Trib. Milano n. 418 del 02.07.2007
Direttore responsabile: Elisabetta Brunella
International Edition No. 77 - year 6
23 December 2011
this issue comes out on 23 December, the right
date to send our best wishes for the coming festivities and for
the new year that is about to begin.
But 23 December is also the date on which 50% of screens operating
in Europe have shifted to digital. The forecast based on an epidemiological
model, which we presented at the Cannes Festival, proves to be
confirmed – and indeed slightly anticipated. From the figures
on digital installations that we have collected over the past
months, 18,500 digital projectors prove to have been installed
in Europe at 23 December. This forecast and a wide range of
statistical data providing a snapshot of digitalisation in Europe
have been published in the new DiGiTalk, available on our website. We hope you will enjoy reading it. Elisabetta Brunella Secretary General of MEDIA Salles
its meeting on Saturday 10th December, the Executive Committee has appointed
Luigi Grispello President of MEDIA Salles, the Finnish member Tero Koistinen
as Vice President and the English member Mike Vickers as Treasurer.
A new member, Ron Sterk, Director of NVB (Nederlandse Vereniging Van Bioscoopexploitanten),
the Dutch Exhibitors’ Association, was also welcomed.
The meeting was held in Amsterdam, the city which will be hosting the
course “DigiTraining Plus: European Cinemas Experiencing New Technologies”
from 29 August to 2 September 2012. In Amsterdam the MEDIA Salles committee
members met representatives of the Dutch partners for the course, including
NVB and the EYE Film Institute, to decide on the main content of the course’s
new edition – its ninth – which will be held at a crucial
point for digitalisation in Europe: in 2012 over 50% of European cinemas
will prove to be equipped with the new projection technologies.
DIGITAAL: the Dutch
way to full digitisation by Elisabetta Brunella
There are 253 cinemas for a total 750 screens
operating in the Netherlands, a market that crossed the 28-million-spectator
threshold in 2010, doubling the results of the early Nineties. To date
almost three hundred auditoriums – 296 to be precise - have switched
to the new projection technologies thanks to Cinema Digitaal. This is
the tool designed by Dutch distributors and exhibitors to allow all the
country’s screens access to a rapid and complete digital transition.
The aim is to succeed, by summer 2012, in digitalizing 510 screens with
widely varying characteristics – from arthouse single-screen movie
houses to urban multi-screen venues, from small circuits to medium- and
large-size chains. Cinema Digitaal, an organization with formal non-profit
status, was founded to bring together all operators with the exception
of three exhibition chains - Pathé, Euroscoop and Utopolis –
which had already set out independently on the path to digital technology,
the former signing a direct agreement with the majors, while the other
two making use of the French integrator Ymagis in the role of intermediary.
up to date with building progress on the new EYE Film Institute Headquarters,
which will be the venue for DigiTraining 2012
ON DIGITALISATION WORLDWIDE by Francesca Mesiano
THE WORLD’S DIGITAL “TIPPING
POINT” Texas Instruments and DLP Cinema™ announced last
7 December that over 50,000 screens worldwide are now equipped with digital
This means that at this point digital conversion has crossed the watershed
with over 50% of the world’s screens digitalized. Complete conversion
is foreseen for the end of 2015.
AMBROGINO D’ORO AWARD TO MILAN’S CINEMA MEXICO “NUMBER
57, VIA SAVONA IS THE ADDRESS FOR FANS OF INDEPENDENT AND ART-HOUSE CINEMA.
THIS IS A THEATRE THAT DOES NOT SCREEN THROWAWAY FILMS – ONE WEEK’S
PROGRAMMING AND STRAIGHT ON TO A NEW FILM. INSTEAD IT FOCUSES ON FILMS
TIME TO BE DISCOVERED, PROBABLY RECOMMENDED BY WORD OF MOUTH, AS HAPPENED
WITH “LE VENT FAIT SON TOUR” AND ABOVE ALL WITH THE “ROCKY
HORRORPICTURE SHOW”, WHICH
HAS RUN WITHOUT A BREAK AT THE MEXICO FOR 30 YEARS.
