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Krnov 2022 Festival Report

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Hans Haenssler, Stuttgart, Germany Date: 30.04.2021
The big sign with a layer of snow. Image: Paul Rayton

On March 30th 2022: it was that time once again for me to set out for the 70mm film festival in Krnov (Czech Republic), now that travel restrictions due to the Corona pandemic have been lifted. The outward journey led me first to Pilsen, well known as the "home" of pilsner beer, Pilsner Urquell available there. The oldest restaurant in the city from 1697, the Salzmannu with Bohemian cuisine, is definitely worth a visit. However, if you can partake of the namesake beer, you can no longer drive a car, because the Czech Republic enforces the 0 promille [blood alcohol, ed.] limit. Well, there would still be an auditorium in the Plaza Cinema Center with 4DX moving seats, rain, wind, lightning and other effects to experience, but that visit can be optional.

More pictures and texts
• Go to KRRR! 2022 (CZ)
• Go to KRRR! 2022 (DE)
• Go to Homepage "7OMM Seminar", Kino Mir 70

March 31st 2022: continue on the highway route around Prague to Pardubice. From here, the more scenic route runs through Zamberg, Sumperg and Bruntal to Krnov. Overall, that was 805 km from Stuttgart to Krnov. Arrival around 17.30h with heavy snowfall along the way and minus 4 degrees Celsius. In Krnov, according to the internet, there were only two bookable 4 star hotels, the Steiger in the city near the town hall, and Cvilín in the mountain heights with a beautiful view and a restaurant. There, in the early evening, was a dinner for the festival staff and invited guests. Afterwards, a few 70mm single reels were screened in the Kino MIR 70 cinema to get in the mood. First a Russian 70mm propaganda multi-image production from the 60s about the 15 Soviet states and their achievements in industry, agriculture and technology. Presumably, political statements were also included in the original untranslated Russian commentary. Then one act each from "Cocoon", "Willow", "Song of Norway" and a commercial from Ford automobiles. It was a nice ending on the pre-evening of the festival.

Friday, April 1st 2022: The first festival guests from over 150 registered have arrived.

At 1 p.m. „ALFRED THE GREAT“, a German 70mm blow-up copy with 5 channel MONO sound. The 1969 film starring David Hemmings, Michael York and Prunella Ransome, was directed by Clive Donner and shot mostly in Ireland with 35mm Panavision anamorphic lenses. Thanks to the self-developed technology of Ivan Školuda, the film could be shown in English language mix with Czech subtitles. This is an elaborate process. After delivery of the print, up to three reels are first wound on an 1800m spool and provided with foils for automatic change-over. Then the film is projected completely with automatic change-over, while using a video camera to capture the screen image and simultaneously with a separate capturing interface, the magnetic sound is recorded as 6 wave files in the computer. For this purpose, the Meopta projector delivers two pulses per image, which are then used as time code. Now begins the real work: To the existing picture a corresponding multichannel sound from DVD or Blu-ray Disc, or from a 35mm optical (or better still a 4-channel magnetic sound film) copies must be conformed. At the previous festival three years ago (2019), the film “Custer Of the West" used only the sounds from the German 70mm version in scenes without dialogue, and then switched to the original soundtrack of the Blu-ray disc by selecting that source. It was only 2.0 mono, so Ivan distributed this mono signal to all three front channels. This sounded very professional.

“ALFRED THE GREAT" begins without a title, instead it has longer written panels explaining background to the story. This part was not played from the German 70mm print, although it was already running, but started via digital projection with English script panels and then changed over to 70mm with the first feature scene of the film. However, the end titles were from the 70mm print. The sound of the English version was apparently found on the internet and had a voice mix and very effective surround information, which was also partially played back through the Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers. With a running time of 122 minutes, there was also an intermission, but without overtures or entr’acte music. The print had a tolerable red fading and good blow-up quality at times. That the film was not a success in Germany could also be concluded from the excellent condition of the print.

