DIFF Daily 2010

Tron today, awards tomorrow…

Dec 18,2010 - 12:58 PM

Last year, DIFF’s closing gala was the 3D breakthrough smash ‘Avatar’. A year on, the technology has firmly taken root around the world, and DIFF 2010 is returning to the format for tonight’s Closing Gala at the Madinat Arena, the fantasy adventure ‘Tron: Legacy’. The screening follows yesterday’s Cinema for Children Gala film, ‘The Nutcracker in 3D’.

‘The Festival wants to keep up with the trends in the industry and obviously the trend is to move toward 3D,’ says DIFF’s Director of Festival Development Dan Butkovich. ‘But of course it has to be of the same quality as any festival-standard screening, which is usually a little more finessed than at a multiplex.’

Advances in technology have made it easier to equip the Arena for 3D. ‘The twin projectors used now are higher output than last year,’ says Butkovich. ‘3D requires a stronger light output to get the image working correctly. Some cinemas use a more reflective screen. We’re using our standard screen but providing more light from the more powerful projectors.’ This means there has been no need to switch screens at the Arena between yesterday’s 3D screening of ‘The Nutcracker’, last night’s 2D gala, ‘Reign of the Assassins’, and tonight’s presentation.

DIFF programmer Sheila Whitaker is clear about why ‘Tron: Legacy’ was selected. ‘It’s an event film,’ she says. ‘And one knows that, coming from Disney, the 3D will be spectacular. Not everything has to be or should be in 3D but some kinds of film it just seems designed for. This, with the computer game aspect, is one of those.’

Local exhibitors are keeping up with the worldwide trend for increasing 3D-equipped screens as the amount of material released in the format rises. There is also a limited amount of local production in 3D. ‘We’ve been involved in some 3D shoots for commercials and presentations,’ says Tim Smythe, head of FilmWorks, a Dubai-based production company involved in regional and international commercials and features.

But current production costs make larger-scale local 3D productions unlikely. ‘When you plan a feature now, it’s always got to be a topic of discussion,’ Smythe says, ‘but the cost is usually prohibitive. It’s not viable if you can only see it on four or five screens. I don’t see much 3D filming happening here unless it’s [a Hollywood] studio. The technology is becoming more cost-effective but it will always be more expensive.’

Demand for local content might rise if 3D television becomes established, Smythe suggests, but even there sport rather than entertainment seems to be driving demand.

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