Last night the 54 Antalya International Film Festival presented the first competition screening of Ai Wei Wei’s Human Flow.
An hour into the film the synchronisation became unstable, sound and image faltered into incoherence and, quite simply the sound of the movie did not match the image and eventually the film was stopped.
The incident is highly regrettable first and foremost for the film makers, the cinemagoing public and the festival itself.
In the lead up to the event, Turkey’s leading art house film distributor Filmarti, had been working with Lionsgate and the Deluxe Technicolor (London) laboratory to effect an adequate delivery of materials from the aforementioned facility.
Despite multiple requests for delivery of a DCP with KDM in order for Filmarti’s lab to create a Turkish subtitled version of the movie, and in order to control everything and make everything secure for the premiere -- the DCP with KDM was not delivered.
Delivery payments for the film had been made in full from Filmarti to Lionsgate and there were no outstanding business affairs issues.
Citing security reasons and internal policies at Lionsgate and their lab Deluxe Technicolor (London) they did not issue a KDM and insisted that Filmarti wrap their Turkish DCP with Deluxe London the result being endless delays. The result of such delays ended in Filmarti requesting a festival DCP.
In order to understand fully and express clearly and factually what has actually occurred – here are a series of occurrences as set out by the Turkish distributor Filmarti:
The festival DCP link arrived on 20th October and the Filmarti lab in Istanbul downloaded the file and sent it to Antalya immediately via Airline cargo the same day.
In the meantime Filmarti sent the venues, screening times and pem files for each venue and requested the KDMs for each screening. When the film came to be tested in situ in Antalya it appeared that the Deluxe Technicolor lab had sent the incorrect KDM
They sent a key KDM for the following file;
And the DCP that has been sent was the following:
After a number of requests to send new KDMs for the above DCP file they eventually arrived but bizarrely proscribed: the KDMs end time did not cover the end of the screening ( the premiere had a start of 19.00 and end of 21.20) but the KDM was set to end at 20.00 (local time)
The other KDM had even further problems that simply made things worse. The screening start was for 0900 am with an end time of 0900 which despite having been given the correct information was not the correct one for the screening.
Filmarti made requests to Deluxe to re-send new KDMs to fit the actual screening times but these KDMs, sadly did not arrive.
Further to discussions between Filmarti and Alex and Colin from Deluxe, Filmarti were told been told that the DCP that they sent was the wrong and broken file with an extremely high probability that the movie has been incorrectly wrapped or even edited at the London laboratory.
Here is the official statement from Filmarti:
October 23, 2017 Monday
For Antalya Film Festival and Film Lovers from Antalya!
We are obliged to provide a disclosure as a company regarding the problems that are experienced in the film titled HUMAN FLOW (İNSAN SELİ) which our company holds the rights within Turkey for its first showing of Turkey dated October 22, 2017 Sunday at 19:00.
Deluxe Technicolor laboratories in United Kingdom which works in cooperation with the film’s international right-owner company had repeatedly submitted incorrect screening passwords of the film for its festival screening in question and finally the screening was held with the latest passwords that have been submitted. However, during the screening of the film, after a certain period of time it has been determined that the screening copy has picture and audio synchronization problems. Hence, it has been decided to not to continue screening in this condition. Following our contact with the laboratories in London it has been determined that a problematic and faulty screening copy of the film was submitted to our side.
Antalya Film Festival, which we have been working in a productive cooperation for many years is not responsible for the technical problems in any manner. These technical problems are arising from the abroad laboratories and our company will initiate all required legal actions for material and non-material damages.
We apologize on behalf of our company for film lovers from Antalya and the guests of the festival for the technical problems fully arising from Deluxe London.
These are the facts as they have been established.
The result is that it has neither been a positive experience for the film, the film makers, the audience or the festival.
The conclusion is that this could have been avoided had Deluxe Technicolor in London provided the correct materials in a timely and competent fashion, to allow for the proper testing and run throughs that are rigorously applied by the highly experienced Antalya team. Indeed every single other screening to date has been problem free.
The following measures will be taken to present the film in the festival going forwards.
The jury screening has been re-scheduled and the film will be watched in exactly the same circumstances as every other competition film.
We are currently in discussions to confirm a screening venue and slot, to allow the public to watch in full Wei Wei’s extraordinary film.
It would seem we are all owed an apology from Deluxe technicolour in London, but at this stage apologies, apportioning of blame, and pursuit of the guilty would seem to be irrelevant.
It is our sole aim and goal to get the jury to see the film in the best possible conditions and to arrange a supplementary screening and deal with all the concomitant advertising and ticketing issues.
The festival has done its best to provide the best possible service, welcome and backup for the film and the team -- but sadly we have all be let down heavily by the technical services in London.
The whole incident is regrettable, and painful beyond belief for all concerned.
Mike Downey Mirsad Purivatra
Artistic Director Strategic Advisor to IAFF
Nesim Bencoya Zeynep Atakan
International Programme Director Film Forum Director