Reg. Trib. Milano n. 418 del 02.07.2007
Direttore responsabile: Elisabetta Brunella

  International Edition No. 82 - year 7 - 22 June 2012



Dear readers,

I am happy to announce that this year MEDIA Salles collaborated on the Report on the Cinema Industry in Italy, presented in Rome on 20 June.
This edition of the publication by the Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo, is enhanced by a "Focus on the digitalisation of cinemas in Italy and in Europe" edited by MEDIA Salles.
From the analysis it emerges that, with over half its screens digitalised, the Continent has stepped across the watershed in the conversion process.
At 1 January 2012 18,527 of Europe's screens were digitalised, representing approximately 52% of total screens. The growth rate is 79.3% compared to 1 January 2011, when Europe's digital screens numbered 10,335.
An in-depth analysis of the 35 countries for which data has been collected by MEDIA Salles nonetheless shows a widespread lack of homogeneity.
One interesting figure here is the ratio between the number of screens digitalised and the total number of screens in each country. If the rate of penetration for digital has reached 52% in Europe as a whole, to locate significant differences it is enough to take a look at the six leading markets: France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Russia and Italy.
Of these countries, the United Kingdom and France stand above the European average, with an incidence of digital screens equal to respectively 72.6% and 66.9%. In line with the average are Russia (54%) and Germany (49.6%), whilst Italy (around 39%) together with Spain (38.4%) record a far lower result than that found for Europe as a whole.
After having analyzed the most recent developments in the digital transition in Italy and Europe, the Focus looks back over its main phases, from the beginning up until today.
What we have to concentrate on now are future prospects: although digitalisation represents a great opportunity for the cinema industry as a whole, considerable financial and economic problems weigh on small and medium-sized exhibitors, making digitalisation problematic.
Thus the public and private financing tools made available to cinemas assume a vital importance: in the most recent phase of digitalisation, which took place during 2011, they replaced 3D as a driving force in the transition process.
MEDIA Salles' Focus offers a European overview of them, reserving particular attention for the situation in Italy.
Yet all this is not enough unless some prospects of practical use are forthcoming at the same time, in order to justify the investment.
In this respect it is essential that, in its own interests, too, distribution should be made to consent to so-called "multiprogramming" in cinemas, i.e. the possibility of projecting different films on the same day, in different time slots, with the aim of increasing audiences and box-office.

Luigi Grispello
President of MEDIA Salles
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Women in Digital Cinema
Gabriele Röthemeyer
MFG Filmförderung Baden-Württemberg

After her studies of German, theatre and journalism in Munich, Gabriele Röthemeyer worked as commissioning editor and producer/director of television documentaries for educational programs at the North German Broadcasting Corp. and ZDF. Between 1982 and 1989 she served as drama adviser and producer for several film and television production companies in Hamburg (Provobis, FFP). This was followed by a five-year period of free-lance writing/directing features and documentaries for public television (culture and film departments mainly). In 1995, she was appointed CEO of MFG Film Fund, Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg.

Successful involvement in cinema digitalisation in Baden-Württemberg.

MFG Filmförderung Baden-Württemberg had already supported cinemas in the transition from analog to digital presentation technology for many years before this involvement was expanded and intensified in 2010 with the creation of the special program for cinema digitalisation. An ambitious funding project was implemented under the leadership of CEO Gabriele Röthemeyer and the consultant for cinema funding Uschi Freynick. With funding totalling 1,300,000 euros, it had already brought the latest technology to 76 screens in Baden-Württemberg by the end of 2011. A further 1,500,000 euros will be provided for cinema digitalisation within 2014. This makes Baden-Württemberg the pioneer and one of Germany’s most progressive regions in the field of funding cinema digitalisation.

Röthemeyer and Freynick, two women who were there at the inception of MFG, have made it their task to maintain the above-average percentage of program cinemas and the large number of cinemas in Baden-Württemberg. The best possible digitalisation funding is to be implemented in meeting the challenges of the switch to digital particularly to ensure the future competitiveness of small cinemas and rural cinemas, which are often the only form of culture available in such areas. Funding is closely linked to quality criteria with priority being given to art-house cinemas and film theatres which focus on European and German films or are even awarded MFG’s annual cinema program prizes for their high-quality programs.

All commercial cinemas, program and art film theatres in Baden-Württemberg with a maximum of six screens per cinema are eligible to apply for funding. Per year, however, only one screen per film theatre can receive it. The funding for digitalisation is in the form of a subsidy amounting to 25% of the costs eligible, up to 18,000 euros. Costs of servers and projectors as well as the installation of digital projection technology can be subsidised. The funding decision is made by the awards committee for cinema innovation loans. The possibility of combining digitalisation funding by MFG with other public funds such as from FFA and the BKM is particularly advantageous for cinema operators.

For further information:

MFG Filmförderung Baden-Württemberg
Breitscheidstraße 4
70174 Stuttgart
+49 711 90715-400

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Digital at the 2012 Giornate di Cinema (Cinema Days)

On Monday 25 June at the Giornate di Cinema, the conference "NON UNO DI MENO! (NOT ONE LESS!) Digitalisation of Italian Cinemas: the open question" will take place in Riccione with the aim of summing up the situation of digital cinema in Italy where, at the beginning of 2012, the number of digital screens had reached a figure of 1,485 (around 39% of the Country’s total screens).
Nicola Borrelli (Director General for the Cinema at the Ministry of Cultural Affairs), Angelo D’Alessio (Director of the international sections of SMPTE), Gianantonio Furlan (ANEC delegate for digital), Richard Borg (President of the distributors’ section of ANICA) and Carlo Bernaschi (President of the ANEM) will take part in the Round Table.
Hard copies of the publication DiGiTalk will also be available at the conference.

For the programme of the event, see:

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The ninth edition of the

"DigiTraining Plus:
European Cinemas Experiencing New Technologies"

course will take place

in Amsterdam

from 29 August to 2 September 2012
Extended deadline for early birds fee (850 euro + vat):
8 June 2012

Further information is published on our website,
at the page dedicated to the course:

Programme (provisional) 

Focus on the Speakers

Venues and visits

The EYE Film Institute Netherlands

(click the photo to read more)

The Cinema Oostereiland, Hoorn

(click the photo to read more)

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Hilversum

(click the photo to read more)

The course participants

Paola Tortora - Italy

Peter Bosma - The Netherlands

Daniele Roussier Fusco - Italy

Riina Liukkonen - Finland

Slobodanka Miskovic - Croatia

Radoslav Markov - Bulgaria




ITALY: Support from the Regions for Digitalisation
Since the end of 2010 and during 2011, various financial tools have been implemented to support , paying particular attention to small exhibitors and independent theatres, which have difficulty in accessing VPF schemes for financing the transition. According to the findings published by MEDIA Salles and the European Audiovisual Observatory in The European Digital Cinema Report, in 2011 sixty different support projects for digital conversion were operating in Europe in thirteen different European countries and on a pan-European scale.
Most (42) of these are projects operating at a regional level, whilst another 15 are managed on a national scale. A further three schemes work on a supranational scale and are promoted by the European Commission and the Council of Europe.
In Italy the Regions continue to play an essential role in the process of digital conversion in movie theatres.
There follows an account of the main updates.
The funds allocated by the Region of Sicily for the of its cinemas will amount to 5,560,000 euros. Of this sum, 3 million will be made available by the Apq Sensi Contemporanei fund (i.e. the Agreement on a Framework Programme for "The promotion and spread of contemporary art and the enhancement of Southern Italy’s architectural and urban contexts" signed by the Region) from the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
Following the declarations made on 13 and 14 March by the Director of the Service CineSicilia Film Commission, Pietro Di Miceli, at the conference Cinema e Impresa in Sicilia: produzione, festival, sale - Tax Credit: nuove opportunità di investimento nei cinema per banche e imprese (Cinema and business enterprise in Sicily: production, festivals, theatres - Tax Credit: new opportunities of investment in cinemas for banks and business companies), comes the official announcement by the regional Presidencies of the AGIS and ANEC: the call will be published on 30 July 2012.
The maximum expenditure for the overall adaptation of a cinema will be 100,000 euros, of which 50% is guaranteed by a contribution to the capital from the resources referred to in the official call and 30% by a national Tax Credit, also used as a point of reference for the definition of the spending allowed and procedures for the application for financing.
It will also be possible to implement the resources through re-programming or other regional, national and community funds.
The Region of Sicily thus joins the Italian Regions supporting the shift to the new technology.
Apulia (Puglia)
In 2011 the Apulia Region, with the collaboration of AGIS and ANEC and the management of the Apulia Film Commission, foresaw a form of intervention for the of cinemas based on an allocation of 1.3 million euros through the European Regional Development Fund.
The financing addresses small exhibitors - no more than four screens - which can apply for a contribution not exceeding 40,000 euros per screen.
At the end of April the results of the first selection were published: of the 47 applications presented, 32 were financed, for a total of 1,160,621 euros. A further two applications were judged eligible but not possible to finance.
Amongst the applications accepted was that of the Cinema Bellarmino, in Taranto, managed by Daniele Roussier Fusco, who will be one of the participants on the DigiTraining Plus 2012 course (his photo is published above in the section "The course participants").
To view the list of cinemas that obtained financing in Apulia, please click here.

