70mm Weekend 2018 Varnsdorf: on one of the largest
screens in Europe.
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The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Johan C.M. Wolthuis, International 70mm Publishers, Arnhem, and Jan-Hein Bal
from the EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdamm, Holland.
owner Pavel Nejtek next to a Meopta 70/35 projector.
The city of Varnsdorf in the Czech Republic has a beautiful cinema called
Centrum Panorama, with a curved screen of 18.4 x 7.9 metres, about 145 m2. The
depth of the curvature is 1.8 m. It has a stadium seated auditorium with 550
seats and in the projection booth you will find all the necessary digital
projectors (Christie) and sound processors, but they also have all classic
projection technology i.e. 16mm, 35mm and 70mm. They are very proud to have two
Meopta UM 70/35mm projectors, built in the seventies in the Czech Republic! So
they can screen all the classic 70mm films with 6 channel magnetic sound but
also the new 70mm prints with Datasat timecode.
They added noise suppression for audio records without Dolby. Furthermore, they
have installed Dolby A and Dolby SR and other audio systems for 70mm films
having e.g. the low bass frequencies in a particular track or have stereo sound
effects. On the walls you can see a total of 28 different speakers and there are
five original speakers from 1971 behind the screen and eight new JBL speakers
installed recently and used during the “70mm Weekend”.
This was an excellent place for the 70mm weekend 2018 (the second Czech 70mm
festival besides Krnov) from 17 until 20 May with a unique program of old and
new 70mm films in co-operation with the Prague Film Archive, DEFA-Stiftung and
the Kino Museum Berlin, who provided most of the 70mm copies. It was the fourth
year this 70mm Weekend was organized. This years program started with War and
Peace, part I - Andrej Bolkonskij and (a much better print of) War and
Peace, part II - Natasha Rostova (1965), both German-dubbed prints prints
from the Kino Museum in Berlin, followed by Gettysburg (1993) a 70mm
print from the Bradford Media Museum Archive.
• Go to Full Introduction for "VOJNA I MIR"
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70mm Film Weekend in Centrum Panorama
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2017: 70mm Film Weekend in
Centrum Panorama Varnsdorf, Czech Republic
70mm Film Weekend in Centrum
Panorama Varnsdorf, Czech Republic
2015: 70mm Film Festival in Centrum
CENTRUM PANORAMA Varnsdorf,
Centrum Panorama Varnsdorf,
70MM in Varnsdorf - a new
70mm Retro - Festivals and
407 47 Varnsdorf
from London, Mark Lyndon and Margaret Weedon
The next days they screened an extremely abridged English dubbed Old
Shatterhand, a German, French, Italian, Yugoslav co-production from 1964
originally filmed with German Super Panorama MCS 70 cameras. This was followed
by the famous (German dubbed) 2001: A Space Odyssey from 1968, filmed in
Super Panavison 70; a brand new 70mm print of Murder on the Orient Express
and a German dubbed blow-up from 1968: Guns for San Sebastian (La
Bataille de San Sebastian). Followed by a German dubbed blow-up from 1968:
The Shoes of the Fisherman (the third movie with Anthony Quinn), a blow-up
of Close Encounters of the Third Kind ( 1977); Lawrence of Arabia,
David Lean’s famous movie from 1962 filmed in Super Panavision 70, Samuel
Bronston’s Circus World (1964) in Super Technirama 70 and the last movie
was a blow-up from 1968 Finian's Rainbow. Many prints were more of less
faded but Lawrence of Arabia was still in excellent condition. Prints
were English or dubbed in German and subtitled with a beamer in Czech.
Screenings had many visitors, including visitors from Austria, Germany, The
Netherlands and United Kingdom. Murder on the Orient Express was the best
visited movie. There also was an interesting digital short History of the Cinema
Some history of this unique cinema: it opened in 1971 as a project to promote
the city of Varnsdorf. At that time it had a population of around 35 000
inhabitants and was well-known for its textile factories. From the beginning
this cinema had the 70mm possibilities with the Czech Meopta UM 70/35mm
Wolthuis & Jan-Hein Bal. Picture by Tom Ackerman
However it closed in 1991 as a result of the closure of many factories and the
decline of the city. The number of inhabitants reduced with nearly 50 percent.
The cinema building and the next door hotel fell into a ruin. But In the year
2000 Mr Pavel Nejtek, who owns and still operates a Neon Lights factory in
Prague, bought the building complex. Being a cinema enthousiast he started a
project to completely rebuild the cinema and finally after five years, in 2005
he could reopen the cinema. The exterior building still needs much renovation
and is difficult to find but the cinema interior is beautifully restored. In the
same building he organised the opening of two restaurants to provide the
visitors with all the necessary food and drinks. In the lobby is a large
exposition of old projection equipment including a Czech Meopta UM 70/35, Dutch
Philips DP75, Russian KH17/ 35mm, etc.
Bal, Tom Ackerman and Martin Sinkmajer
Many of the movies were introduced by Mr Pavel Nejtek himself in the Czech
language and in English by Jean -Pierre Gutzeit and Martin Šinkmajer, project
manager. Some of them also in the German language by Tom Ackerman from Austria
and the Russian movie War and Peace was introduced by Jan-Hein Bal from the
Amsterdam EYE Filmmuseum. The projection staff did a wonderful job projecting
everything reel by reel, without non-rewind equipment and had to endure much
technical difficulties including a print of Gettysburg which was often out of
focus because of vinegar problems (decay of film material). Before and after
projection this print was stored in refrigerator boxes!
The festival has been financed for 85% by the region, 6,7 % by the city of
Varnsdorf and 8.3 % by the Neisse filmfestival. The 70mm weekend took place in
the context of 15th Neisse Filmfestival, organized in 10 locations in the
German-Polish-Czech border triangle from 15th to 20th May.
large curved screen of the Centrum Panorama cinema
Jean-Pierre Gutzeit from the Berlin Kino Museum should be complemented for
bringing in eight 70mm movies, most of them in reasonable condition. It was the
fourth year this 70mm weekend was organized. The philosophy of the organization
is to show movies that are very rare presented on similar 70mm festivals and to
bring visitors together and provide them with high quality of food and drinks.
During the festival the cinema restaurants were sometimes more crowded with
local visitors than the films as these were the only cafe-restaurants in town
which were still open after 18.00 p.m! The quiet mountain city of Varnsdorf is
awaiting a repaired railway connection and has much closed beautiful churches
and factories but also lovely restored buildings. It lies near the German/Czech
border near the German city of Dresden, which is a city also very much worth a
visit, with beautiful churches and other historical buildings amazingly rebuild
after the disastrous bombardment in February 1945. And last but not least the
beautiful Rundkino, build in 1972, with 898 seats one of the largest 70mm
cinemas in the former German Democratic Republic, still functioning today in
Dresden as a large digital cinema.
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