Wednesday, August 5, 2015

So Far...

I am thrilled to announce that 3-D SPACE has officially received tax-exempt nonprofit status from both the IRS and the State of California. We are officially a 501(c)3 charity and are eligible to apply for many federal and state grants, as well as receive tax-deductible contributions from donors. This is a HUGE step in making our 3-D center a reality.

My next goal is to find a permanent home for our center and museum, and I am very optimistic that we will be able to acquire the building that we have been looking at in the NoHo Arts District of Los Angeles. We are very excited about the prospects for this site - the building is perfect for our purposes with an already existing theater, gallery, and classroom. A brochure is available outlining our plans and our fundraising needs in order to purchase the building, Please email if you are interested in receiving the PDF file.

We have been extremely busy this year, even without having a home. We have been building our museum collection, receiving items from a number of donors and collectors, including a considerable part of the Ray Zone 3-D collection. We have also been curating exhibits and screenings in partnership with many other organizations. Our efforts have included:
  • In March, we curated a 3-D mini-museum exhibit, including a packed screening of the 1953 classic House of Wax (with special guest Victoria Price, daughter of Vincent Price) for the Monsterpalooza Convention in Burbank, California.
  • In April, we presented an outdoor 3-D movie, featuring a Q&A with a NASA/JPL scientist, at the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, California.
  • In May, 3-D SPACE curated the 3-D Village at the Bay Area Maker Faire, presenting the work of a number of stereoscopic artists.
  • In June, we helped the estate of silent film star and stereo photographer Harold Lloyd with the restoration and presentation of some of Lloyd’s images at a prestigious film festival in Bologna, Italy.
  • July was our busiest month yet, with two panels at the San Diego Comic Con: The first, co-presented with the Jack Kirby Museum, was a presentation on the 3-D comic book collaboration between Ray Zone and Jack Kirby, featuring a half-hour television interview from 1984 that hadn’t been seen publicly in over 30 years. The second was the 3-D world premiere, in partnership with Captured Aural Phantasy Theater, of a “lost” 3-D EC Sci-Fi comic book that was originally intended to be published in 1954. 
  • In July, we also teamed up with the LA 3-D Club and LA Filmforum to present a theatrical screening of 3-D Rarities including a Q&A with the films producer, preservationist Bob Furmanek of the 3-D Film Archive.
  • And in Snowbird, Utah at the National Stereoscopic Association’s 3D-Con, 3-D SPACE co-presented the 3-D theater, hosted a poolside “Dive-in” screening of Creature From The Black Lagoon, and curated a mini-museum exhibit for the art gallery.

And we have even more planned for August and the rest of the year!

3-D SPACE exists and has come this far thanks to generous donations from the 3-D community, including many of you. Thank you! I look forward to your ongoing support as we continue to grow and become the hub for all things 3-D.                                                                

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Momentous Month

July 2015 is proving to be a month just chock full of 3-D actvities. Things kick off with the San Diego Comic-Con July 8-12. This is the largest pop culture arts convention in the country, and this year, in addition to the typical presentations by the movie studios and comic book publishing companies, there will be two programs that I’m participating in.

First, on Thursday the 8th, at 4:30pm, 3-D SPACE will be teaming up with the Jack Kirby Museum to present The Zone Show: The Jack Kirby Interview, a rare screening of the 30-minute 2-D 1984 TV interview of legendary comic creator Jack Kirby by Ray “3-D” Zone, the “King of 3-D Comic Books.” We all miss Ray very much, and I’m happy to be helping to keep his legacy alive.

Then on  Saturday, July 11th at 6:30pm, I’ll be a panelist for The Unpublished EC 3-D Comic Revealed. This presentation will feature the World premiere of the lost 1954 EC sci-fi classic comic book. This book was intended to be released in 1954, but was never published in 3-D. I was invited to convert the original 1950s artwork just for this event, and it will be shown at SDCC for the first time ever in anaglyph 3-D. The panel will feature a dramatic reading  of the pre-comics code stories by our talented friends at Captured Aural Phantasy Theater.

