Cinema De Keizer Re-Opens

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Tue, 01/15/2013 - 19:00 -- Nick Dager

The legendary single-screen movie theater Cinema De Keizer located in the small Belgian town of Lichtervelde re-opened its doors to the public in December with a preview showing of Brasserie Romantiek the feature film debut of Belgian director Joël Vanhoebrouck. The theater was recently equipped with Barco’s new DP2K-10S digital cinema projector specifically designed for smaller cinema screens. Established in 1924 by Gerard Debaillie Cinema De Keizer is a reference beacon in the Belgian cinema world and the lifework of Gerard’s daughter Agnes a cinephile who personified the world of cinema to the citizens of her town. When Agnes passed away earlier this year the future of the longest running cinema in Belgium which was still mostly in its original state seemed uncertain. Recently Flemish vice-minister-president Geert Bourgeois decided to protect the cinema as cultural heritage and seven locals invested in the theater. “I’d seen hundreds of movies at Cinema De Keizer and dreamt of installing a 21st century theater in the original 1920s décor to bring back that ‘community feeling’ that the cinema inspires ” explains Hans Maertens who leads the Cinema De Keizer non-profit organization.  Sofie Eeckeman who was the right hand of Agnes Debaillie for many years will operate the cinema. She welcomes the new Barco technology. She said   “I spent my childhood helping out Agnes at Cinema De Keizer and am delighted to continue her dream. We are happy to be working with Barco to replace one of our twin 35mm projectors with a digital solution. It was a stroke of luck for us that Lichtervelde is close to the global Digital Cinema market leader and we couldn’t have found a better partner. We were very impressed with Barco’s vision for the cinema of the future which also fits well with my interests as a Lecturer New Media and Communication Technology at University College West Flanders (Howest). The new DP2K-10S digital cinema projector is ideal for our needs and enables us to bring Cinema De Keizer into the future while maintaining that old era charm and character that is unique to our theater.” 

 “The opportunity of digital cinema is not only for larger cinema chains. There is a lot of concern about the transition from 35mm to digital which threatens the survival of a number of smaller independent and art house cinemas that take up a unique position in the cinema landscape. Barco strongly believes however that digital cinema also offers a unique opportunity for these cinemas to thrive thus offering them flexibility in their programming and a range of new revenue opportunities ” said Tim Sinnaeve Barco’s market director digital cinema. “We have designed our new DP2K-10S with this in mind integrating our leading digital cinema technologies into a compact scalable and cost-effective platform without sacrificing image quality. I’m delighted that the team behind Cinema De Keizer a unique and historic location shares our passion and vision for the independent cinema of the future and is confident that other independent cinemas can be inspired by their story.”