by Tracey Gudwin, Xu Ran
BERLIN, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Founded in 1951, the Berlin Film Festival has long been acclaimed for bringing a mix of mainstream, art house and cutting-edge cinema to world audiences.
As a festival that knows no ordinary boundaries, it presented the world with "3D art house cinema" in 2011, with the premiere screening of Wim Wenders "Pina," a documentary dance film.
This makes Berlin the natural place to put 3D under microscope.
Is 3D the must-have technology of the future or a gimmicky trend fading out?
At the European Film Market, the largest film fair, buyers, sellers and film distributors were eager to discuss 3D filmmaking trends.
"Again it's always the same story. It depends on what kind of 3D," said Beki Probst, head of the market, who is also head of programming and co-owner of the Quinnie Cinemas group in Berne, Switzerland.
"If 3D is going to make a revolution to bring people back to the cinemas, that is for me a question mark, because ... people come to the cinema when they want to see a film that they think is good. If its 3D or 2D, they don't care," she told Xinhua.
On the bustling floor of the European Film Market, signs of 3D fatigue were nowhere to be found. Germany-based film company Solamedia had three new projects in 3D and its managing director, Solveig Langeland, was convinced of their sellability.
At the panel discussion "After the Hype: The Future of 3D," filmmakers and software developers dissected the question of why directors should use the technology to tell their stories.
Directors "don't see 3D as a gimmick, they see it as another creative tool in their toolbox, and a way to draw the audience like you and me, and another way to ask the audience to suspend our disbelief for a two-hour period to get dragged more closely into the movie," said Langeland.
Bob Mayson, managing director of REAL D Europe, which is a 3D, stereoscopic software licensing company for theaters and home use, told Xinhua about the disadvantages of being a new medium.
"This is about pushing the boundaries, giving audiences new experiences and bringing more people back into the cinemas. Now as ever when you push a boundary and you try something new ... when you go down a new road, a new journey, the chances of making mistakes are greater than when you are familiar with the journey and the road you are on," said Mayson.
In 2005, Real D had just one film on 100 screens around the world. Today they have close to 50 movies on about 22,500 screens.
While there is a certain value to giving the audience a different kind of cinematic experience, not every moviegoer can handle the eyestrain that goes along with wearing glasses. Excessive viewing of stereoscopic films has been known to cause headaches.
At this year's Berlin Film Festival, DreamWorks presented the 3D animated film "The Croods" about a stone-age family battling Mother Nature and her bizarre and larger-than-life creatures. Actors Nic Cage and Emma Stone came to Berlin to promote the film.
Max Borg, a journalist for a film magazine in Europe, told Xinhua about his reservations about the format.
"I'm not sure about the 3D, but I'm not a 3D fan in the first place, but I thought the movie was well animated and a lot of fun to watch. Not maybe for very young viewers but it's fun, family entertainment," said Borg.
The challenge with 3D is not only getting audiences to pay 30 percent more for their tickets, but also getting 3D to come home. 3D home entertainment sales are low and showing 3D currently on high definition cable television is not possible.