"As screens are getting smaller and smaller, we thought 'Let's go larger and larger!'," BAM President Karen Hopkins told Indiewire about the Brooklyn venue's new theater, the Steinberg Screen at BAM's Harvey Theater.
The Steinberg Screen is 35 feet by 19 feet, and the BAM Harvey Theater holds more than 800. It's a truly epic way to see a film.
The aim, according to Hopkins, is to bring films to the screen that should really be seen in a larger-than-life way. "We want to do films with live music, epic films that really shouldn't be seen on some measly little screen. We want to create a larger cultural experience rather than just screening a movie."
The screen, which was designed specifically for the space so that it could be easily taken down, stored, and put back up, was launched with the Big Screen Epics series.
Reacting to the experience of seeing some of those films on the big, big screen, Hopkins said, "For me, 'The Godfather' is everything. Watching that movie again just made me really notice everything. They're eating throughout the entire movie. I just saw everything: the music, the food, the weather (It's always sort of snowing or drizzling in New York.) It's a movie that I've seen a hundred times, but watching it on the big screen like that, seeing all the layers of genius, was just great. The audience was, of course, great, too. When [Peter Clemenza says] "Leave the gun, take the cannoli," the whole crowd went crazy."
The venue will open up during certain holiday seasons and the summer. During this year's winter holiday, though, the Steinberg Screen will give way to a master of the silver screen, when Frank Langella takes the Harvey Stage for "King Lear."
Currently, the screen is showcasing Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine," a film that is a tribute to "A Streetcar Named Desire," in the very same theater where that film's star Cate Blanchett performed the role of "Streetcar"'s Blanche DuBois in BAM's 2009 production of that play.