For an overview of the present situation, region by region, please click on the map.

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The Region of Lombardy has actively supported the of its theatres since 2008. In that same year 13 of the 22 applications presented were financed, whilst 5 were approved but not financed because funds had been exhausted.
In the following year there were 27 applications, 18 of which obtained financing, whilst 7, though approved, were not financed.
Finally 2 million euros were made available in 2011 for the technological updating of cinemas and the purchase of equipment for digital projection including the necessary accessories and the costs of planning and managing the work (up to a limit of 7% of the total cost). Financing varies between 35,000 and 250,000 euros and may, in no case, amount to over 70% of total costs.
Further intervention was promoted, again in 2011, by Lombardy’s Regional authorities in collaboration with the Provinces of Novara and of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, with an overall investment of 2 million euros made available to private, non-profit organizations, ecclesiastical and religious bodies and public administrations managing multi-purpose theatres. The objective is to reinforce the ties between multi-purpose cultural centres and the territory through the financing of interventions for technological innovation.

Digitalisation and Quality for Italian Cinemas - interview with Angelo D’Alessio (SMPTE)

At first of January 2012, there were 1,485 digital screens in Italy with a rate of penetration of around 39% of total screens.
Whilst remaining below the European average (52% of total screens are now equipped with digital technology) the process is advancing in Italy. We discuss this with Angelo D’Alessio (SMPTE).

The number of digital screens in Italy has risen to 1,485, a growth of 62.8% compared to 1/1/2011. What is your first comment?

In terms of numbers, the data is positive.
However, must leave behind it the phase of "Doing things in a hurry" and enter the phase of "Doing things well".

What advice can you give Italian cinemas that are already digitalised or about to be, in order for the conversion to the new technology to respect "high quality" criteria?

In itself, no longer represents added value for audiences.
At this point D-Cinema screenings are perfectly normal and spectators do not go to the cinema for the digital technology.
Instead, we should try to understand the spectators’ demands for "Audio-Picture Experience" - which I call "APE" - and offer a satisfactory response.
How many cinemas have 7.1 sound diffusion, which is the minimum for an average level of sound experience?
How many screen DCP with 14fl brightness?
How many screen Stereoscopic DCP 3D with at least 5 fl brightness? When today a minimum of 8fl is demanded!
How many theatres project commercials with the same quality as the DCP of the film programmed, instead of using a low quality projector?

These are some of the crucial details that decide the quality of the "Audio-Picture experience". If we want to avoid spectators abandoning the big screen for home cinema or other forms of viewing, there is a single keyword: quality.

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All different, all digital
by Elisabetta Galeffi

This column 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.





Number of digital




No. of
3D screens

Supplier of 3D technology


Legend Cinema

Phnom Penh

Legend cinemas







Legend Cinema - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The face of Phnom Penh is changing rapidly. Only a few years ago the most modern buildings dated back to French rule in Indochina and reflected the architecture of the 'Fifties. Today modern skyscrapers soar towards the sky and new neighbourhoods are growing up on the outskirts of the city and on the far bank of the Mekong River, previously covered by a single interminable spread of huts inhabited by the poor.
Life in the city is also trying to catch up with Asian metropolises and since July 2011 the City Hall Center, the modern shopping mall at the heart of the Cambodian city, has been the home of the Cinema Legend, with three digital auditoriums in line with state-of-the-art standards, on the third and top floor. As in New York, Hong Kong and Rome, air conditioning, comfortable armchair seating and films screened in 3D: "Transformers 3: Dark in the Moon" was the first.
The Legend is not the City's only cinema but the others date back to the 'Fifties. In a country where recourse to illegal copies was and still is frequent, before the Legend rich Cambodians - the happy few - went to Bangkok or Singapore to see the premières of worldwide releases.
Of course not everyone can afford tickets at the Legend: 6 dollars are an enormous sum of money for the population of Cambodia (14 million), whose average annual pro-capita income is 600 dollars a year.
"X - Men first class", "Kung fu Panda 2", "Thor" and "Captain America" were screened for an average of 5 days each and the young people who could afford it immediately rushed to see them. In view of the fact that 45% of young Cambodians are under 18, the market for films of this type could be enormous.
However, the middle-class is only just starting to grow and if the world economic crisis does not slow down foreign investments in Cambodia, it will continue to do so in the next few years. The manufacturing sector, the main engine of growth, is feeling the first effects of the world's economic recession, though for the moment there are huge numbers of foreign factories on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, many of which have moved there from nearby China.
Amongst markets with a taste of the ancient past, full of goods and a thousand different professions, the City Hall Center and its cinema are nonetheless a novelty that encourage young Cambodians to gather in the international fast food restaurants that have arrived here for the first time and to visit the Legend's screens.
Not always is it possible to see the film, however. The people who come here want to demonstrate their economic means to the other spectators; mobile phones are always ringing during the screenings and the young people never stop talking: about their new clothes, where they ate the previous evening or where they are going when the film is over.

