Saving Classic 3D Movie September Storm

Written by Al Caudullo

september storm

My good friend Eric Kurland is the driving force behind this and he is a force to be reckoned with. Known for his work in stereoscopic 3D and as the Animation Production Manager on the Simpson’s Episode, “Simprovised,” this Guru of 3D is out on another quest. This time, he has set his sights on saving by digitally restoring a treasure from the Golden Age of 3D. The Kickstarter campaign has already hit more than two-thirds of the money needed to accomplish that feat. So please, whatever you can spare could be the money that puts us over the top!

SEPTEMBER STORM is considered one of the “lost” 3-D features of the golden age of 3-D cinema. Shot in 1959, it was the last of the 3-D movies to be filmed in the 1950s and is most notable for being filmed in Stereo-Vision (utilizing the Natural Vision 3-D camera rig) and in CinemaScope. SEPTEMBER STORM hasn’t been seen in it’s intended 3-D and widescreen format since it’s initial theatrical release in 1960, and the surviving film elements are deteriorating. If a digital restoration of the stereoscopic anamorphic version isn’t done soon, it is at risk of being lost forever. Your donation to this campaign will help save this important motion picture so that it can be seen by future generations of movie fans.

The 3-D Film Archive has been actively working to preserve our 3-D film heritage by digitally restoring classic 3-D movies and making them available to a new generation of theatergoers and home viewers. Recent restoration projects include the 3-D movies DRAGONFLY SQUADRON, THE BUBBLE, THE MASK, GOG, and the 3-D RARITIES collection.

The Archive has teamed up with 501(c)3 nonprofit organization 3-D SPACE: The Center For Stereoscopic Photography, Art, Cinema, and Education to embark on the conservation and restoration of SEPTEMBER STORM. Your donation to this project through 3-D SPACE may qualify for an income tax deduction in accordance with Federal and/or State income tax laws. Please consult with your tax advisor to determine whether your donation is tax deductible in whole or in part.

(Put on red/cyan 3-D glasses to watch our campaign videos in 3-D!)


Risks and challenges

The 3-D Film Archive has already obtained, for a limited time, the rights to restore and distribute SEPTEMBER STORM, but the hard work is still ahead of us. Both the left eye and right eye film elements will need to be digitally scanned, frame by frame. We will need to assess the level of damage to these existing elements, and determine how to best fix the images. This will require a stereoscopic re-alignment pass, left and right color restoration and matching, and clean-up of scratches and other damages to the film surface. This is very challenging post-production work, and can potentially be very expensive. Fortunately, the 3-D Film Archive already has a great track record from it’s previous restoration projects, and by teaming up with 3-D SPACE and maintaining this work “in house” costs will be kept at a manageable level. We are confident that we will be able to produce both a 3-D blu-ray master and a digital cinema package (DCP) that will look fantastic.