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In 1993, filmmaker Jerry Vasilatos wrote, produced and directed the holiday drama "Solstice" with the help of a talented pool of filmmaking classmates, unknown local actors, and students from his alma mater Columbia College in Chicago. Through some Christmas magic and a lot of good fortune, "Solstice" miraculously ended up being broadcast into millions of households as Lifetime Television's Original World Premiere Movie in the 1994 and 1995 holiday viewing seasons as "Solstice: A Christmas Story". Along with accolades in both the Charleston and Houston International Film Festivals, the film gained a small but loyal following as a Chicago Christmastime classic, with a limited home video release on DVD in 2004 as "The Night Before Christmas".


"Solstice" was originally shot on 16mm film, with release prints generated from an interpositive element. When the film was prepared for broadcast in 1994, that interpositive print was transferred to a standard definition, one inch broadcast tape format. State of the art at the time… but woefully inadequate by contemporary high definition standards if the film was ever to be presented again. Thankfully, all of the original visual and audio elements from "Solstice" had been in safe storage since its completion. A return to the original camera negative rolls and a scan in 2K would be the first step to restoring the film in the best way possible.


With funding for the restoration raised through the generous support of crowdfunders on Kickstarter, "Solstice" was scanned and then underwent a painstaking, four month process of digital frame by frame dust, dirt, and scratch removal. Once the scan was cleaned up and some other enhancements added, the digital DPX files were given a new color grading to bring out the vibrancy of the original cinematography. On the audio side, the film’s original reel to reel analog tape recordings from production were also digitally transferred, with the mix then completely re-synched and reconstructed to present the sound for the film in the best fidelity possible.


With a new orchestral score replacing the original synthesized version in September of 2018, "Solstice" now looks and sounds better than originally presented in 1993, right in time for it’s 25th Anniversary in 2018 thanks to technological advancements giving filmmakers the tools to restore their films with the image clarity inherent only in their original camera negative elements.


For more information on the 25th Anniversary presentation of the film, please visit the "Updates" section along with our Facebook profile at: where you can also view a behind the scenes look at the original production of the film.

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Silver Award - 1994

Bronze Award - 1995

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