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Ignite Films Celebrates 70th Anniversary of “Invaders From Mars!” With Otherworldly 4K UHD Release!

Since 2005, Ignite Films, the Dutch company formed by Jan Willem Bosman Jansen, has lived up to its motto, “Classics for the Future,” by acquiring classics film packages and copyrights, and distributing the titles through creative and far-reaching deals. Since 2016, Lionsgate has handled worldwide distribution of Ignite Films’ film catalogue. The 4K Ultra HD restoration of Invaders From Mars is the first title to be manufactured and distributed by Ignite Films itself.

The sensational 4K Ultra HD restoration of William Cameron Menzies’ 1953 sci-fi classic was originally scheduled to be released September 26, 2022, but production and distribution fell victim to the supply-chain crisis and delivery was unfortunately delayed for over three months. The pre-orders were sent out to the eager fans of the film in late December 2022 and early January 2023, and new orders are being taken for the film exclusively on the Ignite Films website.  The official new launch date is January 10, 2023, in celebration of the film’s 70th Anniversary, announced Jan Willem Bosman Jansen, founder of Ignite Films.

“Ignite Films acquired the Eddie Alperson library of which one of the titles was Invaders From Mars. Buying the older catalogues over the years has made me a specialist in searching for restoration materials, which in a number of cases were not to be found. Invaders From Mars was one of those. Until 2012 this film was just lost to us, but then I was able to buy the original camera negative, which was in great condition, but consisted of only 70% of the movie. That’s when my cooperation with Scott MacQueen started. Scott had then just begun his tenure as head of preservation at UCLA where most of our materials are stored. Our further search continued in 2020 and resulted in finally finding additional materials at various archives around the world, and Scott really performed his restoration magic, said Bosman Jansen.

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) Awards Committee presented Ignite Films with the inaugural Jury Award for Restoration and Preservation for its work on Invaders From Mars.  In addition to the Jury Award for Restoration, the HPA Awards recognized excellence in craft categories including color grading, editing, sound and visual effects during the gala on November 17, 2022.

Ignite Films Director Jan Willem Bosman Jansen said, “It’s a great honor to receive this award from HPA. We have taken tremendous care to ensure that the work we have done is an homage to the genius of William Cameron Menzies, and this recognition means the world.”

 4K restoration of William Cameron Menzies’ 1953 sci-fi classic Invaders From Mars

The restoration of Invaders From Mars has been much hoped for and a long time coming — but the process was not an easy one. Leading the effort was longtime enthusiast and preservationist of classic cinema Scott MacQueen, who previously was head of preservation at UCLA Film & Television Archive for more than a decade, before retiring in 2021. The biggest challenge for MacQueen was that the color negative confirmed for printing in SUPERcineCOLOR lacked many shots and needed to be sourced from 70-year-old prints.

“Invaders From Mars was one of the most complex projects I have ever undertaken,” said Restoration Supervisor Scott MacQueen.

“In the days of analog restoration, it would not have been possible, but 21st century digital tools have been game-changers. Released in an archaic process that is irretrievable today Invaders From Mars was pieced together from five different sources. Additionally, eight minutes of European scenes and an alternate ending, and the original trailer, have been preserved. As star Jimmy Hunt says, ‘Invaders From Mars has never looked so good,’” added MacQueen.

The 4K restoration process of the sci-fi classic Invaders From Mars required a lengthy search for the final elements, which was conducted by Ignite’s Janet Schorer. Additionally, it was imperative to locate the elements necessary to fill in the gaps in the original camera negative, which was stored with great care at the UCLA Film & Television Archive. The George Eastman Museum and National Film and Sound Archive of Australia were instrumental in supplying additional key elements which were essential to completing the film.

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Special bonus features include a restored 4K version of the original 1953 trailerand a Newly Commissioned 2022 Trailer, an interview with the film’s star, Jimmy Hunt, an in-depth look at the restoration process led by Scott MacQueen, Restoration Supervisor, plus a new documentary about the film featuring interviews with directors Joe Dante (Gremlins), John Landis (An American Werewolf in London), Multiple Visual Effects Academy-Award winner Robert Skotak (Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgement Day), and other luminaries. These extras and the documentary were produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Jeremy Alter (David Lynch’s Inland Empire, Doug Ellin’s Ramble On).

Fearful memories of this timeless 1953 bone-chiller still haunt the dreams of fans who have never forgotten the story of David MacLean, a young boy (Jimmy Hunt) who witnesses an alien invasion. Invaders From Mars was filmed from a child’s point of view, using exaggerated sets and upward angles. It became a modern classic and was also one of two early 50s classic alien-invasion science fiction films (the other is Robert Wise’s The Day the Earth Stood Still) reflecting Cold War tensions, the Red Scare and paranoid anxiety typical of many films in the 50s.

Invaders From Mars stars Jimmy Hunt, Helena Carter, Arthur Franz, Morris Ankrum, Leif Erickson, and Hillary Brooke.

Upcoming Special Screenings of the 4K restored version of Invaders From Mars:

On Saturday, January 14, 2023, The Museum of Modern Art will have a Special Screening of the restored version of Invaders From Mars in conjunction with To Save and Project: The 19th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation, the latest edition of the annual festival dedicated to celebrating newly preserved and restored films from archives, studios, distributors, foundations, and independent filmmakers from around the world. Prior to the screening, there will be a film preservation workshop hosted by Scott MacQueen, who led the restoration team on Invaders From Mars.

For more information: https://www.moma.org/calendar/events/8402

On Sunday, January 15, 2023, Bedford Playhouse Clive Davis Arts Center, Westchester County at 633 Old Post Road, Bedford, NY 10506 in Bedford Village will present the 4K restoration of the sci-fi classic Invaders From Mars, followed by a presentation and Q&A with the film’s restorer Scott MacQueen.

For more information: https://bedfordplayhouse.org/invaders-from-mars-with-special-guest-scott-macqueen/