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Trumbull: Local Film Could Boost FX Industry

Staff Reports

Digital FX pioneer Douglas Trumbull is planning a sci-fi film in the Berkshires that he hopes will restart the fledgling special-effects industry here that never quite got off the ground.

The news was reported last Wednesday in the Journal of New England Technology. Trumbull, who left Hollywood for the Berkshires three decades ago, continues to operate out of his Southfield studio. But many of the special-effects producers who followed him closed up shop during the 1990s.

He told the Journal:

With luck, the project will inspire new interest in the visual effects cluster in the Berkshires, and perhaps lead a broader film and media industry to take shape in the area, Trumbull said. "People find it so stunningly better than living in New York or LA," he said. "Once you get someone to come and work, they tend to bring their wives and kids. And they all fall in love with the community and don't want to leave."

Last year, Jeff Kleiser of Synthespian Studios in North Adams indicated he was mulling an animated feature that could create hundreds of jobs and help boost the FX industry in the Berkshires.

Trumbull is best known for his groundbreaking work on "2001: A Space Odyessy" and "Blade Runner." The FX maestro talked about his work on "Blade Runner" a couple of years ago at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington before a screening of the restored film. 

Tags: film, special effects      

Beacon Offers Olympics on Big Screen

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The 2010 Winter Olympics are getting the big-screen treatment in Pittsfield.

The Beacon Cinema is dedicating one of its state-of-the-art digital screens for free showings of the action in widescreen beginning this Wednesday.

In a release, owner Richard Stanley said he was "looking for a way showcase the Beacon's all-digital projection system and give the audience an example of its unique capabilities." 

"Digital projection allows us to not just be in the movie business but truly in the entertainment business. What better way to share that with an audience than with a fun and free event like the Winter Olympics? Can you imagine downhill ski racing or snowboarding on a 40-foot screen? You just can't get that experience at home."

The Beacon opened last fall in the historic Kinnell-Kresge building with six screens in all-digital format with two able to handle three-dimensional films.

This isn't the first time the theater's opened its doors for free public events. Earlier this month it showed the Super Bowl. That only brought out about 25 people (but neither the Pats nor the New York teams were playing this year), but it was enough to encourage Stanley and manager John Valente into trying other events.

That will include XBox game tournaments, concerts and more 3-D films.

"The success of 'Avatar' in 3-D has shown that when given a choice, the audience clearly prefers the 3-D version of a film that is also being shown in regular 2-D," said Valente.

James Cameron's breakthrough film was drawing in record crowds weeks after its release, especially for theaters showing the 3-D version.

It's done so well at the Beacon, that a third 3-D screen is being added in anticipation of the opening of Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" on March 5.

Meanwhile, you can settle in with a bucket of popcorn to watch the Olympics in HD each evening from Wednesday, Feb. 17, through Sunday, Feb. 28, from 8:30 to 11 p.m.

Tags: Olympics, free event      
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