Comic-Con is immediately followed by our monthly club meeting in Pasadena, and this month’s meeting will be very special. This month is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the LA 3-D Club, and the July meeting will kick off the club’s bir3Day festivities! 

The party continues on Sunday, July 19th at 2pm with a screening of 3-D Rarities at the Downtown Independent Theater. The LA 3-D Club, 3-D SPACE, and LA Filmforum will celebrate 100 years of 3-D movies with an amazing collection of restored stereoscopic treasures dating back to the dawn of 3-D cinematography, followed by a Q&A with Bob Furmanek of the 3-D Film Archive. We’re flying Bob into LA just for this screening. This will be an event NOT to be missed!

July rounds out with the annual National Stereoscopic Association’s 3D-Con, being held this year in Snowbird, Utah (near Salt Lake City) from July 21-27. I’m co-chairing the stereo theater at the convention, and the LA 3-D Club will be presenting a special afternoon of films from last year’s 11th Annual LA 3-D Movie Festival, including the 1st place award winning short film One Night In Hell, and a showing of the wonderful 3-D documentary Cosplay Dreams 3D (which was partially filmed at the San Diego Comic-Con). 3-D SPACE will be exhibiting pieces from the museum collection in the 3D-Con Art Gallery, and I will also be hosting a fun “dive-in” movie screening at the resort’s pool to bring the convention to a close. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Art For Art’s Sake

I was recently invited to submit a piece to an upcoming group art show at the Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks. The gallery specializes in animation art, and their shows usually feature a cartoon-related theme to be interpreted by each of the 100 or so invited artists. I have participated in several of these art shows over the last year, and it’s always interesting to see how others interpret the same theme. Some of the artists paint, some sculpt, some make multimedia installations, and one even creates unique figurines out of peanuts. So far, though, I am the only one who has created lenticular 3-D prints. 

My first attempts at lenticular 3-D happened many years ago, when a now-defunct company called Orasee released a digital home lenticular printing kit. My earliest attempts included 3-D business cards, some promotional materials, and a few photos. The kit worked okay, but my inkjet printer left something to be desired as far as image quality.

A few years ago, Jon Schnitzer, of The Brain Factory, hired me and Ray Zone to create 3-D invitations for the opening reception of the Tim Burton exhibit at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Jon provided a digital image of one of Tim Burton’s paintings, and Ray did a 3-D conversion, creating an extreme stereo pair from the single image. My task was to determine a method to extrapolate the mutiple in-between images required for a glasses-free picture, and I figured out how to do this using Adobe After Effects. The finished invitiation turned out great, and Jon, Ray and I made several more lenticulars together, including two creepy presidential portraits that hung at the White House Halloween party. To produce the final artworks, Jon sent the images out to a specialized lenticular printing service, and while the finished prints looked fine, the quality control and customer service at the printing company wasn’t very good.

In early 2014, when the Van Eaton Galleries asked me to come up with something to include in their tribute show to animator Jay Ward, I decided to try my hand at making another lenticular, entirely by myself. Ray had taught me a lot of his conversion techniques, and I had developed many of my own while working on 3-D projects for The Simpsons, so I created an image, converted it to 3-D, and interlaced and printed it myself. I was satisfied with the end result, but I ended up going through so much ink and lens material before getting a print I was happy with, that I decided that I would find a printing service for my future lenticulars.

Last winter, I used the online service to print one lenticular piece of for a group art show of cartoon villains and another piece paying tribute to the Rankin-Bass studio. Again, while the finished pieces were acceptable, there were issues with the printing service during production - scratched lenses and misalignments - and generally poor customer support. 

