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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

In Memoriam: Charles Swartz, Digital Cinema Advocate

Charles Swartz died over the weekend, at age 67. He had been director of USC's Entertainment Technology Center, which was a major force in bringing together movie studios and technology companies to imagine the future of cinema. Swartz and the ETC also helped support the Digital Cinema Initiatives standards process.

The Hollywood Reporter has an obituary, as does the LA Times. Earlier in his career, Swartz (like anyone worth their salt in Hollywood) worked for Roger Corman's New World Pictures, producing and writing movies like 'Student Nurses' and 'The Velvet Vampire.'

The first time I spoke with Swartz, in 2005, it was clear he believed that the theatrical exprience would have a long future, in part because as a species, we've all been sitting around campfires for so long. "It's a really old experience, sitting around the campfire, and somebody is a good story-teller. They tell the story, and other people get sucked into the telling of the story. That is the kind of primal satisfaction we get from watching a movie -- the narrative pull." Technology, Swartz felt, "will make it even more powerful."