Quentin Tarantino is not only a rabid defender of 35 mm as the best medium for shooting films, but for projecting them in theaters as well. While Christopher Nolan and others agree that celluloid cameras are still superior to the highest HD, most industry professionals understand that the story is over for 35 mm projection in this country. It’s done.
But not for Tarantino’s New Beverly. The landlord of the venerable Los Angeles repertory cinema is so anti-digital (see Cannes press conference) that he pulled out the digital projector installed without his knowledge alongside the 35 mm projectors last June by Michael Torgan, who’s been running New Beverly’s day-to-day theater operations since his father Sherman died in 2007.
When Tarantino found out about the digital projector, he decided it had to go– and so it will. And now Tarantino tells LA Weekly that he will not only ditch digital, but he will also assume Torgan’s role as Head Programmer. "[Torgan]’s really done a Herculean job. But after seven years as owner, I wanted to make it mine."
"Now’s the time to do it. I want the New Beverly to be a bastion for 35 millimeter films. I want it to stand for something. When you see a film on the New Beverly calendar, you don’t have to ask whether it’s going to be shown in DCP [Digital Cinema Projection] or in 35 millimeter. You know it’s playing in 35 because it’s the New Beverly."
But is Tarantino’s decision realistic? American Cinematheque director Barbara Smith has said, "Digital is honestly the only way you can possibly stay in business at this point."
Head to the New Beverly website and you will not find a September program–but you can expect an October program soon. Down the line we’ll see films from Tarantino’s private collection, whose highlights include prints of all three Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood films in IB Technicolor.
Tarantino, meanwhile, is gearing up for production on "The Hateful Eight" in the new year.