Notes from the 12th 7OMM Seminar in Krnov, Czech Republic
Getting to Krnov by planes, trains and automobiles
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|Written by: Thomas Hauerslev||Date: 12.04.2017|
About the 7OMM Seminar
|In the middle of Europe is the Czech Republic. Sandwiched in between its neighbours Poland to the north, German to the west, Austria to the south and the Slovak Republic to the east. Prague is the capital with 1,3 million people, with nearly one tenth of the population, and I hear it is a beautiful city. This is my third visit to the country, which have given birth to many people of culture, including Miloš Forman, famous film director of "Amadeus", and the actor Herbert Lom, who made many people laugh as Chief Inspector Dreyfus in the Pink Panther series.|
I was going to the Czech Republic to see 70mm films. This time - as my previous two visits - my goal is the small town of Krnov, in the north east part of the country. Just a few meters from the Polish border, and according to Wikipedia, this area has been inhabited by people since the Stone Age. A respectable record, since the Stone Age ended about 10.000 years ago. The locals joke about Krnov's remote location, and call it "The Far East". But don't let that put you off. Krnov is 315 meters above sea level, and around 24.000 people live here. In the middle of Krnov is the Kino Mir 70 cinema, "The Cinema of Peace 70", built many years ago in the 1920s. Kino Mir 70 is one of Krnov's most important centers of culture and the city is a happy sponsor of the annual 7OMM Seminar.
|More in 70mm reading:|
• Home of "7OMM Seminar" at Kino Mir 70, Krnov, Czech Republic
• KRRR! 12th 70mm Film Fest Krnov 2017
• KRRR! 12th 7OMM Seminar, Krnov, Czech Republic
7OMM Seminar Through the Years:
• Film Program
• Text and Image
• Počátky Todd-AO
Kino Mir 70
Namesti Miru 14
794 01 Krnov
The Czech Republic
Telephone: +420 554 615 050
Head of the Kino Mir 70: Pavel Tomešek
• Festival Page
• KRRR! Facebook
|Mr Pavel Tomešek (52), Manager of the Kino Mir|
Since the first Seminar in 2006, Kino Mir 70 is the home of one of Europe's most sustainable 70mm film festivals, with a new festival every year in April. Mr Pavel Tomešek, Manager of the Kino Mir since 1995 (from 1987 he was a projectionist), is the passionate and spirited organizer of this 70mm event, where fans of big pictures come together and enjoy the faded wonders of the '60s. A giant unforgettable weekend of double sized films where the classics of depth and sharpness on celluloid is celebrated. The 70MM Seminar is nicknamed KRRR! which is the symbolic sound from a 70mm projector, and a homage to the city of Krnov. The logo is a stylized hand forming the digits "7" and "0". Much effort has been done to use the logo where possible including the official festival page.
I have been here before by the invitation of Pavel. First time in 2008 (Lecture: Fantastic Film Formats), next in 2015 (Lecture: The Todd-AO Story) and now in 2017. My small bit this time is a 45 min lecture Saturday morning about Danish Road Show 70mm Cinemas, specially created for this visit. My travel companion is Mark Lyndon from London. Mark is the Head of the British Delegation (there is only him) and closely associated with in70mm.com, and sort of an honorary staff member (which means he doesn't get paid). We met in Prague airport and flew to Ostrava together, where we were met by the festival driver Eric and Jakub, who drove us to the Steiger Hotel, our residence the the weekend.
The Kino Mir 70
|Cool Krnov Dance Scene|
The Kino Mir 70 is a short walk from the city centre and about 15 min from hotel Steiger where several of the delegates stayed. It is in a quiet part of town, next to a lake, which again is a part of the river Opava going through the city. It's almost like a big castle, when you stand in front of the cinema. Two sets of glass entrance doors mounted in wooden frames. Poster displays between doors. Above the doors, a canopy decorated with KRRR! flags. Decorating the facade are three large paintings with nude women playing music instruments, revealing this is a house of culture. Inside the foyer to the left is the staircase to the cinema, which is located directly above the foyer and to the projection department. Opposite the entrance doors are the wardrobe, where the staff attends to your coat and bag while you watch the film. Between the entrance doors, and behind the poster displays is the box office and sweets shop. The marble floor is pleasant to look at and gives a nice atmosphere in combination with the wood panels throughout the foyer. Next to the wardrobe are the toilet facilities.
