MEDIA Salles training courses for European Cinema Exhibitors: "European Cinema Exhibition: A New Approach"

24-28 Settembre 2003


Milan, 29 September 2003

Yesterday, Sunday 28 September, saw the conclusion of the second of this year's editions of "European Cinema Exhibition: A New Approach", the training course for European exhibitors promoted by MEDIA Salles and organised in collaboration with ANEC - the Italian exhibitors' association, the European Film College and DB - the Danish exhibitors' association.
The course, which was held in Rome and began on 24 September, was attended by approximately 60 exhibitors from 16 European countries. It consisted of seminars led by professional operators and experts of different nationalities, presentations of successful experiences, debates and visits to different types of cinemas.
At the opening session Gianni Profita, Director General for the Cinema at the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, welcomed the participants, stressing the importance of projects for the promotion of European films and, in particular, initiatives aiming to increase co-operation between the various European countries. These are of special significance "at a time like the present, in which events that will have important consequences are taking place in the cinema market". Amongst the new developments, Profita mentioned the digital "revolution" and the benefits and risks that it seems to bring with it. Amongst the latter, the danger of piracy, which directly involves exhibitors. Walter Vacchino, President of ANEC and Vice President of MEDIA Salles, expressed his satisfaction with the initiative ("I like to think that the building of Europe also derives from meetings like these") and invited the participants to the Professional Days, which will open on 28 June 2004 in Genoa, the capital of culture. Talks also included an analysis of the opportunities arising from vertical integration of the European cinema market, led by Vittorio Testa of the LUISS University of Rome. According to Testa, "in order to obtain higher market shares, the European cinema market must first become more visible and promise sufficient audience interest to obtain more screens and more space inside multiplexes". At the same time, "protectionist logic" must be forgotten in favour of strengthening the "weak" link in the chain, i.e. the rationale and tools for distributing and promoting European films as a cultural product.
A theme to which a whole day of the course was devoted and which gave rise to lively debate was that of programming and promotion in cinemas during the summer, a season that has always been critical for theatres throughout Europe, although with significant differences. Amongst the positive experiences is the French "Fête du Cinéma" outlined by Eric Marti, from the U+Me agency, which organises the event on behalf of the French exhibitors' association (FNCF). Launched in 1985, the "Fête du Cinéma", in the "three-day" format that has been adopted since 1993, has weighed heavily over the past decade in favour of ticket sales, which have varied from 2,300,000 in '94 to 4,300,000 in '99.
Moreover, if it was initially the French Government's determination that promoted and supported the initiative, thanks to the success obtained, as from '94 the Ministry of Culture has entrusted the organisation of the entire campaign to the FNCF, which can count on an important economic contribution from sponsors (almost 600,000 euro from the two leading financers alone).
Laura Fumagalli, Marketing Manager of the Arcadia cinema in Melzo, and V.J. Maury, Director General of Palace Cinemas in Hungary, exchanged opinions on the two different development patterns of digital cinema: on the one hand the need to establish high standards of screening quality and, on the other, an open view of the numerous opportunities offered by digital projection, even allowing for some sacrifice as regards quality. Amongst these possibilities, visual music would represent the aspect with greatest potential for development at the moment.

For further information:
MEDIA Salles
Via Soperga, 2 - 20127 Milano
Tel.: +39.02.66984405
Fax:+39. 02.6691574

The exhibitors and the speakers participating to the training course "European Cinema Exhibition: A New Approach" promoted by MEDIA Salles - Rome (Italy), 24-28 September 2003.