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70mm Revival in Dutch Cinemas. 70mm is Back in The Netherlands

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by:  Johan C.M. Wolthuis - 70mmpublishers.nl Date: 13.11.2020
7OMM Friends Jan-Hein Bal and Johan C.M. Wolthuis in the lobby of the KINO 70mm cinema in Rotterdam!

Until the beginning of this year [2020] the EYE Film Museum in Amsterdam was the only place that could screen 70mm movies in the Netherlands. But now there are two other cinemas that will screen 70mm from this year on:
KINO in Rotterdam and FILMHUIS in The Hague.

In Rotterdam, the KINO cinema has installed a DP70 projector (nick-named "Mathilda") in their largest auditorium, KINO One with 210 seats. Since July 2020 they have screened Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” (2014) and "Dunkirk" (2017), followed by the September opening of Nolan’s latest movie "Tenet", all on 70mm. The team of KINO had been looking far and wide for a 70mm projector, and found one at last in the tiny village of Geldrop, in the south of The Netherlands. Two film technicians Ton Beetz and Emiel de Jong, who work together to restore old film projectors, had three DP70 projectors in their house in excellent condition! The love for cinema drove the team behind KINO these past four years to realise their dream to install an analogue film projector in their largest venue. Film Programmer Jan de Vries explains:

“When we committed to the idea of 35mm, we thought why not go all the way and take it to the next level, 70mm, the golden standard of film projection. So we searched for over a year to acquire a 70mm projector, assemble the technical accessories and build a projection booth that would accommodate all this. It’s a decision we took with our hearts, not with our heads. But as film fanatics, it was an easy choice to invest in the best possible cinematic experience for our audience”.

The future of classic cinema on 7Omm in KINO. At KINO they believe that watching films in the cinema is a universal, timeless experience. Even if a younger generation has grown up with digital projection, analogue still holds that vintage magic of projecting a still image and transforming it into something fluid. An experience they would like to re-introduce to their audience – young and old - with 35mm and 70mm analogue films, according to director Frank Groot. KINO has four auditoria, the largest, KINO 1, has 210 seats and a screen of 13 x 5 metres. And as of July 2020 with a 70mm DP70 projector. They all have a Barco digital projector. Kino 2 has 66 seats and Kino 3 with 71 seats has also a Philips 35mm projector FP20. Kino 4 has 111 seats and only Barco digital projection.

More in 70mm reading:

Those were the Days....

KINO Rotterdam to launch exclusive 70mm presentations

Internet link:

Kino in Rotterdam. Picture by Johan Wolthuis

They are screening all kinds of movies, both art-house and commercial films along with a mix of classic movies and specials. Working without any local governmental subsidies, they show whatever they like as independent exhibitors. Director Frank Groot visited the EYE Filmmuseum in 2016 and viewed a 70mm screening of "The Hateful Eight" in original 70mm Ultra Panavision. He was completely overwhelmed by what he saw there. Immediately he began thinking about installing a 70mm projector in KINO and despite it being a crazy idea for a non-subsidised cinema he went on with the idea, which resulted this year with the installation of the DP70. And because of the good cooperation with Warner Bros and EYE in Amsterdam they have got one of the two 70mm prints of "Tenet" and earlier before that 70mm prints of "Dunkirk" and "Interstellar". The complete 70mm "Tenet" print, 280 kilogram, was packed in four large cardboard boxes each containing two aluminium cans with the film prints. According to KINO’s head of projection Adriaan Bijl it took him nearly four hours to unpack and complete the whole print on the platter. After the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, the Rotterdam KINO now became the second NL location where you can watch 70mm films.