During KRRR! the foyer is decorated with an authentic exhibition of vintage 70mm projectors; from the DP75, Meopta 35/70 and Favorit 70 to their smaller 35mm siblings. It's a rare treat to have your lunch in the foyer sitting next to a Philips DP75. Uniquely 70MM Seminar Stimmung is to eat your Goulash or sausages among projectors and film posters in a cinema with friends. The Kino Mir is handicap friendly, and recently also had a lift installed to make access to the cinema much easier. Opposite the lift, a grand staircase leads you several floors up to the cinema. Along the stairs, walls are decorated with film posters from previous 70mm films, as well as projectors exhibited here and there. The Kino Mir 70 has 322 seats, arranged on 14 curved rows. The curved screen is 7 × 15 meters (6.21 × 14,15 meters for 70mm) meters wide, and covered with a green curtain. The screen has moveable masking so is actually gets taller when 70mm is projected. The is only enough space behind the screen for the five channel of screen speakers. There is a stage between the screen and the audience. The comfortable seats are green too. It is refreshing to see a green cinema, when everything seems to be red today in almost any cinema. “The cinema is green, because it is good for the soul. It relaxes you” says Jakub Klima, long time associate of the 7OMM Seminar. Walls are also covered in green velvet, which is good for the sound quality. The ceiling is white plaster, with ventilation and lights. Ventilation is very effective in this old cinema.
Program Day by Day
|Ladies in foyer|
My itinerary prevents me from seeing the first film on the program on the Friday. Even though Mark and I arrived in the middle of the Russian film "Romans O Vlyublyonnykh" (Романс о влюбленных), we didn't see the final second half. I was sorry to miss it, because this is a very rare chance to see some Russian 70mm culture. Anyway, we can't have it all, and after 8 hours of travel we kind of needed a beer. Jakub introduced us to his sister Barbara, who managed the 7OMM Seminar accreditation & festival passes for us. We stayed in the foyer meeting the other guests as they gradually arrived. The Swedish delegation almost arrived at the same time as us.
There is a nice mix, as always, between 65mm/70mm (Russia and East Germany used 70mm negatives in the camera) and blow-ups. To sum it up, we had a 27 minutes Russian 70mm "Stereo 70", 3D film ("Igry Zhivotnykh" (literally: "Games of Animals") by Nela Gulchuk) from Stereokino (recently found in Poland) shown as 2x 2D, because the 3D projection has yet to be found, and there are not enough Carl Zeiss Jena 3D glasses for everyone. Maybe next year in 70mm 3D? And then there was 1,85:1 blow up, 2,39:1 blow up, Sovscope 70, DEFA 70, Todd-AO and a digital blow-up, and different sound formats like Datasat, 6 track Dolby Stereo and regular 6-track mag Todd-AO style. And that included two Steven Spielberg films and three films music by John Williams.
Although I have seen all the titles (except the Sovscope 70 title), I will enjoy watching several of them again. I can't see all of it, I need to relax too, and eat from time to time. I look forward to seeing "Patriot Games" in 70mm for the first time. I very much enjoy the Dolby Stereo sound in 70mm. A quality and fidelity which I think, has yet to be surpassed by digital technologies. 25th anniversary screening of "Far And Away" is a nice film too, and I look forward to see it again. It was photographed in 65mm with the (then) new System 65 cameras from Panavision way back in 1991 by Mikael Salomon, ASC from Denmark. "Hook" will be a nice re-visit too, but not for the story. I ran the film myself in 70mm at the Imperial Bio in Copenhagen way back when it was released, and remember it having one of the best magnetic sound tracks I'd ever heard. The music was by John Williams (as are "Empire of the Sun" and "Far and Away"). I don't care much for that kind of fairies/adventure, but Dustin Hoffmann and Bob Hoskins are priceless.
Any time I get an opportunity to see something in Todd-AO I jump to the occasion, and "STAR!" is no exception. Despite a very late start (20:40) for a musical of nearly three hours. I plan to see it, and hope I can stay awake. The same goes for "Where Eagles Dare" Sunday morning. I HAVE to see it again. One of my teenage pleasures, and forbidden for children under 16 in Denmark when it came out in 1968. Not only forbidden, but STRICTLY forbidden proclaimed the adverts. That tickled my desire to see it even more.
Before Friday night's presentation of "Empire of the Sun" Pavel Tomešek, Chief of the Kino Mír 70, Marcela Procházková, Festival Manager and Director Petra Manczalová, MIKS officially opened the 7OMM Seminar. City dignitaries from the Town Hall and the city of Krnov represented by Jan Krkoška, Deputy of Regional President and Deputy Mayor Michal Brunclík welcomed all guests to the 7OMM Seminar and wished them a splendid weekend. The delegation of international guests were thanked for their participation and enthusiasm they are showing the 7OMM Seminar in Krnov. It is important for the city to welcome all foreigners to the city. It is very important to keep it running, and the guests is key to this success. All speeches were simultaneous translated into English by Mrs Bara Stepanova, the best translator of the Czech Republic I was told. Thanks to that, the foreign delegates could follow the speeches. Thanks for the translation, it is much appreciated. Pavel told the audience how Mir's Meopta 70mm projectors and projection lenses are reaching 50 years of age. He would like to change the projection lenses to a newer model, and update the picture quality. Let's hope he can find sponsorship from the city for that.
