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The Global Film Village: SHOWEST 2009 Report by Marla Lewin hosted the "The Future of Cinema" panel at Cannes 2008 and now we look at the practical side of "The Future of Cinema" at Showest 2009 in Las Vegas.


This was a very different Showest from previous years. Everywhere you looked the emphasis was on Digital Cinema and 3D. The major studios were not as front and center as in previous years. Disney and Sony showed their product reels of upcoming films in theatres. Paramount's trailers showed at their Dinner event sponsored by Deluxe Media Management both before and after the screening of THE SOLOIST which was sponsored by Microspace another digital supplier. Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, and MGM had no formal trailer presentation and Universal was not present. In years past each studio tried to out compete each other with their presentations and star filled lunches and dinners. This year it was all about the hardware and the software that runs the shows.


Showest began as usual with Independent Night and the screening of 4 new films. The most prestigious of these being Showest Triumph Award for Outstanding Direction winner Kathryn Bigelow's THE HURT LOCKER from Summit Entertainment. The other films screening were EASY VIRTUE, MORE THAN A GAME and IS ANYBODY THERE starring Showest Lifetime Award winner Michael Caine.


The Walt Disney Studio presented two product reels one from their Upcoming 3D projects on RealD and Dolby3D systems plus a teaser screening of 45 minutes of footage from UP on Tuesday. They also showed a reel of their other upcoming non-3D films along with a screening of Touchstone's THE PROPOSAL on Wednesday.


RealD also showed a first look at the next 3D film to come from Sony Pictures Animation CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS and Sony's none 3D summer films.


Most exhibitors were left with the impression that the future of 3D is most promising.


RealD was presented with an Innovation in 3D Award for the Focus Features film CORALINE.


GDC technology, NEC, Strong Digital Sytems held a Special Digital Cinema Program Luncheon, "SHOW ME THE MONEY! Does Digital Self Financing During a Credit Crisis, Offer Hope?" The question still remains how many years will it take for the US theatrical community to be able to afford to embrace digital delivery of product, which would eliminate the need for 35mm print traffic, yet at what cost. Because of the economic slump the world is enduring, financing has not been available to convert the screens as anticipated last year. Paramount-Dreamworks Animation had a huge opening on MONSTERS VS. ALIENS but even that was tempered by a shortage of 3D screens.


How many of the digital screens being created will be reserved for use only by the large studios under a most favored nation clause in the financing packages. While the exhibition chains struggle to decide between multiple choices of financing scenarios. These packages each have plusses but their minuses are still unknown. Showest provided a showcase for each company to display their systems showing highly profitable Hollywood movies in the exciting new formats. With theatrical box office being predicted in 2009 to be the biggest ever exhibitors have much to look forward to this year. The 3D animated movie BATTTLE FOR TERRA was shown in XpanD 3D which also sponsored a Reception.


Michael Bay's TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN which includes new state of the art special effects should capture huge B.O. and many screens this summer. Showest attendees were shown an exclsuive first clip of the new TRANSFORMERS film while Mr. Bay accepted an Excellence in Filmmaking Award. In a backstage interview Mr. Bay said, "I am not sure if 3D is a fad, or if it is the future but I'm old fashioned and the style of filmmaking I do is not suitable to 3D."


The final day luncheon was sponsored by DOLBY Laboratories, A special award was bestowed on Exhibition's favorite critic Roger Ebert who for years has been instrumental in persuading moviegoers to fill their theatre seats. Roger was accompanied by his wife Chaz who read his acceptance speech. This was an emotional moment for everyone.


Katherine Bigelow was then given her award. In an interview she told us she used Super 16mm and multiple cameras for her latest film THE HURT LOCKER to create the 360 degree intimacy of being there with her subjects. She then blew it up to film. Sony Classics showed Woody Allen's WHATEVER WORKS to an appreciative audience.


Billy Bush of Access Hollywood was the Emcee for the 2009 ShoWest Award Ceremony. Male Star of Tomorrow, Chris Pine; (Star Trek) Female Stars of Tomorrow, Rumor Willis, Audrina Partridge; Breakthrough Performer of the Year; Zac Efron; Director of the Year, Zack Snyder; Supporting Actress of the Year, Sienna Miller. (in a press conference she was asked by Robin Leach, "Are you truly rebellious") Male star of the year, Dennis Quaid; Female star of the year, Rachel McAdams.


Michael Caine who received a Lifetime Achievement award told the audience, I have received many of these already, and I am not going to stop making films. He said earlier in a backstage interview, "I had no particular plan in my journey of films, I just did it" he thanked his wife and agent, for their many years of support. He said his family always comes first.


We will have video footage from our backstage interviews of Michael Bay, Michael Caine and the other honorees up soon, so be sure to check back.
Marla Lewin
Marla Lewin's blog on


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