70mm Filmfestival During Oslo’s White Nights 2019
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The 70mm Newsletter
and photographed by: Jan-Hein Bal, Amsterdam, Holland.
70mm filmmaker Morten Skallerud with Jan-Hein Bal in the Cinemateket
I never visited the Todd-AO
Festival at the Schauburg Cinerama in Karlsruhe, but since my retirement
from the Amsterdam EYE Filmmuseum, I have attended all other European 70mm
film festivals once or more, in England (Bradford's
Czech Republic (Kino Mir 70's
7OMM Seminar, Krnov and Varnsdorf)
and recently Norway (Oslo 7OMM
Festival). I was accompanied by
Johan Wolthuis from International 70mm Publishers (Netherlands) with his
Oslo now already is my favourite festival, with great prints and in an
exciting capital with much other summer activities. It is organized by the
enthusiastic Jan Olsen, Technical Cinema Manager of the Norsk
Filminstitutt’s Cinemateket (member of FIAF) in the Filmhuset, in the center
of Oslo between station and harbour. It started in 2000 as annual festival,
now every two years and this was the 13th time. During ten days in June a
total of 15 different 70mm prints were screened once or twice in 24
sessions, with original productions and blow-up prints, vintage prints,
restorations and recent productions, shorts and lectures.
Jan Olsen played his film music vinyl records and the festival opened with
the short THE MIRACLE OF TODD-AO and the restored SOUTH PACIFIC
from Hollywood, introduced by Jan Olsen in Norwegian and a lady from the USA
Embassy in English. The restored LORD JIM was introduced in Norwegian
by Per Haddal and Jacob Lothe, also on other Joseph Conrad adaptations.
DERSU UZALA was introduced in English by me, mostly on the Soviet 70mm
film industry, preceding my future publication on the Soviet 70mm history. I
expected to leave during the Danish subtitled screening but the visual magic
prevented this, even though the magnetic sound was damaged.
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13th Oslo 70mm Festival
Amsterdam 70mm Cinema History
Full Introduction for "VOJNA I MIR"
Olsen with Johan Wolthuis from the Netherlands in the Cinemateket
BARAKA was preceded by the famous Norwegian stop-motion [nature
animation, ed] short A YEAR ALONG THE ABANDONED ROAD by filmmaker
Morten Skallerud who was present.
However this short screening surprised me as the website and programme
magazine are all Norwegian. Further screenings included SPARTACUS, 2001:
A SPACE ODYSSEY, HAMLET, THE HATEFUL EIGHT, and DUNKIRK. Blow-ups
were LA BATAILLE DE SAN SEBASTIAN, STAYING ALIVE, 2010, WHO FRAMED ROGER
RABBIT?, THE ABYSS, and PHANTOM THREAD.
On weekdays there were two screenings after 18.00 and three in weekends
after 13.00 as Norwegian law forbids cinema screenings during church hours.
I attended only 9 screenings and never saw a faded print. They came from Jan
Olsen’s private collection (who also organizes outdoor screenings from May
during the long season of white nights, and is also founding a private film
museum far from Oslo), the Norsk Filminstitutt, or abroad like
"Dersu Uzula" from
Denmark, and the SOUTH PACIFIC restoration from Hollywood. Jan Olsen
experiments with filters and once hopes to screen faded prints with a more
black-and-white look, it does not return color but maybe diminishes the
magenta glow. He wants their prints screened only on DP70s before lending
them to others.
The Cinemateket organizes many other festivals and retrospectives during the
year but this 70mm festival is their most successful. Before the festival
already 2.500 tickets were sold in advance. The audience had all ages and
screenings were either sold out or crowded except STAYING ALIVE with
minor attendance. Foreign guests came besides the Netherlands also from
Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Unlike other 70mm
festivals in Europe this is in a capital, and it was even announced on
in the Cinemateket’s Tancred cinema projection room
There are two cinemas, the more modest Lillebil (without 70mm) and the
larger and comfortable Tancred with 195 seats, a flat screen of 10,5 x 4,5
meter, with 70mm 5-channel front sound, many lenses including Ultra
Panavision, and two DP70 projectors. The technical upgrade and rebuild of
the DP70s was executed by Ronald Rosbeek Techniek from the Netherlands,
including maintenance once a year.
The Cinemateket also has children’s animation workshop rooms, and a small
permanent film history exhibition, “the only museum of its kind in
Scandinavia (as of 2005), was built in 1999 by the Norwegian Film
Institute.” according to the printed Guide to the Film Museum. However
during a future renovation the exhibition will disappear, for more catering
space of the now already pleasant cafe (with a Dutch manager), much-needed
extra toilets (as it was difficult to return in time after intermissions), a
larger projection room etc.
However the festival is in danger, as part of the staff may be fired during
future government savings of this state-funded institute. If this includes
one of the two 70mm projectionists than it might affect the festival.
Elsewhere in Oslo the former 70mm cinemas Klingenberg from 1938 and
Colosseum from 1928 still function as digital cinemas and the impressive
Colosseum even has brief projections on their huge dome before some
screenings. Many famous people visited the cinema. Note the Charles Chaplin
statue before the building and inside some photo’s from its history
including a huge LAWRENCE OF ARABIA display. Their floor manager
already had tickets for the 70mm screening of SPARTACUS in the
Cinemateket. And there is more projection on the popular Bygdøy peninsula in
famous museums with Viking ships and polar expedition ships, with impressive
digital projections on its ceilings and the Fram museum screens a short on
polar expedition history in their extra-widescreen cinema. This is a city
and festival to return, maybe with another lecture on one of the some 175
further Soviet 70mm features.
With thanks to Jan Olsen
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