The Somerville’s Theatre’s 70mm Film Fest – A Brief Interview with Projectionist David Kornfeld

Photo: CinemaNitrate
Photo: CinemaNitrate

Silverado is going to play over at the Somerville Theatre on September 21st at 7:30 PM, and won’t be projected digitally, the way most theaters do things. It won’t be projected from a 35mm print either; which, from a cinephiles’ perspective, is a more preferred way. It will projected from a 70mm print with 6-track Dolby Stereo sound, the best possible way a film can be experienced – that’s what the Somerville’s committed to.

Their 70mm and Widescreen Festival begins tonight with Lawrence of Arabia at 8 PM and runs through September 25th.

I spoke with projectionist David Kornfeld about putting the event together.

CINEMA NITRATE: You’ve been wanting to do this festival for a long time, and it was a matter of finally getting all of the equipment together, and you were very particular about it. How long did it take you to get all of this stuff?

KORNFELD: It’s been in the making for 12 years. I think with getting all the sound system elements, that took me something like 6 to 8 years.

CN: The Somerville showed some 70mm titles last year, like The Wild Bunch and 2001. Were these a sort of test-run for the festival?

KORNFELD: Yes, the system went active last year and we ran a bunch of 70mm movies over the course of the year. I wanted to be sure that if there were any glitches or bugs in the system, we could take care of them before the festival. I’m cautious. I don’t want to have this big festival, and all of a sudden in the middle of it discover this gigantic glitch. It would be embarrassing.

CN: You ran The Untouchables in 70mm earlier this year, and I must say, the sound was impressive.

KORNFELD: Well, in my opinion we have the best sound system in New England – the right speakers, the right amps, the right processors. We did everything right here.

Photo: CinemaNitrate
Photo: CinemaNitrate

CN: Looking at the list of films, there are some real gems, particularly in my opinion Sleeping Beauty and Mad World. Which films are the one’s that you think people really need to see?

KORNFELD: I wouldn’t miss Lawrence of Arabia, and I wouldn’t miss Lord Jim, because Lord Jim never screens. It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World was of course filmed in Ultra Panavision and needs to be seen this way. And Sleeping Beauty is the only existing 70mm print.

CN: Wasn’t Sleeping Beauty the first widescreen animated feature film?

KORNFELD: No, that would be Lady and the Tramp. Sleeping Beauty was the first of the animated feature to be shot in Technirama, which is anamorphic VistaVision.

CN: Being one of the few films shot in Ultra Panavision, Mad World has a certain preeminence in the history of this format.

KORNFELD: It was designed to be seen on the big screen, as were all of the things we’re running. These films were made it without even the thought of ever being seen on a home system or something like an iPhone. They were made to be seen big. And with an audience. You don’t even get a fraction of the picture information on something like an iPhone or any home media. The resolution, the detail and the color spectrum are reduced or missing. Comparatively it’s embarrassing.

CN: Have most of these films not been seen in this format in Boston since their original release?

KORNFELD: Lawrence of Arabia has, and Sleeping Beauty has. The last time Sleeping Beauty ran around here was in the 1980s.

Photo: CinemaNitrate
A gorgeous 70mm print of ‘West Side Story’ will screen twice: Saturday, September 17th at 8 PM and Thursday, September 22nd at 8 PM. Photo: CinemaNitrate

CN: How long do you think the area is gone without 70mm capability?

KORNFELD: It’s been some time; most of the theaters that could run the format have long since closed. Right now, the Somerville is the only venue in the area that can run the format without needing any equipment or modifications. We have the only permanent installation.

CN: Considering the really great turn-outs the Somerville had for The Wild Bunch and 2001, are you confident the festival will attract similar attendance?

KORNFELD: I don’t know how well we’re going to do with this. I hope it does well. If it does well then we get to do another one next year. This was a long time coming, and it’s very expensive, and we’re hoping that the audience does show up!

CN: Is al it worth the work?

