up to genuine IMAX size and clarity using a new, special process developed by IMAX. For the most part the footage looked clear and impressive.

The rest of the conference included many industry-related panels. There was also a special lifetime achievement award given to Colin Low, who was involved with the production of several IMAX-format films during many years at the National Film Board of Canada, including the first ever in IMAX 3-D, “We Are Born of Stars.” Clips were shown of many of Low’s films, including “Stars”, and the presentation of the award was led by his son Alexander, writer of several well-known IMAX-format films, himself. Though simple in color - nearly 2-tone - “Stars” images of nuclei colliding and galaxies forming were completely fluid and organic, like dancers. Depictions of DNA, and water molecules lining up as they freeze gave me the chills. All to a wonderful marching score reminiscent of Ravel's Bolero.

Besides Apollo 13, the films-in-production session included films for which footage had been shown at a previous industry conference, although in some cases new footage was presented. The films included: Adrenaline Rush: The Science of Risk; India: Kingdom of the Tiger; Manatee: The Forgotten Mermaid; Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey; Santa vs. the Snowman (3D); SOS Planet (3D); and Straight Up: Adventures in Vertical Flight. Aside from Manatee (scheduled for a 2003 release), all of these titles are slated for release before the end of the year. Although many had expected to see footage from James Cameron’s Ghosts of the Abyss (3D), only a select group saw footage a day before the conference officially began. Editor’s Note: Please visit BMZ’s Coming Soon section for more info on these films.

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