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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


Willem Bouwmeester passed Away
Willem Bouwmeester born 22. september 1945, passed away 25. February 2024

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Thomas HauerslevDate: 26.02.2024
Willem in Rotterdam, August 2009. Picture: Thomas Hauerslev

Willem Bouwmeester, born on September 22, 1945, embarked on his final cinematic journey on February 25, 2024, leaving behind a legacy woven with passion for Cinerama, and an unparalleled love for the magic of motion pictures.

Willem grew up with Cinerama, and also knew everything about the history of IMAX. Willem was one of the co-founders of "The International Cinerama Society", which purpose it was to re-install CINERAMA in a cinema and revive the fantastic film format. They succeeded in Bradford in 1993.

In his role as a field service engineer for the IMAX Corporation in Canada, Willem traversed continents, servicing IMAX Cinemas across Europe. Willem was one of IMAX Corporation's most respected cinema technicians, and was occasionally sent on special assignments. I remember, among other things, that he was sent to Melbourne in Australia to fix IMAX problems that the local technician needed specialist assistance to be able to handle.

Go to Speech for Willem Bouwmeester
Go to On the Trail of "Windjammer"
Go to Cinerama Afterglow
Go to Historical Wide Screen Gathering
Go to This is Oyster Bay

Willem was very enthusiastic about in70mm.com. In fact, Willem's claim to fame was his encouragement, that inspired the birth "The International 70mm Association" in 1988 which evolved into "The 7OMM Newsletter" and finally in70mm.com in 1999. Willem and I shared a mutual passion for the history of Large Format film, and thanks to his network and enthusiasm we met several times in Bradford and Karlsruhe. We also travelled to Oslo on a "Windjammer" mission, and in 1997 Willem, John Harvey and I hosted a "Cinerama Holiday" reunion in Dayton (OH), USA with the film's actors, director and producer. They met all together as a group for the first time since 1955. On the same voyage we organized a Historical Wide Screen Gathering that included Bill Shaw (IMAX), Walter Siegmund and Brian O'Brien, Jr. (Todd-AO) and Richard C. Babish (Cinerama). With them we toured American Optical in Southbrigde (CT), the birthplace of Todd-AO, and Oyster Bay the birthplace of CINERAMA. Truly a memorable visit.

Willem was always great company, and the wealth of historic film information he possessed was beyond impressive and hugely inspiring. Following Willem's retirement in 2009 I visited him at his home in Rotterdam to borrow much of his Cinerama material for publication on in70mm.com's Cinerama page. Some years ago, Willem was unfortunately hit by a blood clot and was admitted to a nursing home in Rotterdam, almost across the road from the Rotterdam CINERAMA Theatre. A poignant end to a long life with movies and cinemas.

Willem is survived by his former wife Sonja and their daughter Natasja, two sisters and two nephews
More in 70mm reading:

Speech for Willem Bouwmeester

On the Trail of "Windjammer"

Cinerama Afterglow

This is Oyster Bay

in70mm.com's Library

Presented on the big screen in 7OMM

Peripheral Vision, Scopes, Dimensions and Panoramas


How I met Willem in Copenhagen, Denmark

Thomas Hauerslev and IMAX Technician Willem Bouwmeester in Copenhagen 3. december 2008. Selfie by Thomas

In 1986, I wrote a letter to IMAX Corporation asking for some information about the company's history, technology, movies and cinemas. I got a very nice response, and an invitation to visit an IMAX cinema in the Netherlands so I could see IMAX for myself.

A few years later, I was visiting the projection room at the Tycho Brahe Planetarium while the IMAX technician was servicing the system. The technician came from Holland, and at one point he asked me "... do you know Thomas Hauerslev"? I could only answer "yes" to that. The cinema technician's name was Willem Bouwmeester, and he had received a copy of the letter I received from IMAX in 1986. It was the beginning of a friendship with Willem, which has now lasted for more than 30 years.

Willem came to Copenhagen three or four times a year to service the IMAX projector in collaboration with the chief operator. One of the first times he called me, he told that he was on his way to "Tico Brahe" [with a heavy Dutch/English accent], and we agreed to meet at IMAX's "office" in Copenhagen. I was hugely impressed, and thought "Cool, IMAX has office here in town!" However, it was an example of Willem's kind of humor, because it turned out that the office was Frida's Bodega [Frida's Inn] on Gammel Kongevej, opposite the Planetarium. At Frida's we met many times where we talked about IMAX, Cinerama and Todd-AO for the next many years. Until now. The last CINERAMA reel has run out.

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Willem Bouwmeester passed Away
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Updated 01-03-24