Ang Lee Urges Filmmakers to Explore Advances in Cinema

The Oscar-winning director was named as a consultant to a new alliance of cinema companies developing an advanced production and theatrical presentation system that includes high frame rates and immersive sound.

Saying that “we have a lot to learn” about the potential to advance cinema production and theatrical presentation in the digital age, Oscar-winning filmmaker Ang Lee urged filmmakers to join him in exploring the potential of the medium on Wednesday night at CinemaCon.

The director of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Life of Pi was named as a consultant to a new alliance of companies developing an advanced production and theatrical exhibition system. China's Huaxia Film Distribution, projector maker Christie and cinema tech firm GDC signed a deal at CinemaCon, aimed at developing a cinema system with the ability to play 120fps (frames per second) per eye, along with 4K, 3D, high dynamic range (HDR), a wide color gamut (WCG) and immersive sound — the format that Lee used to make his 2016 experimental film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, though at the time only a handful of cinemas were equipped to present it in this format.

"This is the beginning of something new in the cinema," Lee told a crowd of about 100 guests at the Wednesday evening deal signing. "It's so exciting. There seems to be a new world in movie land."

"I think [advances in] physical production will allow us to see that world," he continued, saying, "I don't just want to see [movie images]; I want to experience them. That’s I dream I’ve been pursuing since Life of Pi. It's been eight years."

As part of the strategic alliance, the partner companies are opening a lab to allow filmmakers to explore production and postproduction using these formats.

Lee thanked the manufacturers, saying they have "been great," and acknowledged that Hollywood is just starting to understand the potential of digital cinema. “I want other filmmakers to participate and help [show this potential to audiences]," Lee said. "It's a different mindset and you have to create something new for it. I won’t teach anybody because I’m a novice myself, but I promise I will share whatever the pain or any experience that I’ve been through. Anything I know, I what people use it. I want to share it."

Lee will participate in Paramount's slate presentation Thursday morning at CinemaCon. His next film, Paramount's Oct. 11 release Gemini Man, was made using these advanced formats.