From the opening remarks given by Michael Vickers at the MEDIA Salles seminar at Cinema Expo International, Amsterdam - 1997

... Our experiences have shown up many weaknesses in the distribution of European films across their natural borders. The problems differ from country to country, such as language barriers, reluctance to accept sub-titles or dubbing. But the main problem is – of course – a regular supply of strong product (but that is not just a European problem).
Many distribution companies are unable to cope with increases in dating of certain "foreign" titles. Many films receive acclaim at various festival screenings, but, apart from dates on the established "art" circuit, these films frequently do not find their way to many local cinemas – not because of lack of interest, but due to a lack of physical copies of the film.
All films, be they European, American or Chinese, normally have a limited theatrical shelf life. This may be due to other windows of opportunity for the producer or the "cashing in" on a festival or major city opening. Often when the small European film is dated there is a lack of publicity and promotional materials available.
Minimum standards of distribution needs must be established to enable the EU-backed films and cinemas to compete effectively with US-dominated product.
European films are successful – look how many are remade by Hollywood majors as pale imitations of the originals. However, the return on these imitations is 10x, 20x, 30x higher than the originals.
Europeans account for a large percentage of Hollywood talent in the technical and artistic fields. So we do know how to make successful movies.

Today’s seminar will expand on some of my themes:

Dr Wolff will be commenting on cross distribution of European films.

A case history comes from Kirsten Dalgaard, of the highly successful Grand Theatre Copenhagen, which both exhibits and distributes European product.

We will also hear from Timo Mänty of Finland’s distribution and exhibition company – FinnKino.

Rosella Gioffrè will open up the wonders of the Internet as a tool to aid both exhibition and distribution.

And MEDIA Salles' president Romano Fattorossi will be summing up our hopes and aspirations for the future.

The information super highway – the Internet – is a highly successful tool now being used to great effect by the Hollywood majors. Web site pages have become a major marketing tool.

MEDIA Salles recognized the potential of the Internet nearly three years ago and have used this information tool to build a database which, given the time and the resources, will be a one-stop site to find out all you need to know about European films.

Surf the Web to our site here at Cinema Expo...

... MEDIA Salles committees are panelled by commercial exhibitors, representing most of the major EU member countries. We are not trying to re-invent the wheel – but merely giving it a little oil for a longer, smoother and, hopefully, more profitable journey for European films around Europe ¼ and beyond.