Sune L Thomsen about GIFF 7O @ the Gentofte Kino, Denmark
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|Written and photographed by: Thomas Hauerslev. Sune interviewed May 5, 2021. Interview transcribed by Mette Pedersen||Date: 02.07.2021|
|Mr. Sune Lind Thomsen is ready to sell you the tickets @ Gentofte Kino. The editor met with Sune on the evening of May 5, 2021, for an informal chat about Gentofte Kino and the Gentofte International (70mm Film) Festival [GIFF 70], which would take place about three weeks later, at the end of May. Sune, who is a fast talker, gave an enthusiastic, passionate and vivid introduction to the upcoming 70mm festival, Gentofte Kino and his childhood cinema memories. In a record 17 minutes the editor was "carpet bombed" with details about his dreams and vision for the Kino. Sune's enthusiasm for cinema and 70mm is highly contagious. Here it is for you to read.|
THa: Sune, tell me about Gentofte Kino's 70mm film festival and the 2021 program.
Sune: The Gentofte International 70mm Film Festival [GIFF 70] is the first time we are going to do this. It is a brand-new concept for Gentofte Kino. We should have actually released this event, or festival, back in January '21, but due to the Corona pandemic it has been delayed several times. But it is going to happen now, at the end of May  and we are really looking forward to trying this for a Danish audience. This is the first 70mm film festival of this kind in Denmark since 2009.
Besides Gentofte Kino, only two additional commercial cinemas in Denmark can screen 70mm. One is a small cinema in Jutland [Bio, Malling] and the other one is a major cinema in downtown Copenhagen, Nordisk Film's iconic Imperial Bio. An amazing cinema, but due to the market situation, and normal competition, they rarely show any 70mm classics. They have to screen new titles to stay competitive. I don’t think they have in their cards to be able to clear a weekend in order to do a 70mm festival. They can't just let that money go away, so that opens space for us to organize a 70mm festival.
• Go to GIFF 70, Copenhagen, Denmark
• Go to Picture portrait of Gentofte Kino, May 5, 2021
• Go to The Greatest 70mm Race
This year, due to the Covid pandemic, we are only showing films that are available [in 70mm] in Denmark. We haven’t brought anything in from abroad. We will [probably] do that next year. It is my goal to have one, maybe two films imported from abroad. We have to learn the mechanics and because of Covid, we are not doing the big festival package. But we will do that in 2022. For 2022, if you decide to buy a festival pass, you can get that included. You will get some sandwiches, coffee, soft drinks and your popcorn. All that can be included in one festival pass – a platinum festival pass.
|More in 70mm reading:|
The Greatest 70mm Race
GIFF 70, Copenhagen, Denmark
Gallery: Gentofte Kino May 5, 2021
70mm Retro - Festivals and Screenings
In The Splendour of 70mm. Preserving Wide Film History
"Die Herrlichkeit von 70mm"
|CinemaScope styled curved screen, approximately 12 meter wide. Note the handy BAR to the right.|
This years opening night will be Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight", which is a bit of a challenge to do in 70mm, because of the Ultra Panavision 2,76:1 aspect ratio. We need different lenses and so on. It is a big task to make that work, and it is a long film, but that is going to be a fantastic opening film Friday evening. On Saturday we continue with three films, which is a lot of work for a single screen cinema with only one DP70 projector. Saturday morning at 10:00 it is going to be "Dunkirk", and then at 14:00 we are screening an old fantastic print of "Out of Africa", which is about the Danish author Karen Blixen. We finish the day at 19:30 with a presentation of "Joker". On Sunday morning, we are starting up with "Interstellar" at 10:00, and in the afternoon at 15:00 we are presenting "The Great Race". An original 70mm premiere print from 1966. That is going to be exciting to see how that holds up. Is going to be a busy day in the projection room. There will be introductions to everything. For "Out of Africa", we are working with the Karen Blixen Museum at Rungstedlund. They will be here to introduce the film, and pass out free tickets for the new special Karen Blixen exhibition.
