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Post-Ebertfest Reflections and Ruminations


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#1 Brian Rose

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 10:50 PM

Well, I got back from Ebertfest in Champaign, and it was amazing! A stellar group of movies spanning a host of time periods and genres, projected on a massive screen in a grand movie palace, by one of the best projectionists in the biz, James Bond (yes, that's his name), who happens to be an alum of my university. Go SIU!

This year, several films that originated on digital format were screened with a 2K projector, and I was mightily impressed. No artifacts that I could detect on that massive screen. Plenty of detail, bright vivid colors, and excellent contrast.

Also viewed a lovely 35mm print of Von Sterberg's "The Last Command," with a live orchestral accompaniment.

But the best by far was Baraka. Shown in 70mm on a Norelco DP 70 project, the print was BRAND NEW, struck from the ORIGINAL CAMERA NEG. Director Ron Fricke, who was there for a Q and A, said that he regarded it as the finest print yet made of Baraka. It was so new that Bond opted not to splice it together on a platter, and instead used two projectors, switching back and forth between reels. I never once noticed a changeover. True projectionists are artists, in my opinion. The print had not a hint of grain, vivid, saturated colors and superb detail in the shadows. And those motion controlled timelapse scenes! I showed up to the theatre two and a half hours early to ensure a good seat, and it was absolutely worth it. Now if only I could see Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm, but alas, that film has eluded me!

Anyways, I highly recommend this festival. It is, for me, everything a festival should be. It is something that praises the grand old formats, while embracing new technology, seen by hundreds of people who just LOVE movies, and all of which is brought together in a truly beautiful example of theater architecture and design. If you ever get a chance, PLEASE go to this festival. And I'll see you there next year!

Best,
BR
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#2 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 03:12 AM

I've never really heard of it before (then again, being Australian and young, I don't get that many film festivals or premiers), it sounds great and all.

Does it have something to do with Roger Ebert?
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#3 Brian Rose

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 03:57 PM

I've never really heard of it before (then again, being Australian and young, I don't get that many film festivals or premiers), it sounds great and all.

Does it have something to do with Roger Ebert?


You guessed right! It used to be called the Overlooked film festival, but everyone started calling it Ebertfest, and the name stuck. It's a curated festival, spanning five days and twelve films that Ebert selects, ones that he feels have been overlooked by either critics or the public. Overlooked formats are also given attention as well. There is usually a 70mm film, as well as a silent film with a live orchestra. The groups is eclectic: English and foreign language, some as old at the 1920s, and others as new as last year. Others are films that haven't been released wide, but circulate online and in film festivals (Like "Sita Sings the Blues). And to top it all off, he gets some great guests to comment on their films: directors, producers, actors. Werner Herzog often comes. The crowds are great. The most frequent comment I've heard from the filmmakers themselves when they present their films is, "This is the largest audience we've ever had." If you're ever stateside in April, do come to Champaign, Illinois. You won't regret it!

Best,
BR
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CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Aerial Filmworks

Opal

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

Glidecam

Abel Cine

The Slider

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies