28 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Ster-Kinekor Goes Digital

Ster-Kinekor Theatres are back in Harare with a bang! And going to the movies will never be the same again.

Ster-Kinekor has upgraded their equipment to include state-of-the-art fully digitalised 2D or 3D formats.

Imagine watching films on release dates at par with South Africa and Hollywood. Films will now hit the big screen at Eastgate and Westgate just days after their South African and American release.

It's now, "goodbye!" to the clutter and delay of the inimitable 35mm film reel and, "hello!" to new technology that brings picture and sound into an almost lifelike experience.

Ster Kinekor is in the process of completing world-class renovations at their Eastgate and Westgate cinema complexes in Harare.

This massive development means that all of Ster-Kinekor's 10 movie houses, namely, four at Westgate and six at Eastgate complexes, will now have state-of-the-art big screen and surround sound, coupled with highly sophisticated and comfortable seating for the discerning movie goer.

Ster-Kinekor's Doreen Chuma, who could not hide her excitement about the development, told The Financial Gazette Weekend that the movie houses would open their door to the public within two weeks, just in time to get into the swing of the festive season.

"Zimbabweans are going to be able to watch box office movies within record time of being released thanks to the new digital technology. In addition they will be able to enjoy the cosy and ambient environment with full climate control air-conditioning," she said.

She added: "We have come up with a new seating arrangement, which are: The Love Nest, for couples or friends who want to be closer together during the screening as well as the Classic VIP seats, it's going to be like watching a movie on a plane.

"We have also not forgotten about the physically challenged who will have specially designed seating areas at all our movie houses. Not forgetting the local movie producers, consideration will be made for them to be screened at our venues. They will have to meet the expectations of the Ster-Kinekor franchise worldwide."

According to Chuma, the technological development would, in a way, contribute to curbing piracy. Previously, she said, it could take them between three to four months before a blockbuster movie could find its way to Zimbabwe, thereby giving enough lead time to pirated videos of the movie to make their way first.

With new technology however, this would be contained by having as many people as possible watching the movie before any pirated copy makes its way to this country.

"Besides, genuine HD movies have better sound and picture quality. In any case, would you rather not be in a movie house environment where you can watch movies with family and friends and enjoying all the niceties that go with it such as popcorn, chocolates, sweets, drinks and the big-screen atmosphere that you can't create in your own home?"

As the industry is set for rejuvenation, many observers hope that the law enforcement agencies would decisively deal with the sale of DVDs on the streets as they are not contributing anything to the economy and are a threat to the local film industry.

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