THa: Do you have an impression of the interest for 70mm amongst your audience in Gentofte Kino?
Sune: Yes, actually there is some 70mm awareness out there. First of all among some of our senor guests, who remember the previous times there were 70mm screenings back in the 1960's in Gentofte [Villabyernes Bio and Bellevue, ed].
We also noticed a lot of interest [for 70mm] when we premiered “Tenet” in 70mm in August last year. People came from well beyond the "borders" of this community cinema just to watch and experience this 70mm event. We have had guests travelling from all around the country to come and watch 70mm. 70mm, has broadened our horizon. It is my hope for the Gentofte International Film Festival 70, that it will become an annual weekend where you are able to see films "in the splendour" of 70mm. So, it's been great and has given us high hopes for this festival.
THa: How would you describe the Gentofte Kino?
Sune: The Kino is an cinema from 1938, located in the Gentofte municipality, just north of Copenhagen. It is an old classic single-screen cinema, 35 meters long with a a big auditorium, originally built for 564 seats. We have 13 rows and more than two meters between each row, so there is a lot of space in there. Presently we have 290 seats plus a special VIP lounge with six seats. The VIP lounge is under reconstruction, but it will be ready in the time for James Bond [in September]. Once Bond is here you can have your own VIP lounge.
|"Lawrence of Arabia" is prominently on display in one of the vintage display cabinets from 1938, which were re-discovered in 2020 after being hidden away for 40 years.|
When the cinema opened in '38, it had five big display cabinets, for posters and stills. Around 1981 these cabinets were covered up and forgotten. Last year in 2020 when we renovated the Kino, we re-discovered these beautiful display cabinets. When we opened them, we found several posters nearly 40 years old. Including a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" poster still hanging there! We have restored these cabinets and brought them back to life. They add a feeling of authenticity to the cinema, and we like to display posters from the big poster collection we have in the cinema. We have a collection of more than 11.000 posters upstairs which have been kept and maintained. It's like browsing through history, as much has been kept all through the years. Posters give a good vibrant spirit in an old non-multiplex cinema like the Kino.
It is kind of a "movie madness" place. We will do everything about movies, from screenings of new films, to screening old classics and people can request films as well. So, it is used daily from 9 o'clock in the morning until midnight. And it is great fun. If you love movies, go to Gentofte Kino, that's it! Kino is old style cinema experience, in a cool way in a sense.
THa: What does 70mm mean to you and what inspired you to organize this festival?
Sune: I think it is important for a one-screen cinema to be able to screen as many different film formats as possible. Of cause, we have got the modern [digital] formats, and we also have professional 16mm and 35mm of course, and the "king" of them all, 7OMM! That was important for us, because it is an almost dying film technology. It is important for people to be able see real film and that is the important thing for me. It is enormously effective to see films in digital, but to watch them in 70mm, it becomes a completely different experience. Somebody has to tell people, that this is something you cannot miss. You have to see it.
THa: When did you discover 70mm?
Sune: I think that it must have been "Lawrence of Arabia" 20-25 years ago. I saw that for the first time, and it was a really amazing experience with the colours and texture. I was blown away because it was just so much better than 35mm. Just so much better! Since then, I have been a bit of a film nerd, and I have been in the business for a long time. I was thrilled to see that Christopher Nolan started making new films in 65mm. It kind of spread into Tarantino ["The Hateful Eight"], then Todd Philips ["Joker"] and Kenneth Branagh is coming up with "Death on the Nile" [January 2022]. Hopefully, even though Covid-19 is really putting a toe on cinemas, we will still see some new 70mm productions being done.
|Gentofte Kino is tastefully equipped with lamps, plants and 70mm festival flyers.|
THa: Tell me about yourself.
