Ben Stassen is a Belgian film producer and director. He founded nWave Pictures in 1994, producing highly successful CGI ride films including the groundbreaking Devils Mine. Starting in 1997, Ben Stassen began focusing on large format films usually screened at IMAX theaters, and made some of the most successful large format films to date, including Thrill Ride: The Science of Fun and Alien Adventure. Contrary to most large format films, which mix education with spectacular visuals, most of Stassen's films are aimed exclusively at the entertainment market. As IMAX theaters around the world increasingly became capable of screening stereoscopic (3-D) films in the late nineties, Stassen quickly embraced this new technology, and directed a succession of popular 3-D large format films, such as Encounter in the Third Dimension and Haunted Castle. Upon screening "Haunted Castle", Imax corporation sent a fax to all the exhibitors warning them about the content of the film. Imax went as far as labeling "Haunted Castle" as degrading to the brand. This triggered a strong reaction from both the exhibitors and the press. The film was marketed as "The film Imax corporation does not want you to see". It went on the become a huge success worldwide.
In 2004, Stassen produced and directed "Wild Safari", the first 3D wildlife film for the giant screen (Imax).
nWave is also the leading producer and distributor of 3D ride films and 4D attraction films with over 30 titles in their library. Over 200,000 people a day see one of nWave's films in theme parks, science centers, zoo, aquaria and musea around the world.
Ben Stassen's first feature length animated film, Fly Me to the Moon, was released in North America on 15 August 2008 on both regular size and IMAX screens, exclusively in 3-D. According to nWave, Fly Me to the Moon was the first animated film to be designed, created, and released solely in 3-D. The film was originally announced for the spring or summer of 2007. The delay is believed to be the result of the slow roll-out of 3-D projection technology.
On 7 May 2008, nWave announced that its next feature length animated film would be titled Around the World in 50 Years and that it too would be directed by Ben Stassen. It was released in 2010 titled Sammy's Adventures: The Secret Passage.
Stassen was also involved in the production of several movies directed by famed Croatian film director Krsto Papić, most notably "My Uncle's Legacy" (Život sa stricem), the film was nominated for a Golden Globe (Best Foreign Film category) in 1990.
Stassen is widely quoted as a leading pioneer of 3D cinema, considering 3D as the 2nd revolution in the history of cinema, second only to the transition from silent film to the talkies. He mostly refers to American 3D film as 2.5 D cinema. In his opinion most filmmakers do not make any effort to use 3D as a new language of cinema. They simply shoot their 2D films with two cameras creating a little depth behind the screen with the odd in-your-face effect. He is also quite outspoken about the inadequacies of the 3D digital theaters. The essence of 3D cinema is its ability to greatly enhance the sense of immersion in the story being told. But there is no way to achieve real immersion unless you have floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall screens. The image must fill you field of vision as much as possible. The long term viability of 3D cinema will depend on the exhibitors willingness to build theaters designed specifically for 3D immersion.
nWave Pictures is currently producing two 3D features. The sequel to Sammy's Adventures ("Escape From Paradise") and African Safari 3D, a live action 3D adventure documentary taking the audience from the cost of Skeleton Coast in Namibia to the top of the Kilimanjaro.
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