So when this latest invitation came along, to create a tiki themed cartoon mash-up, I needed to find a new, reliable printer. Some exhaustive searching led me to Z-Axis Prints, at, and I can’t say enough about their work.  Harvey Jewett, at Z-Axis, provided high quality, fast turnaround, and great online communication. I emailed Harvey a sequence of 18 images, and a few days later I was holding a beatiful 11”x17” lenticular print. Perfect the first time!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Great News From 3-D SPACE

I’m thrilled to be able to announce that 3-D SPACE, The Center For Stereoscopic Photography, Art, Cinema, and Education has been granted 501(c)3 tax-exempt status by the IRS. This means that 3-D SPACE is now officially a nonprofit charity, and is eligible to receive grants and tax-deductable donations. This is a very important milestone and will allow us to move forward with the next phase of our project, which will involve both the cataloging and digitizing of the many images, videos, and other artifacts in our collections, as well as actively pursuing the funding to get a physical space to house the museum. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the enthuiastic support that 3-D SPACE has received from the members of the LA 3-D Club during our startup.

Last month, I presented a special screening of HOUSE OF WAX at the Monsterpalooza convention. Several days before the event, I was contacted by the organizer, Eliot Brodsky, who told me that one of their guests had cancelled and that there would now be an empty meeting room at the convention center. Eliot asked me if I would be interested in setting up a 3-D exhibit in the room for the duration of the convention. I agreed, and set about curating a 3-D mini-museum, which became the first public presentation from 3-D SPACE.  We displayed a number of promotional posters, lobby cards, and other items from the 3-D horror and sci-fi movies of the 1950s and the 1980s, classic 1950s horror comic books, and educational materials on the history of 3-D and science behind stereo vision. We also set up a theater area, with seating for 15 people and an LG passive 3DTV, where we showed classic 3-D clips and the wonderful slideshow BOB BURNS: A HALLOWEEN LEGEND. The room proved to be very popular, and served as sort of a 3-D lounge where people could sit down, rest their feet and watch some entertaining stereo content. Thank you so much to club members Lawrence Kaufman, John Rupkalvis, John Hart, Mark Kernes, Steve Golden, and Jodi Kurland for loaning items for display in the exhibit, and for volunteering to help on site at the convention.

While 3-D doesn’t seem to be getting as much press lately as it had in recent years, that doesn’t mean it’s going away. In addition to our own club events, there have been stereoscopic goings on almost non-stop for the past month! The recent Giant Screen Cinema Association Expo featured a full program of 3-D IMAX films on the big screen at the Universal AMC. That was immediately followed by the Virtual Reality Los Angeles Conference, a sold-out event in downtown LA that featured numerous stereoscopic VR experiences. There were 3-D screenings at the Monsterpalooza convention, the Wondercon convention, and even the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy conference. The Columbia Space Shuttle Memorial Museum in Downey featured an outdoor 3-D movie screening as part of it’s week-long City of STEM science events. And there are numerous 3-D events at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas this month.

And lastly, there are some great new 3-D Blu-Ray releases happening. Warner Bros. last month finally put out a 3-D restoration of KISS ME KATE, and the 3-D Film Archive is now taking pre-orders for their 3-D RARITIES disc, coming out in June. Bob Furmanek has also announced that later this year they will be restoring both THE MASK and GOG for home viewing. These should be in everyone’s collections, and I would encourage you to support these releases so that we will hopefully get more classic 3-D movies in the future!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Big Screen, Little Screen

As I write this, I am attending two days of screenings at the Giant Screen Cinema Association’s annual spring film expo. This local event is presented by the GSCA, whose core purpose is to “advance the business of producing and presenting educational giant screen and immersive cinema experiences globally. GSCA’s membership includes more than 260 organizations in nearly 30 countries. Member organizations include giant screen filmmakers, distributors, theaters, suppliers, manufacturers, and students from around the world.” The program includes a LOT of 3-D content, including impressive films about space exploration, undersea creatures, dinosaurs, and robots, all presented on the giant IMAX screen. 