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News on digitalisation worldwide
By Francesca Mesiano

Support from MEDIA for the of Cinemas in Europe
By means of the MEDIA Programme the European Commission continues to support the shift to the new technology in Europe’s movie theatres. The call for proposals for the of cinemas - for which the application deadline is 31 July 2012 - has in fact been renewed with a budget of 2 million euros.
Among the conditions of eligibility - as for the previous call, which dates back to 2011 - special attention is paid to programming, which must include at least 50% of European films (with a minimum of 30% non-domestic European films).
The fund, which allocates up to 20,000 euros per screen, is destined to co-finance the indirect costs of , in which expenditure for the purchase of the projector and server are therefore not included.
The results of the 2011 call have been published by the European Commission: the total funds made available have served to finance 57 cinemas for a total of 2.5 million euros, or 500,000 euros more than were originally estimated.

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European circuits move towards complete digitalisation by the end of 2012
The process, started in 2011, that sees the leading European chains implementing schemes for total conversion to the new technology, continues in 2012.
Amongst the main players of total conversion in Italy are UCI and The Space Cinema.
A similar process has taken place in Spain, where Yelmo, the leading exhibition company, which counted 209 digital screens at the beginning of 2011, has now completed the process of installing digital projectors on all 403 of its screens. Cinesa, Kinepolis and Cinesur, again in Spain, follow in its footsteps.
The same can be said for Utopia, managing cinemas in Belelux and France, and for Zon Lusomundo in Portugal.
Amongst the large circuits that will complete the digital transition by the end of 2012 is SF Bio, the leading Swedish exhibition company with 25 cinemas and 244 screens. On 28 February 2012 the group signed an exclusive agreement with Barco for the digitalisation of the circuit, with the installation of DP2K and DP4K projectors.
In the United Kingdom the leading exhibition companies are already fully digitalised. As examples we might quote Vue, as well as Apollo (recently taken over by Vue) and Showcase, which have chosen Sony’s 4K digital technology.
Another large chain, City Screen, owners of Picturehouse Cinemas, with 20 sites, for a total of 58 screens already 100% digitalised, signed an agreement with Arts Alliance Media in January on maintenance and technical support services. The sites will also be equipped with Theatre Management Systems for managing digital content.
A recent project for full conversion also regards G1 Group, the independent Scottish company which, apart from bars, restaurants, clubs and hotels, also manages two cinemas: the Grosvenor Cinema in Glasgow and the Playhouse in Perth.
Thanks to the agreement concluded in April with Arts Alliance Media, both venues, with a total 9 screens, will be fully digitalised.

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Medusa with Arts Alliance Media
On 16 May 2012 inLondon a VPF agreement was signed between Arts Alliance Media (working through Microcinema in Italy) and Medusa Film, the leading Italian distributing company.Medusa agrees to provide digital content to Italian movie theatres in the AAM network and to help pay the costs of digitalising the cinemas by payment of VPF contributions.

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Chosen for Karlovy Vary "Vacuum" by Giorgio Cugno, ready for digital distribution
After its great success at the thirteenth European Film Festival of Lecce, where it won four awards, including the Special Jury Award and the FIPRESCI award, "Vacuum", the first full-length film by the Piedmontese director Giorgio Cugno, made on a budget reduced to the minimum (10 000 euros), is now ready for distribution in DCP format.
Whilst awaiting its market distribution, "Vacuum" will be presented on 5 July in the CzechRepublic at the 47th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival where it will take part as an Italian film in the competition for the Independent Camera Award.

