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Watch the Okanagan portion of the recession fade away in 3D

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 | 9:27 am

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The success of James Cameron's Avatar has sparked a small revolution in film-making—and investment. (Photo contributed)

By Kathy Michaels

It may not be the first place you’d expect to watch signs of economic recovery, but rest assured they’re now showing at a theatre near you.

Rick Davis, manager of the Capitol Theatre announced this afternoon that West Kelowna will soon be home to some 3D movie magic, and the equipment needed to show the industry innovation would be installed in time for the release of Clash of the Titans. There’s already a 3D theatre in Kelowna and others are slated to pop up in other areas in the Valley.

While it may seem like a trite piece of entertainment news, Davis explained that it’s actually a sign of major change on two fronts. First that the economy is turning around, and second that the blockbuster Avatar has forever changed the way we’re going to be entertained.

“Basically it’s a very expensive process to convert a theatre to play 3D films and banks weren’t lending money out,” he said.

That was before the recession showed signs of weakness and, more importantly perhaps, before Avatar.

“If you had asked me if Westbank was getting a 3D theatre three months ago, I would have said no, but things changed fast with Avatar,” he said, adding that movie was sold out at the Grand 10, night after night, for months.

What basically happened is that the success of Avatar has made film investment a bit more appealing to lending institutions. Banks, in partnership with film companies who are excited to start taking advantage of the cost savings related to ditching film in favour of digital projection came up with a funding formula.

Davis explained that individual theatres will finance the pricey projectors, but film companies saving money on distribution costs will help pay the debt off bit by bit as each film is screened.

“Digital is the single biggest evolution in the film industry since the motion projector,” he said. “In the last 100 years, they’ve gone from silent to talkie, from black and white to colour, but this is the single biggest change in the industry.”

It appears production companies are just as enthused as Davis, too.

This year it’s expected that 20 films will be released in 3D — some produced as a 3D movie, and others that are being converted. Even George Lucas is looking to revive Star Wars in 3D.

But first thing’s first. On April 1 the Capitol Theatre will present its first digital 3-D presentations with the opening of Warner Bros. Pictures ‘Clash of the Titans – 3D’ for special screenings at 8  and 10:30 p.m.

Watch the Okanagan portion of the recession fade away in 3D 5.051

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