Minneapolis, MN, June 11, 2012— After thousands of screenings and nearly four decades of operation, the Walker Cinema has undergone a complete renovation. The new, state-of-the-art Cinema opens to the public on June 22, 2012 and features projection, sound, and seating improvements. Renovations were designed by John Cook of the Minneapolis-based architecture firm HGA.
Upgrades, which began in January with a 4K DCP digital projector and Dolby 3D capabilities, were finished in May and June with Meyer EXP sound system, Kinoton dual projectors for 16- and 35-millimeter film, new upholstered seats, and enhanced sound treatments for the entire room. Renovations were funded by a $1 million grant from the Bentson Foundation, which will also allow the Walker to digitize and present selected films in its Ruben/Bentson Film and Video Study Collection.
“We are at an exciting threshold in the history of film at the Walker with this reopening,” said Walker film curator Sheryl Mousley. “Movie-going is experiencing a remarkable transformation in the shift to digital technology, and the Walker Cinema is keeping pace, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Bentson Foundation.”
Three special screenings that celebrate the new Cinema, explore our global world, and reexamine the history of film will mark the reopening of the Walker Cinema:
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Friday, June 22, 7:30 pm
Free, but reservations are required. Call 612-375-7600.
In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural world is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality.
Benh Zeitlin’s extraordinary debut feature exhibits a rare magic and lyricism that is sure to make it one of the best films of the year. Shot on Super 16mm film and employing non-actors, Beasts of the Southern Wild was the unequivocal darling of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury Prize and, more recently, winning the Camera D’or at the Cannes Film Festival. Directed by Benh Zeitlin. 2012, DCP, 91 minutes. Beasts of the Southern Wild is presented in association with Fox Searchlight Pictures and Cinereach.
This Is Not a Film
Saturday, June 23, 7:30 pm
$9 ($7 Walker members and students)
Juxtaposed between the Persian New Year fireworks outside his window and the unfolding tragedy of the Japanese tsunami on his television, Iranian mater filmmaker Jafar Panahi, under house arrest in Tehran, reflects on his pending six-year prison sentence and 20-year ban on making movies. Although Panahi covertly avoids being the filmmaker, the clear danger of the situation necessitated that the coyly titled This Is Not a Film be smuggled out of the country on a hidden zip drive. This in-the-moment diary is tinged with humor but also the very real urgency of a man condemned and an artist silenced. Directed by Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb. 2011, DCP, 75 minutes.
Aelita: Queen of Mars
Sunday, June 24, 3 pm
$12 ($10 Walker members and students)
Before Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, there was the dramatic sci-fi brilliance of Protazanov’s Aelita: Queen of Mars. Wrought with subtle erotic tensions and national predilections of the moment, the Martian adventure is known for its incredible leaps of fantasy running parallel to documentary-style depictions of 1920s Moscow. Love crosses light years in this popular Russian classic, presented in a rare 35mm print from the Walker’s Ruben/Bentson Film and Video Study Collection.
Composer Dennis James returns to the Walker with collaborator Mark Goldstein, known as the Filmharmonia Duo, performing with unusual historical instruments—including a theatrical organ and a Theremin—to accurately capture the essence of the unique film for this rare event. Directed by Yakov Protazanov. 1924, 35mm, 105 minutes.
Major support to renovate the Walker Cinema and to preserve and digitize the Ruben/Bentson Film and Video Study Collection is generously provided by the Bentson Foundation.