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Total by the end of 2012
With 3,656 digital screens operating at 1 January 2012, France has now converted two thirds of its screens to the new technology, as opposed to only one third at the beginning of 2011, when there were 1,885 digital projectors in France.
In terms of digital screens, in 2012 France confirms her position as the leading market in Europe.
In addition, France’s percentage of the European total has grown, reaching 19.7% compared to January 2011 (18.2%).
The 2012 objective, however, is total of all France’s screens (5,464) as Éric Garandeau, President of the CNC, declared in an interview for La Tribune on 12 January, commenting on the new figures for the digital shift.
The increase in the number of digital screens in France is also due to the success of the public support scheme, the only one in Europe to be based on legislative measures (voted in September 2010) obliging French distributors to pay a fee contributing to the conversion costs sustained by the exhibitors.


Percentage of digital screens in different countries compared to total digital screens in Europe
(at 1 January 2012)




 Financing for digitalisation of cinematographic content. Recognition obtained from the European Commission
 The European Commission has established that French support for the of past cinematographic works is compatible with community regulations on state aid and also contributes to the promotion of culture.
Joaquín Almunia, Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner responsible for Competition, gave his support to "the use of digital technology for the conservation of old films for future generations, as I am convinced that this initiative will contribute towards promoting the wealth of Europe’s cinematographic heritage".
The project, which aims to make Europe’s heritage available to the widest possible public thanks to the use of the new technologies, will support the restoration and conservation of works of particular cultural interest. Full-length and short films produced up to1999 will benefit from this initiative, as well as the silent movies of the past.
The amount of aid - which comes to a total of 400 million euros in six years - will be established in each individual case, with special attention to works which have uncertain commercial prospects.
In a second phase, the owners of film catalogues will be asked to make the digitalized works available to the public.
Those who obtain the subsidy will have complete freedom in choosing the company to be responsible for the technical aspects of restoration and , independently of whether or not the country belongs to the European Union.

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The Academia de Cine is digital
Whilst keeping its old 35mm projector in operation, the Spanish Academia de Cine has installed a Barco digital projector in its 176-capacity theatre, with a GDC server and Xpand technology for 3D.
As well as screening films in digital format, the new technology will offer the Academia new ways of using the theatre, such as, for example, the organization of congresses, presentations or other types of events.
Installation was made possible by an agreement with the integrator Ymagis, which also provided a central server.
The first film to be screened in digital format, on 20 January, was the Chilean Violeta se fue a los cielos, by Andrés Wood, one of the four finalists competing for the 2012 Goya awards.
On 5 July next Elefante Blanco, the film by Pablo Trapero presented at the Cannes Festival, is on the programme.

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3D photographic exhibition at PICURT Festival 2012
The 2012 edition of the Mostra de Cinema de Muntaya PICURT will take place from Tuesday 26 to Saturday 30 June, hosted by the Cinemes Guiu in La Seu d’Urgell.
Amongst the fringe events is the inauguration on 25 June at 8 p.m. of the exhibition of stereoscopic photography Els Pirineus en profunditat, presented by Manel Rocher, Director of the PyrenMuseu.

For further information:

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United Kingdom

Molinare and Digital Distribution
Molinare, one of the leading UK companies to offer post-production services - amongst its over 200 films was The King’s Speech, winner of 4 Oscars in 2011 - has signed an agreement with Arts Alliance Media on digital distribution.
This will allow digital technology to accompany the film from its pre-production phase to its theatrical release.
The services offered include digital distribution in cinemas at a global level, even offering the possibility of satellite transmission to the servers.

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South Africa

Ster-Kinekor with AAM
On 19 June 2012 Ster-Kinekor, the leading South-African cinema chain, signed an agreement with Arts Alliance Media for the of its over 400 screens in 54 sites by the end of the next twelve months.
More announcements of this nature are expected from AAM, which is concluding in South Africa a series of VPF agreements with the Hollywood studios

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Wanda becomes the world’s leading exhibition company
The Chinese group Wanda has recently purchased the U.S. chain American Multi-Cinema (Amc), thus becoming the world’s largest exhibition company in terms of screen numbers.
The Chinese colossus, which not only manages cinemas but also luxury hotels and shops, operates 86 multiplexes in China, for a total of 730 screens. These have now been joined by AMC’s 356 multiplexes (in the United States and Canada) with over 5,000 screens, of which 2,336 are equipped with 3D digital technology and 128 with Imax systems.

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MEDIA Salles’ contacts and address

MEDIA Salles
Piazza Luigi di Savoia, 24 - 20124 Milano - Italy
Tel.: +39.02.6739781 - Fax: +39.02.6690410