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LFCA 2005
“Large Format: Strategize and Thrive”

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: William Kallay Date:  May 17, 2005
After several LFCA annual meetings, and after reporting about it for several years, I finally hit the wall. Not because of the conference or its delegates. The conference has always been entertaining and informative, and the delegates are truly friendly people to meet and talk to.

This year was an anomaly for me. I usually have been able to attend most of the scheduled screenings, speeches and events. But this year, I must admit, I could only attend for one full-day. The flu bug got me the next day I was to head up to Universal City. That went away, fortunately, but on the third and final day of the conference, I had to stay home to watch my daughter. This report about the LFCA Conference is more of a highlight reel of what transpired, and of what I missed.

The conference was held at the beautiful Universal City Hilton Hotel, and at the Imax Theatre at Universal CityWalk. In year’s past, many of the conferences were held around the Los Angeles area at different venues.

“Large Format: Strategize and Thrive” was 2005’s theme. Several times during the course of the three-day conference, panels and sessions are held at different times of the day. Though I wasn’t able to attend a number of them, they are usually informative and sometimes, entertaining. This year’s panels/sessions included “New Ways To Maximize Revenue,” “Convergence And Divergence: Forces Shaping The Large Format Industry Today,” and many others. The one I did attend, “Focus On Library Films,” offered the LFCA members and press a glimpse at the successes and struggles of maintaining attendance at various institutional Imax theatres. Some museums, like the Reuben H. Fleet in San Diego, California, tried attracting audiences with “Fridays At The Fleet,” with mixed success. What has been more successful has been in the programming of Large Format films with current museum exhibits.
Further in 70mm reading:

LFCA 2004
LFCA 2003
LFCA 2002

Internet link:
LFCA Keynote Speaker, Pasquale Scaturro

The Keynote Speaker was expedition leader and explorer, Pasquale Scaturro. Move over Crocodile Hunter, because Scaturro not only navigated the Nile from it’s source in Ethiopia to Alexandria, Egypt, but has also climbed Mount Everest.

His trip down the Nile, with a small crew and an Imax camera, is documented in the film, “Mystery Of The Nile.” He led his fellow explorers down the famous river on a 114 day shoot. He stressed that he was not a filmmaker, but had an appreciation for filmmakers who conquered the difficulty of filming in the large format.

The film’s real adventures were captured on the large format. Scaturro and his crew were flipped in their rafts, shot at by marauders in the mountains near the Nile, and had to fight off crocs and hippos. And since he only had a limited amount of film stock to use, shots had to be pre-planned.
Left To Right: David Keighley, Cherie Rivers & Bob Kressler
Press image to see enlargement

One of the other highlights of the film festival was James Cameron’s newest 3-D adventure, “Aliens Of The Deep.” Once again, Cameron used his modified “Reality Cam” (24p HD) to explore the depths of the ocean. This time, he takes audiences to the bottom of the sea floor to see mysterious creatures of the darkness. We see crabs and squid who have never seen light, until Cameron’s subs shine their lights on these aliens of our own world.

The film isn’t one of Cameron’s best efforts. It doesn’t grab the audience like “Ghosts Of The Abyss” (2003) did. But the footage of undersea life is very good, and does show that 24p can be an acceptable alternative to shooting in enclosed environments where an Imax camera would be a tough fit. The film was shown in approximately 1.78:1.

Stephen Low Honored 

Press image to see enlargement

The next two days of the festival continued on with screenings, panels and sessions. This year’s recipient of the Kodak Vision Award, given at the LFCA, was one of the founders of Imax Corporation, Graeme Ferguson. The winner of the Best Of Festival Award went to Stephen Low’s “Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag.”

Although I missed much of the conference this year, I still take heart in that this organization and its attendees are a nice group of people. This small corner of the film industry is composed of passionate filmmakers, hard-working exhibitors, and distributors making valient efforts to get product to theatres. With continued changes afoot in the large format industry, from distributors trying to find the next “Everest,” to major studios like Warner Bros. devoting a new slate of DMR (Digitally Re-mastered 35mm film for the Imax screen) this year, the industry continues to face challenges brought to it. Hopefully, next year, I’ll be able to experience all of what LFCA has to offer.
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Updated 07-01-21