Ang Lee Presents 11-minute sequence from “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” during SMPTE’s Future of Cinema Conference @NABShow. Superlative laden praise followed.
The weekend of SMPTE’s Future of Cinema Conference at NAB, Lee and his key collaborators presented an 11-minute sequence of the film, currently set for release in November of 2016. It became one of the most talked about events during the NAB week.
The story is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn, who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, has been hailed as a hero and brought home for a victory tour after a harrowing Iraq battle. Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day football game, the film reveals what really happened to the squad – contrasting the realities of the Iraq conflict with America’s celebration back home. Lee has used the tools of technology to create an unusually emotional impact.
SMPTE presented a series of screenings of the sequence in a specially created screening room. Those screenings were followed by a panel discussion with Ang Lee, editor Tim Squyres, ACE, production systems supervisor Ben Gervais, Sony Pictures Entertainment VP of Production Technology Scot Barbour, and stereographer Demetri Portelli. The discussion was moderated by Variety’s David Cohen. As Cohen noted in his follow up article, by the time Lee took he stage, the excitement in the packed-to-the-rafters room, was palpable.
The sequence was screened in its native format – 3D, at 4K resolution and 120 frames per second for each eye- and was predominantly hailed as “stunning”by those exiting the theatre. While there may have been a few who had a less profound reaction, there was little doubt that everyone there had seen something special, a creative expression worth thought, discussion and consideration. It was different. Even combined with the knowledge that the vast majority of theater goers will not see this film in this format, it’s simply not realistic for mass exhibition, there was no doubt that the sequence was beautiful filmmaking, and glimpsed the use of a powerful tool for storytelling. Ang Lee’s “Billy Lynne’s Long Halftime Walk” is bravura technology in the hands of a brilliant storyteller.
SMPTE presented a series of screenings of the sequence in a specially created screening room.