THE DEUS EX MACHINA OF ALL THIS IS ANTONIO SANCASSANI, OWNER-MANAGER OF
THE CINEMA MEXICO.”
This was the motivation given, when
Milan’s Cinema Mexico received the City’s certificate of Civic
Merit during the ceremony for the 2011 “Ambrogini d’Oro”
The award, whose name is inspired by Saint Ambrose, patron saint of Milan,
represents a prestigious acknowledgement for Antonio Sancassani’s
Mexico to be proud of, recognizing its role in Milanese cultural life,
as a landmark for those who are fans of quality and art-house cinema.
At the same time, it means acknowledgement for the Italian cinemas in
general: it is, in fact, the first time an Ambrogino d’Oro has been
awarded to a cinema.
THE FIRST NIGHT OF THE SCALA
AT THE CINEMA THANKS TO DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY
As every year, on 7 December, the day of Sant’Ambrogio (Saint Ambrose),
the Teatro alla Scala opened its opera season. This time a performance
of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, directed by Daniel Baremboim,
marked the inauguration.
Thanks to digital technology, the most important event in the Milanese
opera calendar was broadcast live, via satellite, to 150 Italian cinemas.
It is estimated that at least 35,000 spectators were present in Italian
film theatres. Also connected were 200 cinemas in Europe and as many again
in the USA.
CREATIVE EUROPE The European Commission’s new programme for the
cultural and creative sectors was announced on 23 November 2011, with
a proposed budget of 1.8 billion euros for the period 2014-2020 (with
an increase of 37% on current spending levels).
Built on the experience and success of the Culture and MEDIA Programmes,
which have supported the cultural and audiovisual sectors for more than
twenty years, the new programme will allocate about 900 million euros
to support for the cinema and audiovisual sector.
DIGITALIZATION GROWS IN EUROPEAN CIRCUITS Cinestar, leading German exhibition
chain, has signed an agreement whereby Arts Alliance Media becomes the
exclusive supplier of digital technology for complexes managed by companies
linked to Greater Union.
The agreement is financed by Amalgamated Holdings Limited (AHL), the Australian
company that controls Greater Union, and aims to convert up to 450 screens
over a two-year period.
Thanks to VPF agreements with AAM, AHL will see most of the initial costs
recovered through payments from distributors using digital systems. AAM
will manage the VPF agreements with the distributors and also provide
the theatre and library management systems at the CineStar venues involved.
In November the Odeon &
UCI Cinemas group signed an agreement with Arts Alliance Media
(AAM) for the supply of theatre management systems in Germany, Austria
and Italy, covering a total of 65 sites and 661 screens.
Using private investments and direct contracts with all six of the Hollywood
majors, Odeon UCI
had already financed the digitalization through Digital Deployment Associates
On the basis of the DDAL contracts, the Group had already installed digital
systems on 475 screens on the three markets and will complete the full
conversion by mid-2012.
AGREEMENT BETWEEN FTT DIGITAL CINEMA ITALIA
AND NEC DISPLAY SOLUTIONS At the end of November an important agreement was sealed
between NEC Display Solutions and FTT Digital Cinema Italia for distribution
on the Italian market.
Film Ton Technik Hannsdieter Ruettgers GmbH (FTT) is a German company
affiliated to the XDC Group and present in many European countries.
On the panorama of radical change brought about by the shift to digital
technology appearances have been made on the one hand by NEC with its
range of NC projectors (4 different DCI-approved projectors, including
a 4K model) and on the other by FTT with sales, installation and maintenance
THE POLISH FILM INSTITUTE SUPPORTS DIGITALISATION
OF ARTHOUSE CINEMAS IN POLAND The Polish Film Institute, in collaboration with the
National Film Archive, supports Polish Digital Cinemas Network, a program
that came into being with the aim of assisting Polish cinemas (in particular
arthouse theatres) in their conversion to digital technology.
