ISR FAQ - Screenings, Perks, Releases

UPDATE December 2023
MARK YOUR CALENDARS, 2024 will be year we break the long-standing impasse on the distribution problems with the film.
Please check this space in Feb/March 2024 for further news.
UPDATE December 2022
First, I want to apologize to those Kickstarter backers who messaged me in the last 6 months but Kickstarter disabled emails to me without notifying me at all. This is was due to a bug in their system, so I was never notified of messages nor could I see them. The problem has been resolved now.
Secondly, I hope all of you are well and safe. This pandemic has obviously wreaked consequences far beyond problems with the film and I hope no one here lost any loved ones. But nonetheless, the pandemic nearly took the film down. We were just picking up momentum in January/Feb 2020 with a number of major openings planned in London, Berlin, Philadelphia and more. The film shutdown completely March 2020 and other than the one-time streaming the distributor did last holidays and a short run this year at a small theater in Oregon, it has remained entirely closed.
To make matters much worse, the film's distributor BIG & Digital was forced into insolvency in December 2021 with the rights of the film still owned by them (they had the rights until May 2023). It was unsure what the fate of the film would be, but then in April 2022, a German Fulldome production and distribution company, Reef Distribution acquired the assets of BIG & Digital and hired the Tina Ratterman from BIG & Digital to work for them as their US branch.
Reef's offered to take over distribution for In Saturn's Rings. At first, I was inclined to take over distribution of the film myself, but two factors made it an easy decision to give the rights to Reef. First, my long-standing ankle problems deteriorated into a permanent partial disability via a condition know as CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome), so I simply did not have the bandwidth to tackle building a distribution company.
Second, Reef offered to produce themselves a 30 minute BTS documentary on the making of film and fully relaunch the film including in a new packages (hour bundle for TV and Streaming and a new theatrical version with a 5 minute short documentary shown before the film). And they will cut a special long version of the this Making Of/Behind the Scenes into a hour version for eventual inclusion on the Blu-ray and DVD versions. Additionally, they committed, in writing, to minimum level of distribution or the rights revert back to me. This is something the film has never had before.
I am very aware how long the process of this film has been: it's now 1/3rd of my life. But the goal of this film was always for the film to be seen by as many people as possible on the biggest screens possible. Reef Distribution has committed to this and I hope you will join me in supporting their efforts. They made a short, informal video above to explain directly to you their plans.
I encourage you to reach out directly to them and let them know what you would like to see as far as screenings, streaming and physical media plans for film.
Thank you again for your long-suffering support of this project. The silver lining to all this is that most films vanish shortly after release, never to be heard from again. In Saturn's Rings looks to be film that will last and be enjoyed by future generations.
Best wishes for a great holiday season.
Stephen and the ISR volunteer team.
Now that children's and booster vaccines are beginning to roll out and increasingly available around the world, we are finally resuming a push to restart the release of the film to help fund the completion of the fulldome version.
All of this comes after the film has been fully shutdown since March of 2020. It won't be fast as the pandemic is still ongoing but we feel enough options are available to begin the process of safely resuming screenings in selected venues and parts of the world.
Stay tuned for more as we re-start our social media and newsletter efforts.
ONE YEAR COVID UPDATE (March 12, 2021)
Today marks exactly 1 year since the film's release was totally shutdown to the global pandemic. It's been a difficult year for all of us and all of you. Our hearts go out to all those who've lost loved ones or suffered serious illness.
For us (producers Stephen & Marie van Vuuren), we are still healthy and locked down but we lost our two beloved cats last summer and Stephen lost his mom (to natural causes) in January.
As for the film, the film's distributor is in hibernation survival mode until widespread theatrical openings AND attendance resumes, most likely late this year or into 2022. Many other film, music, theater and other public arts are in the same boat.
Production on the native fulldome version of the film has stayed alive, although slowed way down due to loss of funds from ticket sales and volunteer render machines.
But we have survived and will continue to due so. The 8K native fulldome version will open next year, all things going well this year. We all can do our part to bring back arts and entertainment by getting vaccinating, wearing masks, and staying safe.
