Gateway Film Center is once more expanding its presentation capability, this time to bring Columbus a North American premiere as part of GFC’s lauded Cult 101 series.

 The nonprofit, independent film center is installing 4K projection this month ahead of the March 30 debut of a newly restored print of the cult classic Donnie Darko.

The new, ultra-high resolution projection will “be clearer, brighter and more faithful to the films as they were first created” because it offers double the resolution of typical digital projection, said Rachael Barbash, head of the film center’s tech team – one of the last remaining teams of projectionists in the country.

Cult 101 is a year-long series during which the film center is presenting the 101 best cult films of all time, as voted by a panel that included national media, studios, film critics and more. Darko joins a March Cult 101 lineup that includes Pee Wee’s Big Adventure on 35mm film, David Bowie’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, and This Is Spinal Tap:

  • Mar 1-4 – PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE (1974)
  • Mar 5-9 – PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE (1985) (35mm) 
  • Mar 10-13 – THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (1976) 4k restoration (played in 2k)
  • Mar 14-16 – ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981)
  • Mar 17-19 – THE BOONDOCK SAINTS (1999)
  • Mar 20- 23 – AKIRA (1988)
  • Mar 24-26 – THE WICKER MAN (1973)
  • Mar 27-31 – THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984)
  • Mar 30**-31 – DONNIE DARKO (2001) 4k restoration  **North American premiere, 9:30 p.m.

Darko has become a bona fide cult classic after being almost entirely missed by moviegoers during a small theatrical run lost amid the September 11 attacks. It was later discovered on video rental shelves and then streaming services in the years afterward, and built a loving following. Its 4K restoration, overseen personally by director Richard Kelly, has not been screened outside Europe. 

“We’re looking every day to give Columbus new experiences, new ways of seeing movies, and ways to present movies as their creators intended,” said GFC President and Programmer Chris Hamel. “By adding 4K [projection], we can bring the city a meaningful premiere, and also open a new series of presentations we didn’t have before.”

The addition of 4K projection further expands the film center’s presentation options, which now include 70mm (added in 2016) and 35mm (added in 2015).

Hamel said the upgrade requires investment in a projector and in the software that runs it, and that donations to the film center this year made the installation possible.

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