"DigiTraining Plus: New Technologies for European Cinemas"
Kuurne, Belgium
31 March - 4 April 2004


Milan, 1st April 2004

"The greatest technological watershed since the invention of sound": this is how John Fithian, President of NATO (the American theatre owners' association) defined digital cinema in his talk today on the second day of the MEDIA Salles course "DigiTraining Plus: New Technologies for European Cinemas", now taking place in Kuurne, Belgium. Many topics were discussed during today's sessions, which voiced the expectations and doubts of European exhibitors with regard to digital cinema, through the representatives of the most important associations in the sector: Guy Morlion, Senior Vice President of UNIC and, for the art-house, Pierre Todeschini, President of CICAE.
In Morlion's opinion, digital cinema is in an interesting phase of development. Even with many uncertainties, a significant progress in the definition of standards and business models has been made.
Todeschini placed particular emphasis on the need to understand if, and to what extent, electronic and digital cinema is a help to art-house, which recognise as their main objective "to show and jointly discover as many good films as possible for as many spectators as possible and to spread our cinema heritage, to present experimental work and discover and support young directors".
During the afternoon plenty of room was left for describing real experiences: Rickard Gramfors of Folkets Hus och Parkers illustrated the project "Digitala Hus", born in Sweden at the end of 2002 with 7 theatres equipped for digital and electronic screenings and ready to add other 9 of them during 2004. The aim of the project is to allow even people living in small towns to have the same opportunities, in terms of choice of films and offer of events, which so far were limited only to those living in big cities. And the experience of this circuit have been fully documented in a publication entitled "Focus on electronic cinema", that Gramfors presented to the course participants. Compiled by the University of Göteborg as a collection of studies with an interdisciplinary approach (from ethnology to architecture, from economy to sociology), this is probably the first volume that a university devotes to a circuit of electronic cinemas.
Moreover, concerning alternative contents, the Docu-Zone project set up by the Dutch Filmfund have been presented and outlined by Kees Ryninks, Head of the Documentaries sector, and the experience of Euro1080, a European provider of alternative content for e-cinema, described by Rob de Vogel, Head of Project.
During the evening, at the Kinepolis of Kortrijk, the participants will have the opportunity to observe the potential of digital and electronic cinema at close quarters: after watching two excerpts from Brother Bear, one on film and one in digital format, they will experience one of the alternative content novelties from Kinepolis: a foretaste of the television serial made by VTM, the leading commercial Flemish TV channel in Belgium and inspired by the crime novels by the popular writer Pieter Aspe, with pre-screenings of the episodes in cinemas prior to their TV release.

For further information:
MEDIA Salles
Via Soperga, 2
I-20127 Milan
Tel.: +39.02.66984405 - Fax: +39.02.6691574
E-mail: infocinema@mediasalles.it