Brooklyn just got a little bigger, thanks to Brooklyn Academy of Music. Today, BAM debuts its new, 35-foot-by-19-foot Steinberg Screen (the largest screen in the borough to play both 3D and 2D films) at the BAM Harvey Theater, with monster sound to match: 42 surround sound speakers are mounted throughout the 745-seat space.
The screen is big, all right. Sitting in the plush theater seats, which were recently outfitted with cup holders for the film-going crowd, the front projection screen towers like the ominous monolith from the opening scene of 2001: A Space Odyssey (which will play at the theater from July 3-July 9). Waiting for the lights to dim in the cozy, artfully worn theater, the screen seems almost as big as the small space it inhabits.
Summertime will be busy for the Steinberg Screen–a time when the BAM Harvey’s theatrical stage typically goes quiet. Starting with the New York premiere of David Lowery’s film Ain’t Them Bodies Saints to kick of the fifth anniversary of the BAMcinemaFest (June 19-June 28) tomorrow night, the theater will also host the Hitchcock 9 series (June 29-July 3) featuring nine of Alfred Hitchcock’s restored silent films (and live scores played by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra) and screenings of epic blockbusters including Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago and The Godfather I & II (July 3-23).
Film fanatics can also expect sneak peeks of upcoming movies, such as Only God Forgives with director Nicolas Winding Refn and stars Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas (July 16). Starting July 26, new films will make their way to the screen, starting with Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, starring Cate Blanchett (who graced the very stage the Steinberg screen inhabits in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire in 2009).
The massive screen, placed inside an elegant, historic theater, elevates the typical movie-going experience and reminds us of the days when an evening at the cinema was a real event. A trip to the Steinberg Screen is a virtual step back into the movie houses of the 1940s–but now with 42 surround sound loudspeakers and subwoofers jostling the popcorn.
For a full schedule of events, tickets and venue information, visit the BAM website.