The cinemas belonging to the Network (31 today) are equipped with avantgarde
digital projectors. Being also members of SKSiL Local and Arthouse Cinema
Network, their essential objective is to promote Polish films.
C-KINO.PL WEBSITE LAUNCHED At the end of November c-kino.pl, a website devoted
to the Polish Digital Cinemas Network, was launched, to provide information,
available in Polish and English, on cinemas belonging to the Network.
DIGITALISATION IN CHINA
The Beijing Film Company, a state enterprise operating in film production,
distribution and exhibition, with over 70 cinemas in China, has signed
a contract for the installation of four different models of Barco digital
HONG KONG MOVES TOWARDS FULL
Today, around 90% of Hong Kong’s screens have already shifted to
14 of the major Hong Kong distributors have signed a VPF agreement with
GDC Technology for digital distribution in cinemas.
The distributors, who include Broadway Circuit, Ma On Shan Classic Cinema
and UA Cinemas, will be paying the VPF in order to speed up digital conversion
in Hong Kong.
hosts portraits of cinemas in Europe and the rest of the world which are
quite different from one another but have in common the fact that they
have all adopted digital projection.
of 3D technology
Cinema Teatro Pedretti, Morbegno (SO)
The opinion of a fond spectator on
her trusted local cinema by Francesca Mesiano
the word “cinema” anyone who has grown up in Valtellina –
a winter sports venue in the heart of the Alps, famous above all for its
mountains, which are the birthplace of ski champions like Deborah Compagnoni
and Giorgio Rocca – cannot fail to call to mind immediately the
Cinema Teatro Pedretti in Morbegno, which conserves the discreet
fascination of an almost family place in our imagination. Personally.
I grew up in the Pedretti, from the interminable box-office queues
for Titanic at the age of 12, right up to the recent introduction
Its status as a local “institution” is well reflected in practice
both in its position, in Piazza Mattei – one of the main, and certainly
liveliest, squares in the centre of Morbegno – and, above all, in
the building, which in itself represents a snippet of history. An ex-convent
of the Capuchin Fathers dating from 1600, it was requisitioned by Napoleon
and transformed into a military storehouse, then reduced to a timber warehouse,
subsequently falling to rack and ruin until the end of the Eighteen hundreds.
In 1890, however, it gained new life as a building consecrated to art,
becoming a town theatre (Teatro Sociale) and finally assuming
its present form at the end of the last century, thanks to Armando Pedretti.
The recent installation (dated August 2010) of the digital projection
equipment completes the story, representing a decisive encounter with
modernity and accompanying the Pedretti, the leading film theatre
in the province of Sondrio, towards the new and ever more stimulating
experience of digital cinema and 3D technology.
Roberto Gasperi, the Pedretti’s manager, proudly shows
me the “Biglietto d’Oro” (Golden ticket)* awarded for
the 2008/2009 single-screen category and talks with enthusiasm about the
new system, convinced that the future of the cinema lies in digital technology
and 3D and that it is essential, even for a provincial cinema, to keep
up-to-date with new developments in order to offer its audiences the best
possible service. Passing from the building and its history to the actual
experience of a spectator at the Pedretti, we can stock up on
popcorn and soft drinks to enter the auditorium – a total of 424
seats, 224 in the stalls and 140 in the balconies – and gain our
spacious and comfortable armchair seats upholstered in dark-coloured velvet.
At this stage, after ads devoted to the widest range of business enterprises
in the area - accompanied each time by the same background compilation
– the lights are dimmed, then extinguished, and we can enjoy the
success of the moment on the new digital screen.
Naturally, as we are in a provincial area, and since the cinema only has
one auditorium, some films are often not screened or arrive here with
some delay compared to their theatrical release in the country’s
cinemas, but the managers have come to an effective compromise in their
choice of programming between the demands of marketing and personal taste.
