New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk astonished me, and it moved me deeply—in the grandest way, as a story of America in the years after the invasion of Iraq, and on the most intimate person-to-person wavelength. Ang Lee has always gone deep into the nuances of the emotions between his characters, and that’s exactly what drove him to push cinema technology to new levels. It’s all about the faces, the smallest emotional shifts. In every way, Billy Lynn is the work of a master.”
Billy Lynn is also a giant step forward in the art of cinema, made with a cinematographic process years ahead of its time. The film, from TriStar Pictures and Studio 8 in association with LStar Capital, Film4, Bona Film Group, and Fosun Media, is the first full-length narrative film shot in 4K, native 3D at the ultra high rate of 120 frames-per-second. The NYFF event will be the first time ever the format will be screened publicly. Creating the film in this immersive format required technical invention at each stage of the process—prep, shooting, and postproduction. The commercial run of the film will play in a variety of 2D and 3D formats, all of which display the new techniques with which the film was made.
Lee’s stunning adaptation of Ben Fountain’s novel is the story of an Iraq war hero (newcomer Joe Alwyn) who comes home with his fellow members of Bravo Company for a victory tour. This ends with a halftime show at a Thanksgiving Day football game—a high-intensity media extravaganza summoning memories of the trauma of losing his beloved sergeant in a firefight. Lee’s brave, heartbreaking film goes right to the heart of a great division that haunts this country: between the ideal image of things as they should be and the ongoing reality of things as they are. With a brilliant supporting cast, including Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund with Vin Diesel and Steve Martin.
“I’m very grateful to the New York Film Festival for selecting our film and giving it such a unique platform,” said Lee. “The New York Film Festival has been such an important event for me both as a New Yorker and a filmmaker, and I am honored to be represented this year with Billy Lynn. With each film, I try to learn fresh ways to connect with the audience and with myself. Since Life of Pi, I have been working with my team towards a new cinematic approach that I hope will revitalize that connection. But technology is merely a tool; it should always be in service of artistic expression, to make it strong and fresh, because story and drama matter most. I thought Billy’s journey, which is both intimate and epic, and told almost entirely from his point of view, lent itself particularly well to the emotion and intensity that this new approach fosters. At least I hope so, as many people have worked long and hard to help me try to make the future a reality today. I am thankful to them all.”
Lee has a long history with the festival. Most recently, his Oscar-winning Life of Pi was Opening Night of NYFF50 in 2012. His 1997 film The Ice Storm opened NYFF35, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was Closing Night of the 38th festival in 2000.
Directed by Ang Lee and produced by Marc Platt, Ang Lee, Rhodri Thomas, and Stephen Cornwell, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is based on the widely acclaimed, best-selling novel by Ben Fountain, with a screenplay by Jean-Christophe Castelli.
The 17-day New York Film Festival (September 30 – October 16) highlights the best in world cinema, featuring works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Jones, also includes Film Society Director of Programming Dennis Lim; Associate Director of Programming Florence Almozini; Amy Taubin, Contributing Editor, Artforum and Film Comment; and Gavin Smith, who serves as a consultant.
Tickets for the 54th New York Film Festival will go on sale September 11. To learn more about NYFF tickets, including a complete list of on-sale dates, prices, discount options, and our rush and standby policies, click here.
For even more access, VIP passes and subscription packages offer the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events, including Opening and Closing Nights and Centerpiece. Benefits vary based on the pass or package type purchased. NYFF54 passes and packages are on sale now. Click here to learn more.
The Wrap : Ang Lee‘s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” will have its world premiere at the 54th annual New York Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced Monday.
The film will be screened on October 14 as a Special World Premiere Presentation during the festival.
The film, an adaptation of Ben Fountain’s best-selling novel about an Iraq war hero (newcomer Joe Alwyn) and his post-combat victory tour, is the first full-length narrative film shot in 4K, native 3D at the ultra high rate of 120 frames-per-second. The immersive new format required technical innovations at every stage of the process–prep, shooting, and postproduction.
The film’s cast also includes Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund with Vin Diesel and Steve Martin. The film was produced by TriStar Pictures and Studio 8 in association with LStar Capital, Film4, Bona Film Group, and Fosun Media.
Indiewire : The Film Society of Lincoln Center has added, as expected, Ang Lee’s latest technological advance, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.” The special world premiere presentation of the film will screen on Friday, October 14, at AMC Lincoln Square. The NYFF presents the first public screening of a full-length narrative film shot in 4K, native 3D at the ultra high rate of 120 frames-per-second.
At CinemaCon, Sony studio chairman Tom Rothman, much as he did when he introduced Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi” — in his old guise at Fox — in 2012 as a potential Oscar contender and game-changer, launched the Sony show with Lee’s follow-up, a true-life drama about an Iraq War vet who is turned into a hero. Kristen Stewart co-stars as his sister. NYFF opener “Life of Pi” went on to win Lee the Best Director Oscar; Sony will push for Lee’s new film as an Oscar contender.
High frame rate (HFR) may have finally come of age, thanks to Lee’s spectacular hyper-real, immersive achievement with “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” which intercuts a returning soldier being honored during halftime of a Dallas football game with wartime flashbacks of his squadron.
This time, Lee uses hyper-real high frame rates to bring us closer to the characters, stated New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones. He describes the film “as a story of America in the years after the invasion of Iraq, and on the most intimate person-to-person wavelength. Ang Lee has always gone deep into the nuances of the emotions between his characters, and that’s exactly what drove him to push cinema technology to new levels. It’s all about the faces, the smallest emotional shifts. In every way, Billy Lynn is the work of a master.”
Lee oversaw the elaborate production and prep required to create the film in this immersive format; “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” is from TriStar Pictures and Studio 8 in association with LStar Capital, Film4, Bona Film Group, and Fosun Media). When it is released commercially, the film will play in a variety of 2D and 3D formats. NYFF attendees will be among the few who can see the film as it was intended by its filmmaker. Theaters have to catch up with the exhibition requirements.
The Playlist : The New York Film Festival generally doesn’t concern itself with playing the awards season/world premiere game in the same way that the rest of their fall festival colleagues might, but nonetheless the titles they are exclusively premiering this year are impressive, with Ava DuVernay‘s “The 13th,” James Gray‘s “The Lost City Of Z,” and Mike Mills‘ “20th Century Women” among them. Now, they’ve landed another high profile title.
Organizers have announced that Ang Lee‘s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” will receive its World Premiere at the New York Film Festival, and it will have a high tech special touch. The drama about a young Iraq war hero who is part of a victory tour upon returning home has been shot in 3D at 120 frames-per-second, requiring fancy new projectors to show the movie as Lee intended (most cinemas don’t have the capability). And the director insists the format is fitting for the story.
“I thought Billy’s journey, which is both intimate and epic, and told almost entirely from his point of view, lent itself particularly well to the emotion and intensity that this new approach fosters,” Lee said in a statement via The New York Times. And apparently, it’s the battle sequences in the film that benefit most from the sharper image delivered at 120 fps which theoretically gives a better sense of realism than a picture at 24 fps.
Frankly, none of this really matters because at the end of the day, it will be the story that counts and no amount of razzle dazzle can make up for a narrative that doesn’t work.
The New York Film Festival runs from September 30th to October 16th. “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” opens on November 11th.