The Digital Cowboy 

"Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron"

Cannes Film Festival 2002 

QuVIS' digital motion image recorder showed its spirit with a Cannes film festival screening of "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron." The film was DreamWorks' latest animated feature and the second to be played at the international festival in as many years. The one-night-only presentation of the film featured a live performance of the musical score by Bryan Adams and composer Hans Zimmer. The musically enhanced screening was shown May 18 at the Grand Théâtre Lumière in Cannes, France.


Adams wrote and performed several original songs for "Spirit," a tale of a wild stallion that features minimal dialogue and a blend of 3-D and traditional animation.

Although it was not be shown in a competitive slot, DreamWorks' "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron," was the first animation feature to be shown digitally at Cannes with the use of a QuBit and digital projection technology.

The QuBit recorded the feature, audio and time-code for the media. For the live presentation, the time code is passed from the QuBit to an audio workstation that adds the sound effects while the musical score is performed live.

For QuVIS and DreamWorks, there was only one choice to run the project at the festival – Director of International Products, Joel Schiffman.

 Rehearsals for the unique performance were held at Hotel Martinez.

Brian Adams rehearsing before the unique event. Adams usually plays the bass guitar.

Unfortunately Adams injured his wrist in a motorbike accident in London just before rehearsals began.


DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and Brian Adams take questions at a rehearsal press conference.

Rehearsals at Grand Théâtre Lumière were a nightly occurrence.

Access was permitted only after the last screening, usually midnight and the stage cleared for the 1st festival screening, typically about 7:30 am.


The Grand Théâtre Lumière screened festival shows nearly continuously. 

The audio equipment and DCinema Servers were assigned to an elevated work floor directly in front of the projection booth.

 Access to the work floor was primarily by a ladder, near the last row of seats. During the show, absolute silence was required from the crew.

2 DCinema Servers, a primary & a back up played the feature out to a DCinema digital projector. The servers also provided the mastering timing reference for the entire presentation.
The servers were operated by Joel Schiffman. Loaded identically, the back up ran 20 seconds behind the primary. Emergency change-overs were practiced but the effort was never needed. The event ran flawlessly. Seated immediately at Schiffman’s elbow during the unique event was the DreamWorks SKG Executive Vice President responsible for the project.


In addition to the live performance show, “Spirit” was screened early one morning for general Festival attendees. Shortly before that show was to begin, mains power was lost in the projection booth, rendering the Digital Projector inoperable. Using his crew ID badge, Schiffman slipped the locks on nearby office doors and borrowed extension cords and power strips, sufficient to reach the projector. The projector required 10 minutes of warm-up time; Schiffman handed the projectionist live power 12 minutes before the show was scheduled to begin.

After starting his servers, Schiffman stood guard in over the power cord chain to prevent arriving workers from taking their power back. Despite his complete lack of French, his purpose was clear to the staff and the show ran to completion. When asked about his apparent skill at opening the locked office doors, Schiffman waved his plastic ID badge and credited American television dramas for demonstrating the technique.