Thomson signed an agreement this month with a Belgian movie theater chain that will have its Technicolor Digital Cinema unit installing equipment as part of the rollout of digital cinema in the European market. Technicolor will have the Barco projectors and Dolby Digital Cinema playback items installed in 50 Kinepolis Group theaters by early 2007. Another 80 theaters will undergo the conversion by the end of 2007. Kinepolis got involved with the roll out because of its desire to use the latest in technology at its theaters, said Joe Berchtold, president of Technicolor Theatrical Services, and head of Technicolor Digital Cinema. “It is a reasonably self-contained market that you can do this test and understand how it impacts a lot of things,” Berchtold said. The Technicolor Digital Cinema unit is based in Camarillo. Technicolor began its rollout in U.S. theaters in June, a month later than expected. What the company learned about using the digital equipment in the U.S. theaters can be applied to the European rollout although there are issues specific to Europe, such as power supply, Berchtold said. “Because the business is different in Europe with potential workflows we want to understand on a limited scale the implications of those workflows before we do a substantial rollout,” Berchtold added. The transition to the digital format will change how entertainment companies distribute their films as well as provide higher quality prints, a means to increase revenues through more showings, and a better method for long-time film storage. Five major film studios DreamWorks SKG, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment, 20th Century Fox – have partnered with Technicolor in support of its rollout. The company is in negotiations to get New Line Cinema and The Weinstein Co. on board as well. Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, a division of Burbank-based Walt Disney Co., has signed on with rival digital cinema firm Christie/Access Integrated Technologies to release its films in a digital format. Valley Filmmakers “The Night Swim” won’t be shown in digital cinema anytime soon but the feature film from two graduates of the cinema arts program at Los Angeles Valley College was among the entries of the 9th annual DancesWithFilms festival that took place in Los Angeles recently. James Gabriel and Dan Casserole based the film partly on a funeral of a family member of Casserole’s. The pair approached filming of “The Night Swim” much differently than they did their first project, “Holiday,” a film they couldn’t finish because their money ran out. For their second film, the pair scaled the production to what they knew they could afford without bankrupting themselves. Gabriel said that while the Valley College program was good in teaching about film theory and production, little attention was given to the distribution and marketing side of the business. “They taught how to make the film but nothing about what to do with it once you are finished,” said Gabriel, who grew up in Arleta. Gabriel and Casserole wrote the first draft of “The Night Swim” script in one month. They completed filming in 13 days done on weekends using a cast partially assembled for “Holiday.” Robert Macklin stars as the lead in “The Night Swim,” a story of a man facing the death of his wife and the complications arising at the reception following the funeral as those in attendance find a way to cope with the circumstances. “The Night Swim” will be shown at another festival in September and the pair will continue submitting their film at other festivals in hopes of attracting the attention of a distributor or anyone else able to move their careers along. “I think of it like a big stock exchange,” Casserole said of film festivals. “You hope your film stands out and attracts the attention of those shopping for films like yours.” Reader Contributions Got a little Hunter S. Thompson, H.L. Mencken or Matt Drudge in ya? Daily News officials are hoping to take what they call “citizen journalism” mainstream with the launch of valleynews.com, a Website that allows anyone to post a story, an opinion or even a news flash. The site, which will launch on Aug. 21, grows out of an increasingly popular trend, blogging, that has peppered the Internet for some time now. Organized into eight hubs covering the different communities of the San Fernando Valley, it will allow ordinary folks an opportunity to post stories or pictures about their pets or kids, their communities or views, just about anything that inspires them. The content will not be edited (save for an automated swear-word filter) but Daily News staffers will monitor it, pulling what they believe are the most interesting of the contributions onto a home page. Those stories too will appear in the Daily News community editions published weekly in print form. Three additional community editions, for Santa Clarita, Burbank/Glendale and Antelope Valley, launch on Oct. 5. Ron Kaye, Daily News editor, even foresees issues and events brought to light on the Website landing on the front page of the daily newspaper. “One of the things that excites me is that it allows for a real community, and you can reach all the people you can’t reach now,” Kaye told a meeting of the Livable Communities Council of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley recently. Addressing the group, Kaye noted that Internet sites like youtube.com, flicker.com and myspace.com, broadcast news and blogs are changing the way that news is delivered. “The newspaper is going to be boiled down to a very different product, and nobody knows what that is,” he said. For the meantime, what is clear is that folks in all walks of life are playing a bigger role in chronicling their own histories. But perhaps more important, providing such a forum, Kaye hopes, will help to unite communities, bringing them together around issues and causes and giving them a voice and a public forum. Perhaps ironically, it was that promise of a voice that seemed to most concern those assembled at the Livable Communities meeting. Many of those in attendance expressed concerns about the potential to disseminate information that is mean spirited or just plain wrong. “Who’s going to have the most influence in a public communication?” Kaye responded. “The people who are informed.” Annie Hundley, who was formerly with Rocky Mountain News, will serve as editor of valleynews.com, working with a staff of about seven who also work on the print editions. Posting will be free on the site. Advertising will drive revenues.