The EYE Filmmuseum has showed 70mm films since 2012 in their new building opposite the Central Station in Amsterdam. They have four cinemas, all digital equipped but also all with 35mm and 70mm facilities. Unique in the world! In their largest auditorium, Cinema One, with 315 seats and a curved screen which measures 14.25 m x 5.15 m, they have two FP75 ES Kinoton 35/70mm electronic projectors without Maltese Cross. From these machines are only six produced in the world. And a Barco 32B-4K digital projector. In Cinema 2 with 140 seats one Kinoton DP75 for 35 and 70mm and a FP28 for 16mm screenings, plus a Barco 2K digital. Cinema 3 has 130 seats, one DP75 and a FP20 for 35mm and FP 28 for 16 mm. Plus a Barco 32B – 4K. And finally Cinema 4 has 67 seats, is designed in Art Deco style as a tribute to one of Amsterdam’s oldest cinemas Parisien (now demolished) and has besides digital projection, two DP70 projectors, both in optimum condition. So, in Amsterdam 70mm was already reborn. A World record.

On January 7, 2016, 70mm screenings of "The Hateful Eight" began at the EYE Film Museum in their amphitheatre Cinema One. They had purchased their own 70mm print without having any idea of the results of these 70mm screenings. The first 4 weeks, with 3 performances a day, on the large slightly curved screen were completely sold out. Since the screenings started, they had in 7 weeks 104 public screenings of the 70mm print, with a total of 28.000 visitors and an occupancy of 85%. In 4 months time, they sold more than 36.000 tickets through the end of May. This is more than any other cinema in the world with a 70mm print of the Quentin Tarantino film! So 70mm in EYE Amsterdam set the world record for the 70mm screenings of "The Hateful Eight" and ended as the most successful 70mm movie of this last decade in EYE !
Filmhuis in The Hague. Copyright Filmhuis The Hague, and used with permission.

The 70mm screenings in EYE was an unbelievable and unexpected success. Why? Because of the enormous publicity in the Dutch newspapers? An inquiry among visitors, mostly Tarantino fans, before the first full house screening, as to why they came to the EYE Cinema for Tarantino's movie (they had to take the ferry crossing the harbour) instead of the easier way watching it in the inner city of Amsterdam, resulted in the same answer from all: "We want to see it the way Tarantino has meant it: in 70mm!" So that is the reason, not the enormous publicity! In 2020 they again screened their own 70mm print on two days in August. They are thinking of screening their own 70mm print of "West Side Story" in December [2020].

Finally, Filmhuis in The Hague has also installed a Philips DP70 projector. The project was delayed by the closure of the cinema during the Corona lock-down, but programmer Leendert de Jong says that they will start with 70mm screenings in December [2020] of this year. The cinema is a Foundation that was founded in 1975. In 1991 they moved to a new larger building, where they have now 5 auditoriums and a bar. The largest one, with 70mm, has 102 seats and a screen of 8.15 x 3.30 metres. Besides film from more than 50 countries often in their original languages, they also regularly organise debate evenings, and last year they had a total of 325.000 visitors! They also organise special film screenings for young people: they are trying to play an important role in their education, turning them into critical viewers. Every year they host more than 20.000 students. In 2015 they got the prestigious Europe Cinema Award for the best programming in Europe! In December 2020 they hope to go back in time with old and new 70mm titles, but also paying attention to other film formats, from 8mm and 16mm to 35mm. They also have a 35mm projector in one auditorium. Filmhuis director Géke Roelink contacted well-known technician Ronald Rosbeek, who had a Philips DP70 at home. He was willing to place it at their disposal because of their appreciation for film education and love of film history. It is part of their policy to keep the history of film alive not only by programming classics, but also by keeping the most prominent equipment for film screenings operational. The DP70 was installed in 2019. Mr. Rosbeek still thinks it is incredible that in 1955 showman Michael Todd succeeded in convincing larger cinemas in the USA to adopt the 70mm format. ”35mm was the standard for a long time. 70mm was very superior in image quality, but very expensive to install”, he said. In May 2019 Filmhuis in The Hague screened "Sky over Holland", a 70mm documentary produced in 1967 in MCS 70 by Dutch director John Fernhout.
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Updated 07-01-23