Amsterdam on 29 June this year saw the launch of the third Focus
on Europe event, a promotional initiative on behalf of European cinema
created by MEDIA Salles, the Milan-based project which operates in the
framework of the European Union's MEDIA Programme, with the support of
the Italian Government.
The aim of Focus on Europe is to provide a showcase for recent European productions, raising their visibility with distributors and exhibitors on major world markets.
In Amsterdam, Focus on Europe placed forthcoming European titles on show to some 1,300 exhibitors and distributors from countries all over Europe who took part in the Cinema Expo International convention from 29 June to 2 July 1997.
Two screenings on 29 June, of the films La Tregua (The Truce) and Bean, were followed by trailers for over 40 features from a variety of countries, such as Devil's Island by Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Il Bagno Turco by Ozpetek Ferzan, Funny Games by Michael Haneke, The Cherry Pick by Arno Kranenborg. Interested visitors were able to pick up information at the MEDIA Salles stand on the titles on release in Europe over the next few months. An Internet link-up also allowed visitors to "explore" MEDIA Salles' European Cinema On-line Database, an information tool which provides details of over 1300 recently produced European films, and more than 2000 companies involved in distribution, world sales and theatrical exhibition of European titles. The Database is a key effort in MEDIA Salles' strategy in favour of improved dissemination of European product throughout the continent.
MEDIA Salles' testimonial guest for this third event of Focus on Europe was Maria Schneider. Proceedings began with a round table on European Cinema in the global market. This was the setting for a big screen presentation of the European Cinema On-line Database by Rosella Gioffré, in charge of the project at MEDIA Salles. She was followed by Mike Vickers, the Association's vice-president, who contextualised the Database in the overall framework of the MEDIA Salles ventures which answer the need for marketing strategies, increased visibility and a competitive edge for European product. Joachim Ph. Wolff, president of UNIC, took MEDIA Salles' European Cinema Yearbook as the starting point for an overview of current patterns of distribution for European cinema on its home continent, while Kirsten Dalgaard, exhibitor and distributor in Copenhagen, and Timo Mänty, president of FinnKino, a company with diversified interests throughout Finland's cinema industry, illustrated strategies which have been successfully adopted for European product on the supply side. The round table also provided a suitable occasion for MEDIA Salles' president Romano Fattorossi to announce the formation of a Committee of Honour for MEDIA Salles; among the personalities who have already accepted the Association's invitation are Gillo Pontecorvo, Margarethe von Trotta, Krzysztof Zanussi, Theo Angelopoulos and Maria Schneider, who join together in lending their moral support to MEDIA Salles' initiatives to promote "cinema at the cinema" and the dissemination of European films.
The central role played by the cinema theatre has always been a chief focus of MEDIA Salles' activity. This characteristic was underscored by the creation of a prize for innovation in cinema exhibition. The first ever award was presented on 30 June, during Focus on Europe in Amsterdam, to Piero Fumagalli in recognition of his Arcadia multiplex, recently inaugurated in Melzo, Italy.