The Shared Experience Profiles: Ira, Greg, & Joe


 

In the dim light of the grand, historic Palace theater stood Ira Deutchman with a microphone in hand. Ira was the featured keynote speaker for an annual discussion entitled “Coffee and Conversation” at the Lake Placid Film Forum in 2013. “What is the Shared Experience?” was the burning question highlighted throughout his hour long presentation on theatrical exhibition. Concluding his presentation I asked him for his card and, later on, for a potential interview. He accepted.

Walking onto the campus of Columbia University for the first time is breathtaking. Towering buildings surround a lush, green courtyard flowing with bustling students and faculty members. Arriving in his office, my small crew and I set Ira up in-front of a lofty bookcase. His interview lasted an hour and his talking points were priceless.

In his interview Ira states, “The one thing that you can’t get in any of these other technologies is seeing things with other people. It’s the analogue part. It’s the people in the room, that shared experience,  that makes it different from what you would get in the living room.  And that’s not only what exhibitors need to sell people, but it’s the reason why I’m completely convinced that, again, theatrical – threatened as it may be – is not going to disappear.”

From the exhibition process to thoughts on why movie theaters will always survive alongside technology, Ira’s ideas and discussion points will inform and delight any audience member watching this documentary.


 

Trekking through the bustling streets of mid-town Manhattan, Jon, Conor, and I finally reach our destination – the lobby of the former Walt Disney Screening Room on Park Avenue. We are early and begin to chat with a security guard at the front desk.  With a brisk step and a smile, Robert Dickey, the projectionist in-charge of the private theater, greets us moments later. He parades us into the screening room. As we erect lighting stands and reflectors, our interviewee arrives and warmly greets the crew, eager to talk to the camera.

Grandson of an original Warner Brother and son of a Hollywood actress and producer, Greg Orr is no stranger to the movie theater industry. A resident of New York City, Greg has written and produced for programs featured on The Discovery Channel, A&E, AMC, The History Channel, and other networks. In 2011, Greg managed to write, produce, and direct a sci-fi thriller titled, Recreator, the first in a series of movies about cloning and the threat of replacement. He was generous enough to provide over 30 minutes of discussion for The Shared Experience.

In his interview, Greg makes this statement; “I look at the advance of people watching movies on smart phones and iPads and these small devices, these personal devices, and we think about the beginning of the movies, it’s where the movies started – at kinetic scope parlors where you went in, paid a couple pennies for five cents and looked at a little screen on a cranked machine that showed somebody dancing or a bit of a prize fight or something. That’s how people first saw movies – on a little individual screen. Now we’re sort of back to that full circle; more people are watching their movies, their entertainment on a small screen; which is maybe ironic. We are waiting now for the next explosion that brings it back up on the big screen and what the new big-screen will look like remains to be seen.”

Throughout the documentary, Greg offers marvelous insight regarding the history of movie theaters as well as an independent filmmakers perspective concerning the film industry.


 

On a sleepy Saturday morning, I strolled down a street lined with brownstone homes toting my camera, lighting kit, tripod, audio equipment, and backpack full of notes. People who walked past me seemed to second guess the smile I was carrying, too. But I was delighted to be hauling my equipment down the block because I was about to interview Joseph O. Holmes.

Joseph O. Holmes is an art photographer who commonly photographs to a unique theme – people in the workplace. In the past, Joe has created various series involving themes such as Christmas tree lots and machine shops, but his latest project held a special place in my heart and in my interest. “The Booth” is collection of art photographs and portraits related to movie theater projectionists and the mysterious rooms they work within.

Joseph explains how the project came about. “It came to me all at once one night when my wife and I went to the movies. We were sitting in the audience before the movie started and I looked back at the little window. Sometimes, I look up there just to see if there is a silhouette or a light. You can see what’s going on. I turned to my wife, and said, ‘You know what? That would make a fascinating workspace project. I should see if I could get permission to get into a projection booth and do a workspace project there, because, number one, nobody can go up there, it is totally off limits, and also, the machinery and the tools must be really fascinating. They must look gorgeous for a photo.’”

You will experience Joe’s creativity and art during his chapter of the documentary. Check out Joe’s website for more information by clicking here.

 

 



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