Roger Waters - The Wall: New York World Premiere report
Written by Elliot Tayman   
Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Roger Waters - The Wall movie world premiere in New YorkTwo weeks ago (September 14) I had the pleasure of attending the 'sneak preview' of the new motion picture concert / documentary film by Roger Waters and co-creator Sean Evans titled 'Roger Waters - The Wall' (Picturehouse Entertainment/Fathom Events). The film was screened to a small audience in an intimate 88-seat theater in New York, not visible from the street. Fitted with a state-of-the-art Dolby Atmos sound system, The Screening Room was an ideal location to view the film for the very first time. This particular theater is not open to the public. It's used for private screenings only.

Dolby 88 features Dolby Atmos, the most significant development in cinema audio since surround sound. It creates a natural and life-like environment that reflects the artist's intent. Dolby Atmos employs overhead speakers, accommodates up to 128 audio streams, and enables sound to move smoothly and precisely around the theatre.

What made the evening even more memorable, is that Roger Waters was present for the film's entire screening! He gave a short welcome speech from the front row and thanked everyone for coming. He took a seat three rows in front of me and fully enjoyed himself as we all did! Once the film had ended and the house lights were turned on, he turned to the audience and again expressed his thanks to us for coming. He waved goodnight and exited through a side door.

Fast forward to last evening (September 28), and I find myself directly across the street at NY's Ziegfeld Theatre for the 'world premiere' of the same film - another noteworthy New York City Roger Waters event. I check-in at the security desk, confirm I'm on the VIP guest list, pick-up my entry ticket at the box office, and make my way to the lobby to look for familiar faces...

Roger Waters - The Wall movie world premiere in New YorkThe Ziegfeld Theatre is an American single-screen movie theater located at 141 West 54th Street in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York. It was opened in 1969. The theater was named in honor of the original Ziegfeld Theatre which was built by the impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. and operated from 1927 until it was demolished in 1966. The last time I was inside this historic theatre was way back in the Summer of 1982 when I attended the world premiere of the motion picture film Pink Floyd - The Wall (MGM).

Outside of the theatre were all the things you'd find at any major movie premiere. The long red carpet covered by an overhead canopy, the movie lobby posters spaced several feet apart to form the backdrop for the press photographers (there were many!), and plenty of high-powered lights and security personnel. Members of the press corps were standing inside of a barricaded area which was off limits to the public. Unfortunately I didn't secure press credentials which would've allowed me into this special area.

When Waters arrived he stepped onto the red carpet and allowed the press to photograph him. I was already inside the theatre but was given a full report by another fan who was a contest winner. Cheers Jackie! The contest winners were allowed to briefly meet Waters. The winners were also allowed into the press area for photographs.

Roger Waters - The Wall is not only a concert documentary film of his highly successful 4-year-spanning world concert tour (The Wall 2010-2013) where he performed, in its entirety, the critically acclaimed 1979 Pink Floyd classic album The Wall, to thousands of fans across several continents. It's also part documentary of a more personal journey for Waters. Co-director Sean Evans brilliantly intertwines footage of a 'road trip' or, as some might call it, a pilgrimage to France and Italy. Filmed by as many as ten cameramen, the concert footage was filmed at three concerts across two continents.

Within the over 2-hour movie, is a multi-part personal documentary which follows Waters and his school friend Andrew "Willa" Rawlinson, as they set-out in Waters' Bentley on a very emotional journey. The purpose of this road trip is to first visit the WW 1 Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in France where his grandfather George Henry Waters is buried. In one scene Waters is looking down at the gravestone where he's flanked by his three children. From there Waters and Rawlinson move-on to Italy and drive down the coast to Anzio in search of the location where his father, Eric Fletcher Waters, was killed in a raging battle with German forces during WW 2. The actual ditch where he was killed is now in the center of the town of Aprilla, some 10 miles north of Anzio. Waters then visits the WW2 memorial garden at Monte Cassino where his father's name is inscribed on one of the monuments. His body was never found. At one point in the documentary footage, Waters and Rawlinson are accompanied by filmmaker Peter Medak who discusses his own childhood in war-torn Hungary. During the road trip they make rest stops where they (Waters and Rawlinson) talk about some of their childhood memories. The road trip footage was filmed by Sean Evans and forms the emotional core of the hybrid movie which Waters refers to as an "Anti-War Protest Film."

After mingling in the lobby with several people I knew, and watching other invited guests arrive, I made my way into the theatre. I had a perfect reserved seat for both sound and vision! 2nd row dead center in the Loge level. The theatre filled-up quickly. The orchestra level was now full to capacity. At precisely 7:15 the house lights dimmed. Roger Waters and Sean Evans rose out of their seats, walked around the front row, turned to face the audience, but only Waters spoke. Waters addressed the audience for just three minutes. Basically thanking us all for coming and telling us to enjoy the film. Then they promptly took their seats again.

Over the next 2 hours and 13 minutes, I watched a high-definition concert film which made me feel as if I was there in its audience once again. I was a very fortunate fan during 2010-2013. I had the pleasure of attending 22 Wall concerts. The film has all the breathtaking concert videos used on the tour. The color is rich, vibrant, and flawless! The sound is impeccable. Oh, and Waters plays perfectly throughout the film. He went all-out as he obviously knew these particular three concerts were being filmed for a future motion picture film.

Many of Waters' band members were present this evening. Given the fact that the theatre has a large seating capacity, it was difficult for me to spot all of them. I clearly saw Harry Waters and Robbie Wyckoff as they were exiting the theatre. I had a quick few words with each of them. G.E. Smith was there as well, though he seemed too busy to try to have a chat with. Though not a band member, Sting was in the house with his wife Trudie. The man obviously has good taste.

Roger Waters - The Wall movie world premiere in New York - Nick MasonThere was one special guest who caught me totally off guard – Nick Mason! To my utter delight, and shock to my mind, Pink Floyd's legendary percussionist was in the house! I didn't expect to see him tonight. Nevertheless, he was indeed present for his friend, and ex-bandmate's, movie world premiere. I caught-up with him in the lobby as we exited the theatre. He was surrounded by fans and photographers. However, I still managed to share a few words with him and snap a photo. Once again, as I've done in past meetings with him, I thanked him for his continued support of the Brain Damage web site. Nick and his party then quickly made their way to the exit and hopped into a black SUV with dark tinted windows. It swiftly sped-off down 54th Street. From what I've been told, Mason joined Waters for photo opportunities outside on the red carpet prior to the film's screening.

After the evening's festivities concluded, many fans gathered on the street outside of the lobby. All, including myself, were now waiting for Waters to exit with his party. However, after some 10 minutes had passed, the security personnel made announcements that Waters had already departed the theatre. Everyone scattered and I headed home to write this report. All in all, it's just another brick in the wall.

I'd like to express my sincerest thanks to the team, especially David Peris, for inviting me to this momentous occasion.