The Widescreen Weekend 2018 was the 22nd edition of this unique Filmfestival in Bradford, the Unesco City of Film. And again the celebration of cinema technology reached a climax with the screening of a 3-strip original Cinerama film on the third day of the festival, last year from 11-14 October. In 2017 they screened The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and last year the famous western Cinerama movie How The West Was Won, as far as we know the only existing print of this original 3-strip film from 1962, from the Archive of the National Media Museum. With a great cast of famous actors like Gregory Peck, James Stewart, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Carroll Baker and of course Debbie Reynolds in a great leading role!
Pictureville Cinema, which is part of the National Science and Media museum is one of only three cinemas where you can see original 3-strip Cinerama. It is a beautiful stadium seated theatre with a retractable flat screen for 70mm projection and an original louvre Cinerama screen. The other cinemas are Cinerama in Seattle and the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles.
The festival opened with a lecture about Drone Cinematography by Dr Eileen Rositzka, a researcher at the University of Berlin. Followed by another lecture, about restorations and rediscoveries by Theo Gluck, Director of Restoration and Preservation from Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles. It showed once again the great importance of the studios’ commitment to our film Heritage.
After these two lectures, another interesting part started: the Student Widescreen Film of the Year Competition. This unique program, with widescreen short movies from students all over the world, showed once again what talent there is for the future. It showed also that it is not always necessary to make a complete length movie, many high-quality shorts of nearly ten minutes had a surprising scenario!
The evening started with the Opening Night Reception followed by the Opening Night Presentation: the 50th Anniversary screening of the famous classic Sergio Leone western: Once Upon A Time in the West, with famous Italian actress Claudia Cardinale and the American actors Henri Fonda, Jason Robards and Charles Bronson. Spectacular Techniscope Cinematography from 1968 accompanied by famous music from the Italian composer Ennio Morricone. Bernardo Bertolucci, who recently passed away, was involved in the scenario of this classic movie.
The second day, Friday started with an original 70mm print of Mutiny on the Bounty. This print came from Centrum Panorama, a beautiful 70mm cinema in Varnsdorf in the Czech Republic. Despite it was completely magenta, it was a rather good print without any further damage.
The day went on with It’s Always Fair Weather, with Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, followed by The Age of Innocence. We choose for an impressive Imax presentation of The Greatest Showman with Hugh Jackman in a great interpretation of the charismatic Barnum circus director! This film from 2017 was introduced by Wolfram Hannemann, filmmaker and film critic, who has become a great fan of this movie, one of the greatest musicals from the last time!
In the evening a screening of Grand Prix, a Super Panavision 70 movie from 1966, introduced by David Strohmaier. On the third day, Saturday morning started with the above mentioned How The West Was Won in exciting 3-strip Cinerama. It was amazing that there was not any interruption during this complicated screening, so Lowell Thomas didn’t have to come on the screen for offering his apologies for the interruption! A great compliment for the good work of the Pictureville projection staff. The film was introduced by Sir Christopher Frayling.
The rest of Saturday was a special day dedicated to only 35mm celluloid films. Such as Contact with Jodie Foster, with an introduction by Carin Anne Strohmaier; followed by No Country for Old Men and Crouching Tiger – Hidden Dragon, with a lot of beautifully choreographed fight sequences. Carin Anne Strohmaier is working as an Animation Editor at Disney Studios but she is also assisting her husband David Strohmaier on his important Cinerama restoration projects.
Sunday morning started with the famous Cineramacana, a program of hidden treasures, trailers, etc. on a range of formats on the flat or curved screen. It started with a great compilation movie made by Wolfram Hannemann. After Cineramacana you had a choice between the recently restored Disney Classic Lady and the Tramp or Jules et Jim or Forty Guns or Thelma and Louise in the other cinema of the museum.
The closing night of this Widescreen Weekend was another 50th-anniversary screening, Funny Girl. Barbra Streisand’s Oscar-winning film debut as Fanny Brice, the unhappy singer-comedienne in a musical with a number of famous songs like “People” – “Don’t Rain on My Parade” – “My Man” and “Second Hand Rose”. Directed by William Wyler in 1968 with Omar Sharif. The film was introduced by comedian Maureen Younger. It was a recently restored 4k DCP projection on the curved screen. A good choice for the Closing Night Film. The number of visitors of the Widescreen Weekend last year is still growing, a great success for the organisation and hopefully for the future of this unique Film event.
The 23rd Widescreen weekend will take place from 10-13 October 2019.