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Elisabeth Bartlett is blogging the festival scene from Cannes to Los Angeles.
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The Future of Cinema is Here. Or is it?


Professionals from all over the world got together this morning in the shade under a tent on Baron Beach to discuss the future of cinema, from creation to distribution, involving 3D cinema.

Held by in corporation with CFC Media Labs, panelists included: Bruno Chatelin, former Managing Director of UGC Fox and Columbia Tristar and COO of; Ana Serrano, Director of CFC Media Lab, a think-tank environment for emerging new media artistscontent developers and practioners; Alki David, Chairman and CEO of 111 Pictures and; Michael Peyser, filmmaker and Executive Producer of this year's Cannes premiere "U23D," a U2 concert shown in 3D; Bertrand decoux, general manager and vice president of entertainment imaging of eastman kodak company; Alain Coiffier, President of Panavision France; and Aviva Silver, Head of the Media Unit in the Directorate General "Information Society and Media" of the European Commission. .

The main topic of the event was the idea of 3D cinema, including the question of if it will take off, and as always, the question of funding. Since Peyser was in attendance, he had a lot to say about this idea, since "U23D" premiered at the festival with a huge response, the first time there has been this special kind of audience involvement in a 3D experience in Cannes. "...It's true that we've been audacious and somewhat irresponsible in terms of funding for this film, but we have the greatest rock band of all time, and the cool thing is that in 20 or 30 years my kids or Bono's kids can watch this concert and be there live," Peyser said. "We also paid for the learning curve for everyone else to come behind us.... After the film people have been approaching me asking me 'can I do this in 3D cinema?'"

3D Cinema, stuff like "U23D," is an idea that could potentially go to theaters, but it would require theater exhibitors to spend a lot of money on the equipment for such 3D projection, and who knows if theat money would come forward.

Panelists showed positive reactions to the idea of 3D Cinema. "3D cinema is something new that can convince the exhibitor to put something new into his theater," said Alain.

But one panelist, Aviva , had her doubts. "Maybe I'm just naturally cynical," said sunglass wearing Aviva, relaxed in her chair behind the microphone. "But just because technology makes things possible doesn't mean there's a business model for it...If no one's going to pay for it it's not going to happen...We still don't know what's going to happen. There's a lot of creativity in what people are doing, but business possibilities are another matter...It is difficult to predict now if cinema in Europe is going to make the move to digital."

"The future we see is virtual cinema," said David.

Another topic for the event was the question of audience participation within media, and specificaly 3D cinema. Is it a good idea? Would it achieve enough funding? Chatelin presented the idea of "Titanic 2" and what if, for example, the ship didn't hit the iceberg, and the viewer could choose the ending? But panelists weren't sure of this idea, since, as one audience member pointed out, audiences appreciate good art and point of view , and some audiences probably prefer that a great artist decide the point of view to choosing their own.

"I myself am not sure of this idea of audiences being able to choose the ending," said Peyser.

Aviva had her doubts about this too. She gave an example of a film that showed in Berlin, and after the film showed the buzz in the room was so much that It sold to over 40 companies immediatley. "I think it's true that cinema will change with time but I think the collective experience will remain whether or not virtual cinema happens," she said.

One different interesting idea included in the discussion was that of a virtual audience, the diea present, for example, in second life, where one can log into an environment (similar to a chat room), and then be visually present around other people who are logged in on their own computers into the same environment. "What exactly is a virtual audience? Do you feel the presence of others?" asked one audience member.

"Of course you do," answered Peyser. "It's a new form of communication, one where you can be a lot more honest, like a chat room."

The lingering question is whether this virtual audience could fulfill the same thing that a real live audience fulfills,and eventually replace going out to the movies for people. Peyser doesn't think it could. "I think our social process of mating and dating will keep people going to the cinema," he said.




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About Elisabeth

Bartlett Elisabeth
Blogging about the festival scene from Los Angeles

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