|For the sweet tooth|
Following the official opening we saw the 70mm trailer from "Far and Away", affectionately nick named "This is our movie", where Ron Howard and Brian Grazer explains the virtues of 70mm film. Great sound and stereo - in fact, many think the trailer sound is far better than the actual film. Following the trailer, the entire audience was invited on stage to be part of a traditional group picture. A great number of the audience quickly filled the stage. On the photographers command it was all big wide 70mm smiles and the KRRR! hand sign. Mark and I left shortly afterwards to get supper at the Hermes restaurant with Peggy and Paul Rayton from Los Angeles, and Hans Hänssler, URC Video Service, Stuttgart in Germany.
The following morning at 9 it was "Far and Away" time, and then it was my turn to do my small bit. A new lecture especially prepared for this seminar. A 45 min old-fashioned slide show with running English commentary. A pure picture presentation about 60 years of large Danish road show 70mm cinemas, IMAX and Special Venue 70mm entertainment. At the last moment Pavel wanted the presentation to be translated to Czech too. I didn't prepare for it, but we solved it by limiting my stream of talk, and extending the time of each slide of the presentation with some additional seconds. Bara Stepanova came to the rescue once again, and translated my words for each slide. First I did 20 sec of talk, and then she took over for 20 seconds and repeated what I just said in Czech. An amazing job by Bara, I am full admiration for her skills. It worked beautifully and the audience seemed to like it. As conclusion to the presentation, and before lunch, Pavel ran a reel of "2010".
|Martin Bodešínský, Martin Leskovský & Petra Pokorná|
After a break, I returned later this Saturday afternoon and climbed one floor up to Pavel and his projectionists to take pictures, video clips and see what's going on. Maybe even take a sniff of the mag striping on the 70mm print, which is essential during any 70mm festival. 70mm smells of film, magnetic oxide and the old adhesive that holds it on the film -- and sometimes vinegar, the result of the aging process of the acetate film. The odor flows through the projection area as a "perfume" for wide film nerds. Upstairs in projection, through a narrow staircase filled with 70mm transportation boxes, it is still two Meopta UM 35/70mm machines which are the core of 70mm projection. They were installed in 1969 for the Todd-AO premiere of "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, or how I flew from London to Paris in 25 hours and 11 minutes" (23. May 1969). The two majestic Czech 70mm projectors are very quiet when they run. The room itself is also home to a modern digital projector and a third 35mm film projector, plus several rewind tables, and storage racks for film reels. Rolls of 70mm are everywhere, reels and splicers for all formats, and previous seminar posters on the walls. Dolby MPU-1 mag preamp, all sorts of controls, and a monitor speaker, which plays the familiar film sound in a projection room. Both Dolby Stereo A and SR for 70mm is installed, and a DATASAT (former DTS) processor. A well functioning slide projector with 4000 watt xenon is rarely used, but Pavel demonstrated it for me on Sunday morning. Pavel (b. 1965) always invite the audience to the projection room to see what is going on. Projectionists this time were Petra and Martin, but Pavel is also running the projectors himself.
I saw the last half of "Hook", and then Mark and I continued with the newish "STAR!" print in Todd-AO from the first row. "STAR!" was scheduled to begin 20:40, but didn't start until after the intro's and hand out of surprise gifts for people in the audience. The film is nearly 3 hours plus intermission, and I felt it would become too late for me to stay until the end, and then watch a 20 min video. Pavel had let us know in advance, that following "STAR!" he would show Hans Hänssler's video production of a visit to a French 70mm fan. Unfortunately the DATASAT / DTS was out of synch on both machines. The sound came a couple of frames too early. Mark and I left at the intermission, because we were tired and needed dinner. We went to the Hermes restaurant again, and had the spaghetti bolognaise, and like the evening before, Hans Haenssler joined us. We were also joined by "my" skilled translator Bara and friend.
|Most of the films I planned to see this time, are with full colour. All except "Where Eagles Dare" which hasn't got any many cyan and yellow colours left, except the "classic" reddish/brownish tone. It's not pink, it's brown. It is faded because of the age. Despite being faded, there is a special feeling seeing a print like that, which I like. It's how I remember it and how I have gotten used to see it the past 20 years. This is an original Road Show release print with intermission, and entr'acte music, which has entertained people for 50 years. My daughter Maria - an experienced 70mm film goer - expressed it beautifully once like this. "Seeing the scratches and spots of dust here and there, reminds me of the thousands and thousands of people who have seen this over the years. I gives me the right feeling of nostalgia which I enjoy at festivals like this." Whenever I like, I can always see it in full color on BluRay, but it not the Road Show version. It would be nice to have the colours restored in the cinema, but strange to see it digitally cleaned up on a flat screen in full color, and without European intermission or entr'acte like the BluRay. That means a DCP (= digital cinema package), and that would not work at all for a 70mm festival. I prefer 70mm, monochrome, scratches and spots of dust, and FACP (= faded analogue cinema print), or FACT (= Faded Analogue Cinema Treat).|
Oddly, the audience primarily of Czech people, laughed hysterically during the main titles of "Where Eagles Dare". Mark and I didn't understand, it's just main titles and Ron Goodwin's music? It remains a big mystery. Immediately after the film, Eric the driver, drove me the 60 km back to Ostrava airport, where I departed 15:20 and flew back to Denmark.
