Indie filmmakers in Cannes still dreaming of 3-D

Sun May 24, 2009 1:44pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

CANNES, France (Reuters) - When rock band U2 played at the Grand Palais of the Cannes film festival in 2007 to trumpet their new three-dimensional concert movie, backers of modern 3-D films hailed the coming of a new era in movies.

Two years later, independent producers and distributors making films outside Hollywood's major studios are still waiting for that day to dawn.

Many of them face the same hurdles major studios face -- a lack of theaters equipped to play 3-D films, especially in Europe and Asia, and questions over who will pay for the special eyeglasses to watch them.

They also face a hurdle of their own, lack of money, because independents are rarely as well financed as studios.

But much as The Walt Disney Co. did in 2005 with its 3-D version of "Chicken Little," a few indie producers are wading in, lured by the possibility of bigger box office from higher ticket prices and more fans.

Their involvement is good news for film fans, because in recent years independents have made many of the best movies with original tales like Oscar winner "Slumdog Millionaire."

Jonathan Wolf, executive vice president of U.S.-based trade group the Independent Film and Television Alliance, said that when special effects-filled movies became big business, people wondered if indies could keep pace with the majors.

At the time the answer was yes, and it is the same with 3-D.   Continued...

<p>The image of earth is reflected in a pair of 3D glasses as a woman watches a three dimensional projection in the planetarium "Atmos" during its photo opportunity at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) in Tokyo January 14, 2009. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon</p>