This means that especially at times that are far from the “Christmas
boom” – during which the “cine-panettone” (Christmas-cake
cinema) film, whether domestic or foreign, of the year is regularly offered
and repeated, a pleasant variety of screenings can be enjoyed.
To sum up, thanks to its history and the care taken by its managers to
offer the tools of modern film exhibition, despite the local dimension,
the Cinema Teatro Pedretti continues to stand as an important
landmark for local culture, as well as being the trusty local cinema for
the town’s citizens.
*The Biglietto d’Oro (Golden
Ticket) is awarded each year by the Anec (the Italian exhibitors’
association) to various categories of cinemas monitored by Cinetel, which
have recorded the highest number of spectators in the past cinema season.
IN DIGITAL CINEMA Isabel García
ACEC (Area Catalana d’Exhibició Cinematogràfica)
have been working at ACEC (Area Catalana d’Exhibició Cinematogràfica)
since 1999. I am part of the team dedicated to the programming of the
screens belonging to the chain based in Spain. I am also a member of the
Intellectual Property Commission of FECE. And I collaborate in the programming
of FECINEMA, a Festival that takes place in Manresa (Barcelona) annually.
My view on digital cinema is that it is
a reality and has reached a point of no return. Now that the step has
been taken, we should focus on the many advantages, leaving behind the
small disadvantages that we must accept.
We cannot deny that the Cinema Industry
is a sector that has stayed loyal to its principles for too long when
compared to other sectors. This is why many are afraid of the digital
world. We are all aware of the issue of expiry dates. Technology is already
obsolete the minute it is installed.
I must also add that in the crisis the sector
is experiencing, due to several specific threats and the state of world
affairs in general, the expenditure required is a worrying factor. Not
to mention the new actors that have sprung up, the integrators. The latter
have become a relief in a way, yet created alarming dependence in another.
But, let’s focus on the advantages.
From the programming point of view, which is the side of the business
I know best, digitalization brings many advantages, which accompany a
change in the exhibitor’s mentality and obviously also in the distributor’s.
First of all, the very easy access to copies.
The original promise of all cinemas with an integrator having the desired
copies makes no sense because this wouldn’t change the business
model but become a way to destroy it. However, it is a fact that cheaper
copies – nowadays the VPF increases the price of the copy to the
distributor - will make it possible to reach more cinemas in the long
Above all, programming can be improved when
it comes down to versatility: the chance to have more than one film loaded
in different versions; the alternative content that provides advantages;
a diversified offer of events that not only enriches the programming but
can get rid of the many dead times in the cinema; the chance to provide
double programming, rediscovering old versions (the role of the marketing
department is also very important when it comes to creating exceptional
events). It is a good time to recover the copyrights of many old titles,
which can find their place with not too expensive copies and, especially,
be offered in good condition.
Obviously, advantages do not come only from
the programming side. The advantages in logistics and the quality of the
copies is another fact that deserves attention:
A hard disc with KDM is infinitely more
operational than the old 35mm copies, not to mention coming improvements
like the smart jog that will enhance it even more in the future. Moreover,
the intangibility of the product is also a reality and it also makes us
much more dependent on technical support that is not physically available
in the cinema. However, this service is taking gigantic steps forward.
There is also the image quality, even though
it cannot be immediately appreciated by the viewer, where it will be made
clear in the long run that the quality offered is far superior.
However, I insist this has to be a team
effort between owners of the screens and distributors. I believe that
although digitalization means a substantial improvement in the quality
of the services offered and is a necessary step to be taken by the sector,
we cannot forget that our main worry will still be to have the audience
that appreciates the social value of cinema-going.
I have a degree in Law and another one in Art History (Universitat de
Barcelona). Erasmus in Montpellier (Université Paul Valéry).
I hold a postgraduate degree in Management of Cultural Institutions, Companies
and Platforms (Universitat Pompeu Fabra). I also followed the specialisation
modules in Intellectual Property, Audiovisual Law and Concurrence Defense
and Unfair Competition organised by ESADE University.