Milan, 7 April 2008 - opening of the 2008 African Film Festival

Not only U.S.A. and Europe: a growing desire in cinemas for films from the rest of the world

The MEDIA Salles Cinemamondo research: we present the results of the first phase, run in collaboration with the African Film Festival

The cinema as an important tool for different cultures to get to know one another: this is how it is seen by the almost 500 interviewees in the MEDIA Salles survey, who prefer the cinema to TV or DVDs. And in the past year as many as 70% of the respondents have, in fact, been to the cinema to see Asian, African and South American films.

The 2007 edition of the Festival of films from Africa, Asia and Latin America saw the initial phase of the research on cinema-going amongst foreigners living in Italy and on the importance that Italian spectators attribute to film-making outside Europe and the USA. The research is part of the “Cinemamondo” project, through which MEDIA Salles wishes to make an important contribution to Italians’ and foreigners’ mutual knowledge of their cultures and traditions, thanks also to the cinema workshops in upper secondary schools that have been run since 2007.

If the movie theatre appears to be the privileged meeting place for different cultures, television – thanks mainly to the satellite channels – is the medium that allows foreigners to maintain a link with their countries of origin. As many as 63% of the non-Italian adults interviewed (14% of the total) replied that they watched foreign television channels, as against 25.3% of Italian respondents. This is a trend that also seems to be confirmed by the young foreigners interviewed: 67.4% of them – in the 12 to 19 age range – have watched audiovisual products from their home countries on TV at least once.

It is certainly significant that this initial phase of the research took place at a festival like the African Film Festival, which has recently also opened its doors to Asia and Latin America and where almost all the respondents (96.7%) declared that they were decidedly interested in seeing more films from countries outside Europe and the USA. Here is a sign that international festivals can be, and at times are aware of being, a solid bridge between cultures.

For further information:

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MEDIA Salles, a project operating within the framework of the European Union's MEDIA Programme, with the support of the Italian Government, fosters theatrical distribution of European audiovisual products, both by high profile campaigns involving Europe's cinema exhibitors and by initiatives to raise the visibility of European productions with industry players and potential audiences, creating specialized information channels on a global scale. Thus the current initiatives from MEDIA Salles dovetail in a program with a triple focus – training, promotion and information – and maximum combined effect.