Recently, Lance Maurer, CEO of Cinnafilm, invited me to speak at a presentation of cutting-edge film restoration techniques. He has been a supporter and advocate of the Legacy project for many years, and has done much to try and use his industry connections to get presentation time for the project. We’ve set up such meetings before, but they’ve been canceled by attendees for various reasons.
This time however, we knew that in attendance would be appropriate people from Fox and Disney, as well as a who’s who of film restoration technologies; Technical Academy Award winners; ILM/Lucasfilm, members of the Visual Effects Society, etc. Legacy is based on several new techniques and technologies, so this seemed like just the right, brutal, impossible-to-please audience of experts to screen the results to. If there was really something unique to the process, these people would know it, and would talk about it.
In the end, Disney and Fox approached me about a number of options, ranging from restoring other marquee films to licensing exclusively my process and tools, and I was similarly asked about a variety of ideas by other studios/agencies. I also got a really interesting rundown by one of the guys who actually mastered the Star Wars Blu-Ray, who was funny and sympathetic, despite the fact that part of the presentation included handing the Blu-Ray its ass.
In the end, what wheels there are are in motion. The film’s future is fraught with a multitude of issues, but getting Star Wars is why Disney’s trying to buy Fox in the first place, and they are interested in revitalizing/remonentizing all their assets for their soon-to-be-launched streaming service.
It is always fun to be able to show people shots from the film and say without exaggeration or hyperbole that they’ve never been seen at that quality before. Not in theaters in 1977, and in no home release since. It’s pretty obvious looking at it, but hearing gasps from industry veterans, some of whom worked on the original film, makes the whole tiresome journey worth it. I am encouraged by the attention the presentation has gotten the project, and have been asked to present again at several upcoming venues. Mostly, I’ve said I’m happy to consider restoring other films so long as Star Wars is in the deal. Discussions are happening/emails are being exchanged. It is an important step; I suspect many to go yet. But one never knows. I will try to have one of the upcoming shows filmed so you guys can see what goes down.
More to come.