The third day of DigiTraining Plus 2016 opened with the words of Paolo Protti, President of MEDIA Salles: "I have been struck by the determination of small movie theatres in Sicily's more mountainous areas to digitize and continue playing their important role as the strongholds of film exhibition. If so many children did not learn to love the cinema in these little places, they would be unlikely to develop the habit of watching films on the big screen as adults. The determination of these tenacious exhibitors in mountain areas should be an example to all of us."
Today the course participants are "away" in Catania to experience the different aspects of what the cinema has to offer in one of the liveliest areas of Sicily. Their first stop was at the Cinestar of San Giovanni La Punta, a 9-screen complex, seating 2,500 and situated inside the "I Portali" shopping mall, where the participants were welcomed by Paolo Signorelli and Santo Lanzafame, the cinema's two exhibitors.
Launched 10 years ago, the Cinestar experienced the crucial phase of the shift to the new technology: in the spacious projecting booth 35mm projectors and plates installed when the cinema was opened - and now museum pieces - cohabit with digital projectors in operation since 2009 and - at least partially - ready to be replaced by state-of-the-art equipment.
After a visit to the "Agriturismo di Viagrande", where they attended a presentation of typical Sicilian products, also suitable for sale in movie theatres, particularly those catering for a public attentive to healthy eating, the course participants visited the Cinema King in Catania, a landmark for those who appreciate quality cinema.
Whilst describing the present situation of this theatre, which opened in 1928 as a popular neighbourhood cinema, showing third screenings, Claudia Valli stressed that the King's strong point lies in its privileged relationship with an audience of cinephiles who appreciate independent films and theme weeks screening classics. The digital technology installed thanks to co-financing by the Sicilian Regional Authorities makes it easier for the King's staff to present a range of titles every day.
Catania is not only a pole of cinema-going in Sicily but also the location for films made by directors who have brought worldwide fame to Italian cinema, such as Zeffirelli and Visconti. Sebastiano Gesù, film critic, accompanied the course participants on a tour of the City's old neighbourhood with its traditional eighteenth-century, lava-stone buildings.
"This year's edition of the course," commented Mike Vickers, a UK cinema exhibitor and Treasurer of MEDIA Salles, "could be described as a journey between the past and the future, making us reflect on the changes the cinema is undergoing today.
New technology is changing every day - the cinema of the future is not like anything we knew in past years. Like everything - technology breeds technology and we must keep pace with this ever changing scenario."
The course is organized by MEDIA Salles with the partnership of