Pleasing at this 15th festival were the longer breaks between the individual performances. In the foyer, where eight 70mm projectors from Pavel's collection were again on display, visitors could purchase inexpensive food and drinks. For fans of the festival there was a sales table with T-shirts, drinking cups, caps and other merchandise available. Meanwhile, Cinema Kino Mir 70 had also undergone some renovations during the Covid closure. New toilet facilities on the ground floor, Dolby Atmos installation in the auditorium with a scaled down version and corresponding rewiring of the sound system. In the projection room, I could see the new acquisition of a 70mm platter system from Cinemeccanica. This meant that some changes had to be made in the booth to make room for it. Everything looked very tidy and professional with repainting of walls and ceiling.
More in 70mm reading:

Home of "7OMM Seminar" at Kino Mir 70, Krnov, Czech Republic

KRRR! 2022 (DE)

KRRR! 2022 (CZ)

The audience on stage. Image: Paul Rayton

At 4 p.m. "KONG, SKULL ISLAND" started with a 2017 production shot with Arri Alexa XT Plus digital cameras and 35mm Panavision, mainly filmed in Vietnam. The 70mm exposure of 2k digital intermediate looked quite good at times, though of course 8k would have yielded more. Pure action with computer generated digital effects, great staging, but also quite exaggerated effects, probably costing much more. The payrolls in the end credits were correspondingly long. This print and other polyester copies were handled using the newly installed Cinemeccanica platter with 6-channel Datasat sound. The film platter was a gift from Piero Fumigalli, the owner of the Arcadia cinema in Milan, who could not travel to the festival due to illness.

After more than one hour break, at 7.15 p.m. began the "official" opening events, with Thomas Hradli, the mayor of Krnov. Other speakers were Marcela Procházková, the long-term manager of KRRR!, Petra Manczalová, director of the Ministry of Culture and Pavel Tomešek, the initiator of the 70mm film festival and head of Kino MIR 70. Unfortunately, Pavel could participate in this festival only briefly due to illness. The film screenings were wonderfully and perfectly conducted by Ivan Školuda, Martin Bodešínský and Michal Jaso as they have for years. As has been done with every festival, after the opening speeches there was a group picture of all festival participants on stage in front of the screen. During the programming break preceding the evening program, a Super 8mm projector had been set up in the auditorium, an additional 16mm mobile projector in the projection room, and one of the three permanently installed Meopta projectors was set for 35mm playback.

At 8.00 p.m. there was a special screening of “GREASE”. First the main title shown in 8mm, then a scene from the film in 16mm. Continued with 35mm CinemaScope, followed by the complete 70mm film version with 6-channel magnetic sound without Dolby N/R and real 5 front channels. The print came from Sweden and had great sound. Although filmed in Panavision 35mm, it is not clear whether in flat, because the blow-up titles were cropped in height and, strangely enough, also in the sides. The 1978 film was a huge hit for John Travolta and Oliva Newton-John, also nominated for five Golden Globes and one Oscar. A very entertaining high school musical. For the festival pass holders, there was a cold buffet in the foyer at around 10 p.m.

Saturday, 2nd April 2022: For the early birds the first performance started at 9.00 a.m. with “KELLY’S HEROES” a 144 minute blow-up copy of 35mm Panavision negative and 5.1 sound from Blu-ray disc mixed to 8 channels for left front, half left, center, half right, right front, left and right surround and sub-bass from the computer program. Unfortunately, the German theater print was already faded towards red. A little green in some scenes was still visible. The blow-up quality was surprisingly good. The film included an intermission and entr’acte music composed by Lalo Schifrin. “Sunshine” sung by Hank Williams, Jr. and “Burning Bridges” by The Mike Curb Congregation. Mike was director of MGM records at that time. Very funny film with Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles and Karl-Otto Alberty as a German tank driver who also got something from the gold. As always, applause from the audience at the end of the film.
Some of audience in the foyer on opening night (1 April, 2022). Image: Paul Rayton

At 2.15 p.m. a short film by James Quinn “DAUGHTER OF DISMAY” filmed 2018 in 8 perf 65mm for IMAX [blow-up, ed.], and also has had prints made in 70mm and 35mm format. A dark image with no depth of field. Most viewers (including me) did not like it. In my opinion, a kind of waste of the 70mm print stock from Kodak.

At 1.30 p.m Michael Málek gave a 30 minute lecture on the ROADSHOW PRESENTATIONS over the years of cinema history. Starting with titles like „Wings” up to the very present “The Hateful Eight” many titles were mentioned here. Afterwards there was still time for questions and answers with the audience. As with all Czech introductions before the start of the main films by Jaromír Blažeiovský (University Brno) and Kokes D. Radomír (film critics), this event was translated live into English by Barbora Štefanová via wireless headphones for the foreign festival guests. Apart from Paul Rayton (USA) and Aleksas Gilaitis (Lithuania) and their wives I didn’t meet any other “foreigners”, other than myself.