How to get to Krnov
|Krnov curves outside the Steiger hotel|
It's not easy to reach Krnov from Denmark with just a few daily flights between Prague and Ostrava airport. It's an 8-hour journey. If it wasn't for the courtesy of Eric of the KRRR! staff to collect me in the airport and bring me back some days later, this trip would be impossible. I don't have a drivers licence, and I don't enjoy to go by car for long drives. I prefer trains, but they have to be fairly direct, and not have too many changes. It would be impractially long to go from Copenhagen to Krnov by train for a guy like me who has to occasionally actually show up for my job now and then ...
Krnov is a small town, but it is interesting to discover. Enjoy the colors of the beautiful buildings. Oddly, we found Krnov strangely, almost completely empty on our daily walk from the hotel to the cinema. Where are all the people? They can't all be at the Kino Mir 70. Sometimes, it felt like walking through a film set. Even the two Jehovah's witnesses trying to sell their Wake Up Saturday morning on city square had a hard time finding someone to impress - but I was allowed to take their picture. The Hermes restaurant is always busy on the other hand. Buzzing with life, beers, spaghetti and sirloin steaks. All about Krnov City.
7OMM Seminar posters are all over town, from large bill boards to the smallest A4 posters.
|The 7OMM Seminar is a film marathon in three days. Some people are seeing these older films for the first time, and some have come back to see them yet again. We are the 70mm movie aficionados, sitting in darkness, and almost turning to dust when when we get exposed to daylight. "I'm melting! I'm melting!". This year the Kino Mir 70 had guests from Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Poland, an impressive seven delegates from Sweden!, France, Slovakia, Germany, Denmark, UK, and USA (did I miss anyone?). Very impressive, as Krnov is not exactly an easy place to visit. Although it takes me 8 hours to reach Krnov, it's always great fun, however, to meet the fans of 70mm and not least, it is a big honour to be invited for such an esteemed event to present a lecture. And most importantly, building relations and networking with the "family of 70mm friends". Many of whom I have met in Krnov, and at similar 70mm get-2-gethers the past 25+ years in Denmark, Bradford and Karlsruhe. It's a great combination of nostalgia and excitement. |
I think the Russian films are interesting and uniquely KRRR!, I only wish I could have seen it this time (it ran before I got there). The odd surprise of reels and trailers are wonderful -- not merely listed in the program, but suddenly on the screen.
|"Three tickets for "Where Eagles Dare" in 70mm, please"|
There were a couple of adjustments I might have suggested, such as I felt "STAR!" would have benefited from a proper road show start like 19:30, or even 19:00. The same goes for "Where Eagles Dare" on - say Friday night 19:30, and not as a children's matinee on Sunday morning at 10:00. "Hook" should be a Saturday/Sunday matinee for families with children, and not late afternoon at 17:55. If I programmed it, I'd also move the first show from 9 o'clock to 10 o'clock. The KRRR! home page is not entirely up to date on the UK language part, and the souvenir program also lack basic information in English. It would be a good place to have a summary of the weekend program in English too. Maybe next year? Overall, the projection quality is good with the changeovers hitting the spot every time. The image would benefit with some new projection lenses, as light, focus, and image contrast could be improved. All films were introduced in Czech without translation (Introduction: Russian movie: Jaromir Blazejovsky, "Patriot Games" and "Empire of the Sun": Michael Malek) and most films were in their original language version with Czech subtitles projected from the digital projector. The Kino Mir 70 use a GONG before the shows I saw, and all the film presentations received a healthy applause from the audience.
So why bother with old faded 70mm at all, when you get new shiny digital versions? Well, I like the fact it is actually real film - scratches, dust and all - shown on film projectors by people for people. I appreciate that someone is doing the work upstairs that requires skills, expertise, and an understanding of showmanship. An experience with Reel People projecting a film for you. It's the real thing! It does not get more authentic than this. The Kino Mir 70 keeps the 70mm film flag waving, and as Mark said one evening, "To see this, that is the reason why you cross continents". Well done! Showmanship still lives in the Czech Republic!
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