KORNFELD: Well, yeah, it’s a lot of extra work, but it’s worth it because it’s the best way to see a movie.

CN: It is. I think Boston moviegoers are pretty fortunate to have the opportunity see films presented this way. Unfortunately there aren’t many theaters around anymore that can offer this sort of viewing experience.

KORNFELD: There aren’t many people left around who actually understand and really know how to run this format. The experts in projecting this format have mostly retired or passed away. It’s a perishable skill. Next year, theaters are going to run straight into this problem when Dunkirk is released; the film that Christopher Nolan shot in 70mm. But everything will be fine here, so watch that here.

Podcast #201 – ‘Finding Dory,’ ‘Dr. Strangelove,’ ‘Cutter’s Way’ and More!

Steve Head and John Black discuss the new theatrical, home video and film book releases…

Disney/Pixar’s Finding Dory

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The Criterion Collection’s Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

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Twilight Time’s Cutter’s Way

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Paramount Pictures’ Anomalisa

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Magnolia Home Entertainment’s The Wave

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Oldcastle Books’ An Introduction to Film: A Director’s Perspective by Alex Cox

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Pantheon Books’ William Cameron Menzies: The Shape of Films to Come by James Curtis

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Universal Pictures’ Mr Right

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Remember: if you leave us an iTunes review, you will have done perhaps the most wonderful thing we can ask for!

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Podcast #200 – ‘The Finest Hours,’ ‘The Naked Island,’ ‘Only Angels Have Wings’ and More!

Steve Head and John Black discuss the new theatrical, home video and film book releases…

Twilight Time’s Cutter’s Way

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The Criterion Collection’s Only Angels Have Wings

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Howard Hawks: New Perspectives, edited by Ian Brooks

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The Criterion Collection’s The Naked Island

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The Criterion Collection’s Brief Encounter

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Turner Classic Movies: The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter by Jeremy Arnold

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Universal’s The Boy

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Paramount’s Top Gun: Thirtieth Anniversary Edition Blu-ray

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X-Men: Apolcalypse

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Alice Through The Looking Glass

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Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

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Remember: if you leave us an iTunes review, you will have done perhaps the most wonderful thing we can ask for!

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Podcast #199 – ‘Krampus,’ ‘Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,’ ‘The Stuff’ and More!

Steve Head and John Black discuss the new theatrical, home video and film book releases…

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Twilight Time’s Thunderbolt and Lightfoot [Encore Edition] Blu-ray.

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Twilight Time’s In the French Style Blu-ray.

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Twilight Time’s Julia Blu-ray.

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Arrow Video’s The Stuff Blu-ray [Region 1 release].

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Arrow Video’s Dillinger Blu-ray [Region 1 release].

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The Kaiju Film: A Critical Study of Cinema’s Biggest Monsters by Jason Barr.

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Two Weeks in the Midday Sun: A Cannes Notebook by Roger Ebert.

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Magnolia’s Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of The National Lampoon Blu-ray.

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Universal’s Krampus Blu-ray.

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Universal’s The Forest Blu-ray.

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The new documentary Elstree 1976.

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Elstree Studios: A Celebration of Film and Television by Paul Burton and Morris Bright.

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Remember: if you leave us an iTunes review, you will have done perhaps the most wonderful thing we can ask for!

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Podcast #198 – ‘Out of the Inferno,’ ‘The Tribe,’ ‘Kill Me Again’ and More!

Steve Head and John Black discuss the new theatrical and home video releases: Out of the Inferno,
In the Heart of the Sea, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Kill Me Again, Room, The Tribe, How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It) and more!

Remember: if you leave us an iTunes review, you will have done perhaps the most wonderful thing we can ask for!

Lionsgate's Out of the Inferno.
The Pang Brothers’ Out of the Inferno.
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Podcast #197 – ‘Knight of Cups’, ‘Cabin Fever’, ‘Everest 3D’ and More!

Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett in Terrence Malik's Knight of Cups.
Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett in Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups.

Steve Head and John Black discuss the new theatrical and home video releases: Knight of Cups, London Has Fallen, Zootopia, Miles Ahead, Cabin Fever (2016), American Horror Project Vol. 1, Everest 3D, Out of the Inferno, Death by Hanging and more!

Remember: if you leave us an iTunes review, you will have done perhaps the most wonderful thing we can ask for!

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Podcast #196 – ‘Gods of Egypt’, ‘Kung Fu Master!’, ‘Lady Snowblood’ and More!

Meiko Kaji in Toshiya Fujita's Lady Snowblood.
Meiko Kaji in Toshiya Fujita’s Lady Snowblood.

Steve Head and John Black discuss the new theatrical and home video releases: Gods of Egypt, Kung Fu Master!, Mark of the Devil, Nikkatsu Diamond Guys, The American Dreamer, Pressure Point, Lady Snowblood, Pet Shop of Horrors, Paris Belongs to Us, Serial and God’s Club.

Remember: if you leave us an iTunes review, you will have done perhaps the most wonderful thing we can ask for!

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Podcast #195 – ‘The Witch’, ‘Deadpool’, ‘5-25-77’ and More!

John Francis Daley as Pat in Patrick Reed Johnson's 5-25-77.
John Francis Daley as Pat in Patrick Reed Johnson’s 5-25-77.

Steve Head and John Black discuss the new theatrical and home video releases: The Witch, Deadpool, Race, Risen, 5-25-77, The Beauty Inside on Blu-ray, Steve Jobs on Blu-ray, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Second Season on DVD, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Blu-ray, In the Basement on DVD, Bridge of Spies on Blu-ray, Extraordinary Tales on Blu-ay and Downhill Racer on Blu-ray.

We also discuss the new film-related books: Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber edited by Robert Polito, Mickey Mouse: Emblem of the American Spirit by Garry Apgar and the novelization of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (now on Netflix) by Justin Hill.

Remember: if you leave us an iTunes review, you will have done perhaps the most wonderful thing we can ask for!

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Coming to Bookshelves: ‘We Don’t Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy’

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In June, 2015, Plume Books will release We Don’t Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy by Caseen Gaines.

The book covers the genesis of each film, including never-before-seen photographs and production art, and new interviews with director Robert Zemeckis, producer Bob Gale, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Huey Lewis, and dozens of others involved with the making of the trilogy.

“Caseen Gaines has written a very compelling and enjoyable history of our trilogy,” said Bob Gale. “For me, reading it was like going back in time. And – Great Scott! – there were even a few anecdotes that I’d never heard!”

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“Working on this book has been an exhilarating ride – probably just as exciting as trying a steam engine up to 88mph or trying to harness 1.21 gigawatts of lightning,” said author Caseen Gaines. “My goal was to tell stories that haven’t been told before, so fans will discover something new, whether they haven’t seen the movies in a while or have studied every detail over the past thirty years. Those who love the franchise are going to enjoy all the new material covered in the book.”

“We Don’t Need Roads is the truly fascinating story of how one of America’s greatest movie franchises came to be”, said Adam F. Goldberg, creator of ABC’s The Goldbergs. “Caseen Gaines’ in-depth research and unprecedented look at Robert Zemeckis’ series proves that the journey to make a perfect movie is anything but perfect. It’s a must read for any true Back to the Future lover and anyone who wants to peek behind the curtain to see how films get made.”

To pre-order We Don’t Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy click HERE.

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‘Goodfellas’ 4k Scan Coming to Blu-ray

Warner Bros. Home Video will release a new 4k scan of Goodfellas on Blu-ray on May 5, 2015. The HD mastered scan, supervised by Martin Scorsese, is from the original camera negative. The disc will include the prior Blu-ray release’s special features, in addition to a new documentary featuring interviews with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta, Harvey Keitel and Martin Scorsese.

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