Quentin Tarantino’s film geek street cred is beyond reproach. The Django Unchained filmmaker owns 35mm original prints of movies that only the hardest of hardcore cinephiles have ever seen. It’s that extensive collection of rare prints, coupled with the director’s love of cinema, that has convinced Tarantino it’s time to take over as the chief programmer at his New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles.
The New Beverly is an LA institution, a mecca for film lovers who still prefer their movies be shown on 35mm as opposed to the more standard digital formats the studios favor these days. It’s this dedication to the format that convinced Tarantino to step in and take command of the theater he acquired way back in 2007, according to an article published by The LA Weekly.
Tarantino became the owner of the theater back in 2007, after longtime proprietor Sherman Torgan passed away. The director was a hands-off landlord, allowing Torgan’s son Michael to handle the day-to-day operations of The New Beverly. But QT apparently feels the time is right for him to make the place his own.
While it remains unclear as to what exactly convinced Tarantino to step in, rumors abound that it revolved around the decision to add a Digital Cinema Projector on the premises. Tarantino has said that digital projection is "the death of cinema," and it seems as though that might have convinced him it was time to exert more control over the daily operation of the theater to ensure it remains one the last theaters devoted to the true celluloid experience.
The theater has been closed for renovations, but is set to re-open this October, where Tarantino will personally book many of the location’s famous double features. The titles will be pulled from the filmmaker’s expansive collection of prints, and should be a real treat for lovers of both arthouse fare and cult exploitation films alike.
"We’ll be doing the thing the New Beverly does so well—we’ll have Fassbender double-features, Truffaut double-features, The Thin Man movies, all that. But I have a really, really huge film print collection that I’ve been curating for almost 20 years now. And I want to show my prints!"
The change in chief programmer won’t be the only one happening at the theater. The man who gave us Pulp Fiction has also revealed that The New Beverly will be adding a new 16mm projector and six track magnetic sound to the landmark, which should be music to the ears of celluloid fanatics.
How long will Tarantino stay handling the programming? No one knows – but he’s committed to handling at least three months of double features. Maybe shooting something like The Hateful Eight will pull him away eventually, but for now it appears to be all Tarantino all the time once the theater officially reopens.