Annual Meeting of Euro Kids Network Members
Como, 16 and 17 October 1999

The annual meeting of exhibitors belonging to Euro Kids Network

The meeting was opened by Romano Fattorossi, President of MEDIA Salles, and by Elisabetta Brunella, Secretary General, who presented the circuit and outlined its plans for development over the next few years. Euro Kids Network is the initiative created by MEDIA Salles to consolidate and develop the "cinema at the cinema" offer for children and young people in Europe and to encourage contact between younger audiences and the European exhibiting theatres. The circuit supports and unites theatres committed to programming films for children and young people and/or for schools, with particular attention to audiovisual works of a European origin.

MEDIA Salles has established the objective of creating the audiences of tomorrow, of increasing the opportunities for children and youngsters to see European films, and of grasping the various aspects of Europe’s culture and identity, of supporting professional players and the exhibiting companies involved in the field, encouraging a wide and varied offer, and of encouraging relationships between institutions and the market, as well as between industry and society at a European level.

In 1999 the circuit has grown to include over 337 screens distributed over 16 European countries.

Now at its fourth edition, the annual meeting is an important occasion for exhibitors to meet and compare notes: some of the more significant experiences of belonging to the circuit are shared, in order to provide useful tools for activities offered by cinemas to younger audiences.

The meeting saw contributions from exhibitors from various different countries, such as Italy, Spain, Finland and the United Kingdom, on the issues relating to modern cinema, seen not only as an "industry" but also as a tool for educational initiative and as a meeting place.

Amongst the speakers, Silvio Luttazi, from the "Nuovo Teatro" cinema of Palombara Sabina (Rome), illustrated the "Schools Festival" initiative, organised in collaboration with AGISCUOLA and the schools in the District. By planning screenings for students from primary, middle and high schools and organising meetings with actors and directors, the festival not only places the cinema alongside more traditional tools of education, but also encourages experimentation in film-making, giving precedence to works by new directors and asking a jury of young spectators to decide on the director who best distinguishes her-/himself in the search for a new language of expression.

Jérome Sage, from the "Alcampo Multicines", "Alameda Multicines" and "Multicines Los Arcos" cinemas of Seville (Spain), presented the "El Aule de Cine" initiative which, in collaboration with schools, gives young people the chance of getting to know the history of the cinema and the different phases by which a film is made, with an approach to the particular nature of the language of the cinema, discovering its fictional side and the tricks of the trade.

Pentti Kejonen from the "Studio" cinema of Oulu (Finland) emphasised how collaboration with schools and the organisation of film festivals for young people could become a promotional strategy, creating a channel of information on films which would be an alternative to that offered by the television.

McIntyre, an English exhibitor from the "Metro" cinema in Derby (UK), presented the initiative for young people with hearing disabilities, which envisages two-monthly screenings accompanied by sign language, in collaboration with the school for the deaf in Derby and other, connected, groups.

The meeting of Euro Kid Network members proved extremely useful for the exhibitors, mainly because it gave them the chance of comparing their situation to others in Europe, exchanging ideas and opinions and finding partners for the creation of transnational projects, involving young people from different countries in Europe.

Seminar organised by MEDIA Salles and ECFA on the distribution of films for young people in Europe

"The distribution of films for young people" was the theme of the seminar organised by MEDIA Salles, in collaboration with the ECFA (European Children’s Film Association) on the afternoon of the 16 October 1999.

The desire to plan a series of films for young people in exhibiting theatres conflicts with the problem of locating such films on the market. Thanks to the presence of distributors, sales agents and people responsible for the organisation of film festivals for young people, the seminar aimed at creating better co-ordination between those dealing with the circulation of films for youngsters, a product too often neglected in the traditional dynamics of distribution.

The following people spoke:

Felix Vanginderhuysen, Secretary General of the ECFA and Film Distributor - Belgium
Dick De Jonge, Sales Agent - Holland
Reinhold Schoeffel, Film Distributor - Germany.
The meeting was chaired by Domenico Lucchini, President of the ECFA.

In order to provide an incentive and a support for activities and events on behalf of younger people, MEDIA Salles has set up a section on its own Internet site ( dedicated entirely to initiatives and films for young people: the part dedicated to educational activities, "Films and Media Education Initiatives - audiovisual learning tools" offers information on the activities that MEDIA Salles, or other organisations specifically addressed to younger audiences, provide for exhibitors and teachers, such as, for example, the list of Film Festivals for young people and the initiative "The School adopts a Cinema", promoted in Italy by the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with AGISCUOLA. MEDIA Salles contributes to the initiative by supplying on-line information relating to the exhibiting theatres and films involved, over its own web site, aiding and encouraging contact between schools and the cinema.

MEDIA Salles also provides a tool of information, the "European Cinema On-Line Database", which is an Internet catalogue of recently produced European films and their respective producers, distributors and exporters, as well as the exhibiting theatres that dedicate a part of their programming to European titles.

The database includes the "Euro Kids" section, elaborated in collaboration with the ECFA (European Children’s Film Association), dedicated to those films and companies that address younger audiences. For each film included in the Database, the title is shown in different languages, as well as the technical-artistic details and commercial data (such as the production company, the distributors, the foreign sales agent).

During the seminar, Luigi Codemo demonstrated how to access the "Euro Kids" section, once connected to the database, and how to find information on films for young people, from the synopsis or images to the production and distributing companies.

Presentation of the research study: "Features and Modes of Cinema-going in Europe - Young People and the Cinema"

On Sunday 17 October 1999 in the Sala Chaplin of Villa Olmo, Como, Paola Bensi, of the Catholic University of Milan, presented the research study "Features and Modes of Cinema-going in Europe - Young People and the Cinema", an up-to-date elaboration of figures and information that MEDIA Salles had collected in the theatres of the Euro Kids Network circuit throughout Europe, from audiences of young people up to the age of 25.

The study was started in 1996, the year in which the circuit was set up, with the intention of establishing the nature of cinema-going amongst young audiences, setting it in the broader context of leisure-time activities, in order to understand the real interest of young people for a quality product, closer to European cultural values.

The research shows that 68% of the almost six thousand young people from 12 different countries, who answered the questionnaire, declared that they would be interested in seeing more European films in the future. The young people who showed this interest are those who go to the cinema more frequently than others of the same age, who go with their schools and who are more careful and demanding in their choice of film. To them the cinema means culture and involvement, so much so that the feature of "cultural offer" - a book shop in the cinema or other cultural initiatives linked to the shows - is considered important. Moreover, those who would like to see more European films in the future are also those who are most interested in initiatives such as "Euro Kids Network", the circuit that supports and links theatres in 16 European countries committed to programming films for young people, reserving a special place for European productions.

This research is a continuation of the study carried out for the event "Europe Meets at the Cinema: a week for a century of European cinema", held in 1995, the results of which were published in the volume "L’esigenza di riposizionamento del servizio cinematografico in Europa", where the author, R. Nelli, analyses the communication strategy of exhibiting theatres in relation to the spectators’ expectations and the position of the cinema in the context of leisure-time activities.

Presentation of the "Euro Kids Network" award to the best European film for children and young people

The 17 October at Villa Olmo also saw the presentation of the "Euro Kids Network Award", which was given to the animated film "Lucky and Zorba", by Enzo D’Alò, produced by the Cecchi Gori Group, Tiger Cinematografica and Lanterna Magica, chosen from amongst the films for children and young people identified by exhibitors as being the most suitable for international circulation.

The award, presented for the first time, aims to draw the attention of the industry and of European institutions to the necessity for increasing and supporting the production and circulation of films destined for younger audiences.