Short Cuts

Dobie goes digital, understanding Sikhism, and Tom Copeland celebrates two decades at the Texas Film Commission.

Dobie Does Digital Dept.: Paralleling the slow and steady advent of HDTV in the home, it was only a matter of time before exhibitors began to catch up with Hollywood counterparts like Spielberg, Lucas, and Cameron by replacing their traditional projection systems (with all the attendant flicker 'n' burn snafus) with snazzy, new digital projection systems. It's been a long time coming, but -- huzzah! -- crystal-clear digital-film projection with CD-quality 7.1 Surround Sound will finally be a reality in Austin and elsewhere, as Landmark Theatres and Microsoft announced last week that they will be equipping all 177 screens in their 53 theatres (including the Landmark Dobie Theatre, natch) with state-of-the-art digital cinema playback systems utilizing Microsoft's Windows Media 9 Series. We can hear the techies in the crowd oohing and ahhing already, but for the rest of the Dobie-going public this means by the end of 2003 filmgoers will begin to see perfection in the eye of the beholder at Dobie screenings. And once HD filmmaking -- at present the provenance of edge-cutters like director Robert Rodriguez -- becomes the norm, especially for the smaller, independent films that make up Landmark's arthouse backbone, it'll only be a matter of time before the entire industry goes digital and the notion of scratched and blotchy film and frazzled frame adjustments will seem very quaint indeed. Progress, baby. We live for it... Among the first casualties of 9/11 and the war on terror was too often tolerance and understanding toward Muslim Americans and people of Middle Eastern descent living in America. That's tapered off somewhat (and sadly the issue is not always something that takes precedence in the mainstream media), but it remains a grave concern not only for Muslims but also for American Sikhs, whose traditional appearance and garb have brought much unwanted and unwarranted attention from both the current administration and a populace largely ignorant of their culture and religion. In hopes of furthering the public's awareness of this troubling situation, the Austin Sikh Community, the Austin Police Department, and Austin-Area Interreligious Ministries are co-sponsoring a screening of the documentary Mistaken Identity: Sikhs in America on Sunday, April 27, 6:30-8pm, at the Dell Jewish Community Hall (7300 Hart). The film traces the history and origins of Sikhism here and elsewhere and focuses on the specific problems facing American Sikhs in the wake of 9/11 and will be followed by a Q&A. For more information on the event, contact SatSundri Khalsa at 899-3158, or check out the film online at Last but most assuredly not least, congratulations to Texas Film Commission Director Tom Copeland, who last week celebrated his -- we kid you not -- 20th anniversary as Boss Man of the state's invaluable, indispensable, and all-too-often unsung film office. Under Copeland's unanimously praised and respected direction, Texas has enjoyed its most productive and profitable years ever as a film location, with everything from Terms of Endearment to Once Upon a Time in China VI utilizing the Lone Star State as a location during Copeland's double-decade run. Here's to 20 more, amigo.

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Tom Copeland, Mistaken Identity: Sikhs in America, Landmark Theatres, Microsoft

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