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2008 Academy Member
Bill Lawrence, (United Kingdom)

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Duncan McGregor 11. March 2008
Bill Lawrence, 2008 Academy member. Image by Thomas Hauerslev

Due to unforeseen changes, it was deemed there could be one – and only one – recipient to this year’s academy. His contribution to the programming, events, guests and lectures that the majority of us have witnessed here – since the introduction of the Wide Screen Weekend and Bradford International Film Festival began – will I think take on a legendary status in years to come.

This unique individual, who we have come to grow and love over many years, has a thirst, passion and knowledge for all things cinema and film related. His commitment and dedication to preserving the legacy of wide gauge film, for which this particular weekend has very few rivals, has remained undaunted.

Having worked both sides of the fence – initially assisting with film projection many years ago when he worked in his first cinema, then later as a highly regarded manager – has provided him with an understanding to enable and see the fruition of an accomplished, polished and professional cinema operation, including the wonderful theatre we are in today.

A strong believer in promoting the Cinerama experience, that has remained a regular, steadfast part of this museum’s programme since it premiered here in 1993 – and which will enjoy it’s 15th anniversary in June of this year – is the result of one man’s testament to preserving it’s true value in the field of wide screen cinema.

Likewise, his determination and fulfilment to continually engage and challenge us all with the delights of Cinerama’s successor – namely the 70 millimetre experience – has allowed all of us to fondly remember, relive, and breathe new life into a fast diminishing format.
Further in 70mm reading:

Bill Lawrence in Conversation

Widescreen Weekend home

Academy of the Widescreen Weekend

Internet link:

Reel Solutions

From the old to new, including the latest development in cinema exhibition – namely Digital Cinema – has further provided new and interesting areas of debate – which have been welcomed as well as challenged, but nonetheless allowed this museum to remain uncontested with its vast array of formats under one roof, and which have further provided an additional outlet to expand the arena for the Wide Screen Weekend, continually sought by today’s recipient.

A person whose tastes run from John Coltrane to Meatloaf and from Billy Wilders’ "Sunset Boulevard" to Alfred Hitchcock’s "Vertigo", his talents in developing international relations are just as diverse and wide spread – this weekend’s audience alone proves that in abundance. A man who first invited the current chair of the Wide Screen Academy to Bradford in 1996 and who has trusted his judgement ever since, is just one very small example of his ability to seek out and accept contributions from abroad which have formed fortuitous working relationships, greatly appreciated by those on the receiving end.

A home grown Englishman – from the city of Middlesbrough no less – who will be sorely missed by all his staff in the coming months and years ahead – and who will doubtless raise the same admiration and gratitude from his future employees – but most importantly for all of us here, allow him to remain dedicated to the wide screen cause as this years latest recipient.

This is the end of an era but the dawning of another – a man who deserves more than just a standing ovation, this is an honour that should be shouted from the rooftops, I happily give you a new co-chair for the Wide Screen Academy to continue his work with Thomas Hauerslev – please welcome to the floor once again – the one and only “Mr Wide Screen Weekend”:

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Updated 21-01-24