We look forward to sharing the film again all of you in the future. Thank you for still being there for us and we wish everyone a safe and healthy future.
on behalf of all the volunteers and supporters of the film,
Stephen & Marie van Vuuren PRODUCERS In Saturn's Rings

COVID-19 Update
We have been shut down since March 12th, 2020 at all venues. Currently, we are opposed to any indoor showings of the film unless they are in areas of near zero virus (e.g. New Zealand) or sell no concessions AND mandate masks at ALL times. AND they must not be in a red zone/hot spot/ surging area regardless of local policies. If NY Times/John Hopkins etc. show the area as surging, no screenings of any type.
STREAMING UPDATE: We held two live streamings of the film on September 15th and 19th, 2020. If you missed those, subscribe to our newsletter and/or follow social media as we are considering holiday streaming events in November and or December 2020.
You have questions, we have answers...
The film is done - so what are you doing now? The initial version is done, but we have several other versions to render so work will continue until 2021. Plus we are working on getting more screenings.
When will the film screen near me? We wish we could say. The film's distributor is working very hard on this. We will announce booked screenings on our website and on social media. Feel free to look at lists of theaters here (US) and here (International) to request it. We are also looking into this site for setting up special event screenings.
When will the film be released in other formats to watch at home? This will take place after the theatrical release - read below about other releases of the various versions of the film.
When will the perks be sent out? We have a huge number of donors (thank you!!!), lots of different types of perks and lots of places around the world to send them too. Most (but not all) will have to wait until the film's versions are complete due to we cannot legally make discs of the film during theatrical. We are exploring an encrypted streaming option.
Giant screen and fulldome planetarium films roll-out very differently than other films. The bad news: it's slow. The good news: it lasts much, much longer than other films. Each theater is individually owned and often plays films for months or even years, so they are often booked up months or years in advance.
The native fulldome version won't finish rendering early 2021. Rendering on it could not start until the 4K DCI giant screen version was completed. Those screenings will start in 2021 (pandemic depending) and continue.
We understand how badly people want perks especially those who are getting copies of the film. But we can't start work on those until all the theatrical versions are completed and out the door. The native fulldome version, which is in 8K resolution, is a brutal render that requires all our computers here plus many volunteer's computers to complete by 2021.
Due to the delays in the fulldome version we hoped to get complete by summer of 2019, instead it will be released in the summer of 2020, we don't expert perks to ship until 2021 at the earliest.
Again, I realize that seems so far out, but remember that many of us having been working on the film, unpaid, full-time for 15+ years. It's been a labor of love and we want it be done right.
AND we are looking at secure technology to let donors stream the film soon and will have more to announce later.
Retail/for purchase and rental DVDs, Blu-rays etc. as well as streaming will happen at some to-be-determined date (by the film's distributor) when it will no longer interfere/compete with theatrical screenings. Many giant screen and fulldome theaters will NOT book the film if we have it for sale/rent/stream. We will have these available as soon as this window closes but if the film does well, it could be 1 to 2 years down the road.
The film has been released - but only in one of the several versions that it will release in. The creative work on the film is complete. The technical work required for outputting all the versions is not. Here are the versions possible:
4K DCI Widescreen Giant Screen version (completed, mastered, released): This is the version that is currently showing and more theaters will be announced soon.
4K 4:3 (Tall Screen) IMAX Laser version (complete, possible master and release pending). This version is also complete but not mastered by IMAX (it costs $50K to master picture and sound). We are waiting to see what IMAX Laser venues will book the film before mastering and releasing.
15/70mm 4:3 (Tall Screen) IMAX Film version (completed, master and release unlikely). There are still some IMAX film-based venues however their numbers shrink every month (less than 50 full-time worldwide today). It costs $250k to make a film print so many giant screen films can't afford to make prints nor can theaters to afford to print them. This is unfortunate. Those venues will go digital however, in the next 1 to 2 years, so we may screen at those venues then.
Native Fulldome (360 degree domes) version. (rendering now, mastering and release confirmed). This is the big one - there are only about 200 giant screen theaters worldwide, but over 7,000 fulldome screens. You will have a much better chance of seeing the film in fulldome but rendering will not complete until 2021 at earliest.
DVD/Blu-Ray (donor versions, incomplete). These are the non-retail perks versions of the film. There is much "behind the scenes material" to create that is not yet complete including some special bonus material that will NOT be on the retail versions.
DVD/Blu-Ray/Streaming (retail versions, incomplete). These versions won't be released until after the theatrical roll-out.
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