In the galaxy of stars that is the Sundance Film Festival, could there be any bigger than the supergroup U2?
Despite the international fame, fortune and name recognition, U2, the band, premiered “U23D,” the film, Saturday night at an independent film festival.
And the scene was as frantic as at any big premiere.
Major news outlets lined the red carpet. Fans screamed inside the auditorium, but others were almost as enthusiastic outside waiting for the midnight screening. Rumors had tickets being scalped for more than $1,000.
And while anything branded with the U2 label may not seem inherently independent, as the Sundance name generally implies, the 90-minute concert film experience is precisely that.
Financed by the group that owns the Baltimore Ravens and made without at distributor, “U23D” promises to raise the bar for both concert films and the 3-D experience, according to the brain trust behind the film, which opens in wide release Jan. 23. It will be screened in both IMAX and digital cinema, giving fans what they hope is an immersive concert experience.
“This film is a love song to Latin America,” said lead singer Bono from the red carpet. “We love playing for the people there. I really hope it communicates.”
The documentary was filmed in seven cities but primarily in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during a South American tour with crowds reaching sizes up to 100,000. It features hits such as “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “One,” “Vertigo” and “Beautiful Day.”
“Watching it gives a real perspective of being in the audience at a U2 show,” said guitarist The Edge. “So many concert films reduce the band. This one brings scale and grandeur.”
Because the film was shot with as many as nine digital cameras per show, The Edge felt much more comfortable than during other digital video concerts because the cameras were small and less intrusive, he said. “This technology made it a lot easier.”
Much of the talk of the film and the 3-D experience is how the technology is taking what viewers expected to be a marketing gimmick and making it into something that is easily viewed and enjoyed by a mass audience. Significant directors like Stephen Spielberg and Peter Jackson are embracing the technology that the crew behind the concert film developed.
The film is directed by Catherine Owens. It is her first feature, but the sculptor has a long history with the band and has directed some videos for them and their first four world tours.
Sandy Climan, a producer, said Owens’ background is apparent in the finished product.
“This film is different than any other 3-D film anyone might have seen. People want to dance in this film. People behave like they would if they were seeing them in concert. They hold up their cell phones to the band and dance.” He was excited to finally see the film with fans and related his experience when during a screening somebody stood up and blocked his view, which he then realized was part of the film.
David Model, an executive producer, tried to sum up Owens’ work.
“It seems as though Catherine has sculpted a fantastic 3-D film,” he said.
The team that developed the technology is not done improving and refining the way people experience 3-D films.
“Our goal in the end,” Model said, “is to shoot live and broadcast live to your home on your TV where you will see it in 3-D without glasses.”
News Source: Deseret Morning News