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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 2, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 36
Cinerama's 70mm Film Festival -

An interview with Greg Wood
Arts & Entertainment
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Cinerama's 70mm Film Festival -

An interview with Greg Wood

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

70MM FILM FESTIVAL
SEATTLE CINERAMA
THEATRE
September 9-19


It's been a while, but the Cinerama has finally scheduled a new 70mm Film Festival, and while old favorites like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lawrence of Arabia return, newcomers like The Sound of Music, Baraka, Spartacus, Apocalypse Now, Pink Floyd: The Wall and Starman are all making their first appearance. Also included are recent releases like The Hateful Eight, Interstellar, Inherent Vice and The Master, while the 30th anniversary of kick-butt favorite Aliens is celebrated in all its wide celluloid format glory. Other entries this time include underrated gems like Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce and Michael Cimino's Year of the Dragon, while it's time to venture back onto the gaming grid with way-ahead-of-its time Disney classic TRON.

With the festival starting next Friday, I once again had the pleasure of sitting down with Cinerama Director of Operations Greg Wood. Here's some of what we talked about:

Sara Michelle Fetters: So, the 70mm Film Festival is back! How long has it been? Feels like it's been a few years at this point, right?

Greg Wood: Yeah. It's been a long time. Definitely exciting. It's fun to do this stuff as always. This is a nice one just because it's the first time we're including blowups, so it kind of opens up a lot of movies for us.

Sara Michelle Fetters: Talk to me a little bit about that. What do you mean by 'blowups' for people that aren't in the know?

Greg Wood: 70mm went through a phase where it was really expensive to make. It was so popular there was a phase that people were actually shooting the movies in 35mm and then they would blow it up onto a 70mm negative to show the film, so that's why they call it a 70mm blowup. It's not filmed with a true 70mm camera but it's projected off a 70mm negative.

Sara Michelle Fetters: When you and I had chatted in the past, doing a 70mm Film Festival was something you obviously wanted to do again, but you also weren't entirely positive studios were going to be willing to lend out any of their prints in order for you to program a worthy festival. Safe to say, this was a festival you did not want to see come to an end.

Greg Wood: Very true. To get specific, though, it's not really trouble finding [70mm prints], it's the trouble of having people lend them out anymore. What happened recently with The Hateful Eight being distributed in so many theatres, a lot of multiplexes rushed out to put 70mm projectors back in their venues, but they also didn't train their projectionists properly, so the prints did not get handled very well.

Sara Michelle Fetters: A lot of them got burned. You heard about incidents all across the country.

Greg Wood: Right. So, all of a sudden you've got a lot of people across the nation who can run 70mm with equipment, but the prints were going back into the studio in bad condition. This has made a lot of the vaults and film archives who have good prints just close down to protect their libraries. That's what's happened. It's just hard to get access to run this stuff anymore.

Sara Michelle Fetters: So, what has that been like for you this time to find them? You seem to have done pretty well for yourself. I mean, you couldn't ask for a better year to be showing Aliens in 70mm, right?

Greg Wood: I know, right? I was definitely fortunate that we got in touch with the University of North Carolina School of Arts, because Aliens was a hard one to find. But thankfully we have a great relationship, so they let us roll with that. Apocalypse Now, too. Those are two of the key movies we've never run before which are going to be really fun. Then Fox, for example, has this master library, and they have the most titles out of all the 70mm productions. They're not lending at all anymore, but we somehow convinced them to trust us for this festival, which was a major coup. I mean, we're showing Patton.

Sara Michelle Fetters: I admit, I'm so excited about Patton I could just&

Greg Wood: I know, right?

Sara Michelle Fetters: To see that one in full 70mm? Extraordinary.

Greg Wood: It's awesome. Right? We know we can do 2001: A Space Odyssey because we made that print, same with Lawrence of Arabia. So we know the biggest two movies are available to us, so in assembling the festival it's always the question of, what can we put around them? Then we started sinking our teeth into a couple other major titles. We knew we had to get Baraka, and we also knew we wanted to play the recent stuff, like Interstellar and Inherent Vice, but, it's still always hard to not see things like Vertigo or It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World not get in. It's always sad when some of those prints are just not made available to us.

Sara Michelle Fetters: I will say, and it probably makes me sound like a total geek, but I might be more excited for Tobe Hooper's crazily unhinged vampire space zombie masterpiece Lifeforce than I am just about anything else you've managed to program.

Greg Wood: If you're in the know, that's one to see, right? Same with Year of the Dragon. That's another one I'm excited for people to experience. And how about Starman? I think that's one of John Carpenter's more underrated classics, so getting that one made me quite happy.

Sara Michelle Fetters: For you, what movies were you most excited about getting?

Greg Wood: No surprise, Apocalypse Now and Aliens, as we've already talked about. Getting our hands on those films really makes the festival, I think. But what's more exciting is what we are hoping to do in the future. We'd really like to make more of our own prints. We've talked with Paramount about striking a new 70mm print for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Also Top Gun and Raiders of the Lost Ark. My dream is to make a new 70mm print a year. I'd love to strike ones for Grand Prix and Ice Station Zebra, as it would be great to get both of those back into circulation at some point. I mean, putting a new print back into circulation, how precious would that be? So great.

The 70mm Film Festival begins Friday, Sept. 9 with a 7pm screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey and continues through Monday, Sept. 19. For a full lineup and ticket information, go to www.cinerama.com or head to the theatre's box office at 2100 4th Avenue at Lenora St.

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