At 3.00 p.m. a film by Lawrence Kasdan from 1985 “SILVERADO” starring Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover and John Cleese as the village sheriff. A two-time Oscar nominated production shot in 35mm Super 35 and blown-up to 70mm with 6-channel Dolby magnetic sound. The print came from Australia and was possibly the first performance in Europe in this format [Premiere London, 3. February 1986, ed.]. A very entertaining Western with great music by Bruce Broughton and lots of New Mexico scenery. As a little bonus after “Silverado”, they ran the final reel of “THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS” in a film by Michael Mann from the year 1992 in a very good blow-up quality of 35mm Panavision with 6-channel Dolby A magnetic sound. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Madelaine Stowe and Russell Means, with music by Trevor Jones and the impressive landscaping of the Blue Ridge mountains. Before the next program title, there was a raffle for KRRR! Merchandise articles among ten festival visitors.

At 6.15 p.m. “A CHORUS LINE”, again with a special beginning. First, a 35mm CinemaScope version with the most-often-seen musical main titles, then a 70mm title sequence from Ukraine with a different structure, and then the complete German 70mm version, again with audio synchronized from a 5.1 DVD version mixed to five front and two surround channels. The copy still exists with all colors in good image quality as a blow-up from 35mm Panavision.

For the late evening program at 9.00 p.m. the premiere in Krnov of “DEATH ON THE NILE”, a Panavision Super 70 film by Kenneth Branagh presented from the platter with 6-channel Datasat sound from the DVD player. Unlike the 1978 film adaption of the same Agatha Christie story, all scenes in Abu Simbel, the Pyramids, Karnak Temple and Nil were shot with the cast in the studio against a green background and later computer-paired with the real landscape shots from the second unit. So again a digital procession and lab work of FotoKem on 65mm dub negative. In my opinion, this was much too steep in contrast and even with outdoor shots there was unfortunately hardly any 70mm depth of field to admire, such as e. g. in “Lawrence of Arabia” or other 70mm works from the 1960s. I had already seen the film in Karlsruhe so spent the time in the projection booth and also having conversations in the foyer.
Martin at the rewind bench. Image Hans Haenssler

After an announced 15 minute break, the 70mm propaganda film “RUSSIA A GREAT NATION” was shown despite the war going on in Ukraine. The makers of the film came from a film school and had been inspired by the multi-split screen technology in “Grand Prix” at that time.

Sunday, April 3rd 2022: 10.15 a.m a roadshow presentation of “GRAND PRIX” with a German 70mm print, again time-consumingly synchronized from 35mm 4-channel magnetic sound and a still existing 70mm English language Czech reel, and a short scene from the Blu-ray disc. Released as Cinerama, this film was shot in Super Panavision 70 on 65mm material. James Garner, Eva-Marie Saint, Yves Montand, Toshiro Mifune and the real 1968 Grand Prix drivers starred in the John Frankenheimer film. The copy with a wonderful rusty touch, but otherwise without any technical defects, was presented with an overture, intermission, entr’acte music and end titles. For the lunch break there was enough time on site to walk over to the city.

The program continued at 2.00 p.m. with a 70mm blow-up of a Disney Donald Duck cartoon film “Chips Ahoy”. As with all cartoons, the 35mm based film had a very good picture quality with pseudo stereo sound. Paul Rayton brought this reel from America.

The last film in the festival program was at 2.00 p.m., an Italian copy of “BEAUTY AND THE BEAST” an animated film from 1991 by Walt Disney as blow-up in 1:1,85 format. The Italian dubbed sound was replaced by the original English dialogue distributed over eight channels by the computer from a 5.1 DVD. A very nice print in good condition with music by Alan Menken. The dialogue has been dubbed by Bobby Benson, Jesse Corti and Angela Landsbury and others.

Shortly after 4 p.m. the 15th KRRR! 70mm film fest in Krnov was over. There was still time to look at the surroundings in the sunshine and to enjoy a good dinner in the Hermes Café. As always, I liked the festival a lot, although I have seen almost all the films several times before. However, it is also about the meeting of friends in Krnov and the interesting conversations during the breaks. Many thanks to Ivan for his support with the technical details of the digital sound editing and my best regards to Pavel with warm wishes for a speedy recovery.
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Updated 07-01-23