One thing that I find very interesting about these large-format science and nature documentaries is the fact that they exist in a production and distribution ecosystem that is largely seperate from the Hollywood studios. Many of these films are produced through grants and corporate sponsorships, and they are more often filmed in native stereo, not because their foreign sales depend on it (like the latest studio blockbusters), but because 3-D is integral to the experience. It was, for the most part, the giant screen 3-D ecosystem that  kept stereoscopic storytelling alive during the lean years before the recent digital 3-D boom. And the program of films at this year’s expo shows that 3-D will continue to be alive and well on the really big screen. Some of these films will play this year at the California Science Center, and I would encourage you to support this industry and visit your local IMAX and other giant screen venues.

On another note, there are finally some new 3-D BluRay releases for the small screen that I’m excited about. In the past few months we have seen several classic 1950s and 1960s 3-D movies finally become available, many through the efforts of Bob Furmanek and the 3-D Film Archive. Their restorations of Dragonfly Squadron and The Bubble look fantastic, and I’m looking forward to more releases from them this year, including The Mask (for the first time in full color dual-system 3-D) and their disc of 3-D Rarities that should be an important part of any collection. Sadly, the studios are still being very slow to release their back catalog titles. Sony did release Man In The Dark last year, but they are sitting on several other pictures that have already been digitally mastered but have no announced BluRay release dates, such as Miss Sadie Thompson, The Mad Magician, and the Three Stooges shorts Spooks and Pardon My Backfire. This month, Warner Bros. has finally released their newly restored version of Kiss Me Kate, and it looks great! But, they also haven’t announced any further 1950s films from their library. I would personally love to see them make Charge At Feather River available. And Universal apparently has no plans to release any more of their classic films, which include It Came From Outer Space, Revenge Of The Creature, and The Glass Web. It seems like a Jack Arnold box set would be a no-brainer, but so far it’s not happening. If you would like to see these films, and the rest of the surviving 3-D movies from the golden era get released for 3DTV, I would encourage you to buy the BluRays that ARE available now, and write to the studios, sign the petitions, and let the powers that be know that these movies have a home market.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

C’est Magnifique

Last month, the International 3-D Society named filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet the recipient of its highest honor, the Harold Lloyd Filmmaker Award. The society also presented Jeunet with the “Best 3-D Independent Feature” award for his latest movie The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet.

I have been a fan of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s work for years, marveling at the visual playfulness of his compositions and the fanciful worlds that he creates in such movies as Delicatessen, City of Lost Children, and the Oscar-nominated Amelie.  His earlier works showed an understanding of space that always seemed to imply 3-D even in flat images. So I was quite excited to hear that he was finally making his first stereoscopic motion picture.

Spivet tells the story of a 10-year-old boy from Montana who runs away from home and embarks on a journey to Washington D.C. to receive a prestigious award from the Smithsonian Institute. If you haven’t seen the film, that’s because while it was released to most of the world in 2013, it has yet to be released in the United States. However, while it is still awaiting an American theatrical run, it is currently available as an import 3-D BluRay from Amazon and this is how I was able to first watch this movie last year. All hyperbole aside, I find it to be perhaps the best 3-D movie I have ever seen, intimate and character driven, with stunning 3-D cinematography that utilizes depth as an integral storytelling tool. 

On January 26th, two days before the I3DS awards ceremony, the Society hosted a screening of T.S. Spivet at Raleigh Studios’ Chaplin Theater, and I finally had the pleasure to see it projected on the big screen. The evening was made particularly special by the fact that Jeunet was in attendance for the show and engaged in a Q&A immediately following.

Jeunet expressed that he has loved stereoscopy since childhood, when he first had a View-Master viewer. He called it “magical” and explained that he used to change the order of the frames on his reels, his ‘first attempts at making movies.” He said that he wrote the script and storyboards for Spivet from day one with the intention of filming in native 3-D and “not that 3-D conversion!” And unlike many contemporary directors and cinematographers who insist on using long lenses which flatten the image, he said he prefers shooting with short lenses. In fact, most of the movie was shot using a 22mm lens. His love for wide-angle shots had always been evident in his earlier works, and this latest picture takes full advantage of this visual style, taking its time with lingering shots that create a deep connection between audience and image. I would be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge the marvelous work done by Jeunet’s director of photography, Thomas Hardmeier, and stereographer, Demetri Portelli (whose other credits include Martin Scorsese’s Hugo).