Sune: I am from 1969 and I remember the first time I was here. I was seven or eight when I saw the first films here in Gentofte Kino. The Kino is my childhood cinema. I grew up with this cinema. It was my first real cinema experience. It was a completely different time for cinemas before home entertainment systems. In Denmark back in the '70s we only had one television channel, so the Kino was the place we went to. It was not a first run cinema, it was second or third or maybe even fourth run cinema at the time [laughing], but during every summer vacation we saw James Bond, and all the old stuff. I was here for many, many years and this is where I grew up
I have had a long professional career in the Danish film distribution business, with Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney and so on. I have been around the world and done interviews, with celebrities like Harrison Ford and Peter Jackson and many more. When I turned 50 I realised the one thing I never had, was having a cinema of my own. I wanted to be able to go to work, and give people something they didn’t know they wanted. It's the most exciting experience to be able to say "Hello" and welcome the audience who come here to be entertained. They are happy when they arrive. The babysitter is taking care of the children and they and full of excitement when they enter. They might be disappointed when they leave, because the film didn't live up to their expectations [laughing], but they were happy when the film started.
THa: And they come back!
Sune: And they come back, and that is the great thing.
You can never make a proper living of having a one-screen cinema. It is impossible. I am happy to have a wife who has a great job, because this is a con-amore project in a sense. With one screen, you basically only have one good show a day, and that is the evening show. The remaining are just less attended shows because people are at work. One thing you can have when having a one-screen cinema, is the excitement of having everybody in the same room seeing the same film. They come to see the same film. They know that, so they start connecting, as they realise;
"Oh, you read the reviews about this film as well? I am so excited about this film".
Anticipation is building, as they know they are going to have a shared experience. The moviegoing experience is so much bigger in a one-screen cinema compared to a multiplex. This means we can show "Star Wars" in the early afternoon, and have "Downton Abbey" in the evening. The audience doesn’t necessarily mix, but they all feel that it is their local community cinema, despite how different the movies we are playing really are.
|The Kino is located on the main street in Gentofte, 20 minutes by train from Copenhagen city center.|
THa: Are you anticipating "70mm" guests from abroad here in Gentofte?
Sune: Our aim for 2022 is definitely to have international guests and to have guest speakers. I have attended several 70mm festivals in Europe. "The Todd-AO Festival" in Karlsruhe (DE), "Widescreen Weekend" in Bradford (UK), "KRRR!" in Krnov (CZ), and "Size Always Matters" in Oslo (NO). These festivals are amazing, I mean really amazing. Highly profiled, and really, really well organized. They are my guidelines for what I want to do. We can probably not match them, but if we can get close to them, and more importantly, if we try to be as professional as these 70mm festivals, then we have something. My ambition is to be make sure everything is fine, and the technique works and to become the "little brother" of these festivals. GIFF 70 is going to be scheduled around the other festivals at the end of January every year. We don’t disturb them, and they don’t disturb us in that mix of those four European 70mm festivals.
THa: Have you heard from people abroad about the festival?
Sune: Only from a few friends of 70mm in Sweden. Because of the pandemic and because we have been closed down for five months [7. December 2020 - 5. May 2021], we did not make attempts to market the festival internationally. I was too scared to do any marketing in case we had to shut down again. For now, I only want to run GIFF 70 in May 2021, in order for us to gain some experience, and to be able to do an even better and more prominet festival in 2022.
THa: What about accommodation, scheduling, titles, tickets, catering etc., for the festival? Is that something, which is also organized by Gentofte Kino?
Sune: Before Covid, it was definitely the plan that we should do catering this year. We also have a very nice local hotel, just 200 meters away from the cinema. They were going to have special prices for people flying in from abroad. There are multiple restaurants and catering services in the neighbourhood close to the cinema.
THa: What about sponsorships?
Sune: The Danish Film Institute is sponsoring GIFF 70. They are excited and think this is a great event, as they don’t have the capacity themselves to screen 70mm at the Cinematek in Central Copenhagen. Carlsberg, the big Danish brewery, is also chipping in some sponsor money for making programming and so on. But, it is not like a big sponsor thing. If anyone likes to sponsor they are welcome in 2022.
THa: Good luck
Sune: Thank you
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