In 1998, when Stone Reader was in production, digital formats were in their infancy, videotape had its limits, and motion picture film, though expensive, was still the best imaging tool for directors to tell their stories.
Stone Reader was made by hand that way, shot on 16mm film, and screened in theaters on 35mm prints made from an optical blow-up with a hard mask in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio from the original 16mm A&B rolls. The DVD released after Stone Reader's first theatrical run was cropped to conform to the standard 16:9 aspect ratio, further compromising the original framing.
This restoration and re-release restores the film to its original composition. In 2019, the old original 16mm negative A&B rolls were cleaned and scanned digitally. Then the 4K scans were color-corrected to match the first 35mm prints, returning Stone Reader to the look and feel the cinematographers who originally shot the film intended.
The aspect ratio is in the Academy Format (1:33:1) and is presented in that format, because Stone Reader was originally conceived of as a television program but as the story grew more expansive the decision was made to release it as a feature film in theaters.
In 2003, Stone Reader was released theatrically in the US to critical acclaim, appearing on many top ten films of the year lists and remained in theaters for 15 months. An edited version of Stone Reader later appeared on television in Denmark, India, and the United Kingdom. It has never been seen on television in the U.S.