Virtual Exhibitions

Film Companies Keep Dreaming of a Digital Future

While Seelig and Deutchman both see digital projection as inevitable, they agree it will take time, mostly because Hollywood doesn't have much to gain. "The studios are purposely trying to slow down the shift to digital," says Deutchman. "Once a theater can show anything, it's not dependent on 35mm and the barrier of entry is not as difficult. The studios no longer have a stranglehold."

Traveling light: Chris Eyre's Skins goes on a digital road show.
photo: First Look Pictures
Traveling light: Chris Eyre's Skins goes on a digital road show.

In the interim, distributors can invest in the Cinetransformer, a mobile cinema vehicle that updates the late-19th-century tradition of traveling magic lantern shows with digital projection, 100 seats, and on-board concessions. Smoke Signals director Chris Eyre is currently bringing his new movie Skins to Indian reservations and Native American centers around the country via this all-terrain movie theater, leading up to the film's theatrical release on September 27. It may not represent the ideal future for independent film exhibition, but as Deutchman says, "The more venues there are, the better."

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