Jeunet can be a bit of a spitfire. In both the Q&A, and in his acceptance speech at the award ceremony, Jeunet explained why the film hasn’t been released in the U.S. yet. “Mr. Harvey Weinstein bought it...and of course he wants to re-edit the film, but I am French and I have final cut, and I don’t want that, so this is a kind of war that goes on for months and months, and I hope that someday you will be able to see it in 3-D in a theater.” He declared “I think that artistic freedom is the most important thing!”

And you may just get that chance soon. The Hollywood Reporter published Jeunet’s comments, and a spokesperson for the Weinstein company responded that the distributor plans to release the uncut film in the U.S. this spring.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Another Succesful Festival

Last month’s 11th Annual LA 3-D Movie Festival was a rousing success! From the opening night with OK Go (which featured a special added screening of AL’S BRAIN 3D by Weird Al Yankovic) to the closing night experimental feature ABOVE US ALL, the films and events at the 11th fest made it the best one yet.

I want to thank everyone who made the festival happen. First, thanks to all of the filmmakers whose wonderful work we were able to show during the fest, and to the filmmakers in attendance who joined us for our Q&A swssions.

Thank you to Damian Kulash and Tim Nordwind from OK Go, and to director Trish Sie, for paricipating in an engaging evening of 3-D music videos and clips. Thanks also to Weird Al Yankovic and his management for arranging for our special showing of AL’S BRAIN, and to Peter Anderson for providing the DCP.

A great big thank you to Ben Dickow and the rest of Captured Aural Phantasy Theater for giving us a fantastic live 3-D comic book performance.

Thanks to our food sponsors Kalye Hits, Spitz, and Pitfire Pizza. Their donated goodies made our holiday reception so delicious. And to our prize sponsors Sony Creative Software, FrameForge, and Berezin 3-D Products for generously providing the prizes for our award winners.

The festival couldn’t have happened without the hard work of a number of LA 3-D Club members who volunteered their time at the theater. Jodi Kurland organized everything that went on in the lobby, ran the boxoffice, and oversaw the reception. Barry Rothstein supervised our vendors area. Shannon Benna, in addition to volunteering during the fest, also curated and moderated the presentation of student 3-D films, contacting the schools and student filmmakers, and handling all of the tasks that went into making that program so great. Other members who put extra effort into working at the festival include Oliver Dean, Susanne Kerenyi, Ed Ogawa, Shyam Kannapurakkaran, Jeff Amaral and Lawrence Kaufman.

We are grateful to New Europe Film Sales, the distributors of ABOVE US ALL, who granted us permission to show the movie. We also owe a debt of gratitude to the technical team at Barco, makers of the theater’s projector and cinema server. Our closing night film was very unique, filmed in 3-D at 50 frames per second. When we first received the files for the movie, they wouldn’t play properly because that frame rate is a new option that wasn’t yet available in the US. Engineers at Barco Europe contacted their counterparts in California, and provided us with the firmware update for the server that allowed the film to play flawlessly.

A great BIG thank you, of course, to Jim Kirst, Laura Stokes, Gus Aldana, Austin Wolf-Sothern, and the rest of the team at the Downtown Independent. This was the fifth year that they opened their doors for us to present our programs of unique 3-D content, and we really appreciate it.

And finally, thank you to everyone who attended. Those who showed up in costume for our presentation of COSPLAY DREAMS 3-D, the cast and crew of HACKIN’ JACK vs. THE CHAINSAW CHICK, and everyone who came out to support the festival and share a weekend of the best independent 3-D movies from around the world.