Reg. Trib. Milano n. 418 del 02.07.2007 - Direttore responsabile: Elisabetta Brunella

International Edition No. 135 - year 11 - 31 December 2016
more than 15,000 subscribers

Cinema digitization in Europe - the latest statistics up to June 2016


This column hosts portraits of cinemas in Europe and the rest of the world which are quite different from one another but have in common the fact that they have all adopted digital projection.

No. of screens
No. of digital screens
Athens, GA

Ciné - Athens, GA
by Elisabetta Galeffi

Athens is a little town in Georgia with fewer than 120,000 inhabitants but over 35,000 students. They study at UGA, a highly prestigious academic institution. Its act of incorporation dates back to 1785 and is not only long-standing - compared, obviously, to the relatively young history of the United States - but also proves that Georgia was the first state to charter a state-supported university.
And so Athens lives thanks to its University: when the youngsters go home, the town empties. The library, concert hall, stadium, gym and museum are all part of the huge campus, whose grounds are the town's public gardens.
The cinema and cinema-going are also closely linked to this feature of Athens. One of the roads overlooked by UGA is the town's most elegant street: here, where the City Hall dominates the scene with its imposing white columns, rises the Ciné, right next to the National, the restaurant where Athens' high society eats out.
And it is an apéritif at the National that often starts the evening for cinemagoers. Women students from the sororities - a typically US institution with fairly strict rules and a rather old-fashioned view of social life - turn up at the Ciné elegantly dressed with their escorts. There they find a building which - built in the '40s as a showroom for the sale of Chrysler-Plymouth automobiles and subsequently adapted for other commercial uses - was converted into a cinema in 2007, and whose renovation made the most of its original industrial character.
But it is not only matters of etiquette and style that distinguish the Ciné from a "standard" movie theatre. What makes the difference in this two-screen theatre is its "philosophy", starting out from the programming. A broad and well thought-out choice of quality, contemporary films - the expression of different cultures, languages and countries - together with an interest in the all-time classics and in low-budget productions or those with local interest make the Ciné more similar to a European art-house cinema than a multiplex flying the stars and stripes. This "non-standard" programming is combined with close attention to the conditions in which films are presented to the public. From a technical point of view but not only. If, on the one hand, the Ciné has arranged its seating stadium-style, the legibility of subtitles is ensured in all parts of the cinema and the projection technology is the most advanced on the market, on the other hand the space is organized, so as to promote a communal experience both before and after the screening. As well as the two screens (equipped for both digital and 35mm projection), there are also a bar serving alcoholic drinks - not so common in US cinemas - and a versatile "Cinelab" that can be used for meetings, workshops, live shows, screenings and private events. The way human beings interact with one another - in films and in daily life - has always been a key interest of the Ciné's founder, Brigitta Hangartner, and the inspiration behind its style. Intriguing films and numerous opportunities for meetings and exchanges between film buffs: two good reasons for UGA students - an audience in special harmony with the multicultural approach of this art-house - to leave their campus and take part in the town's life.

(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)


The process of digitalization in cinemas, albeit with considerable differences from territory to territory, is reaching its final phase and the so-called "switch-off" for traditional film is almost complete. But which cinemas have not yet converted to the new technology? And why? This column has been opened to find answers to these questions, presenting portraits of cinemas in Europe that have not yet digitalized or that are still looking for a way to deal with the shift.

Vestone - Val Sabbia
by Elisabetta Brunella

No. of screens
Auditorium Comunale

"Close or renovate?" In the years of the digital conversion, a great many businesses and public institutions found themselves facing the dilemma. This is what also happened in Vestone, a town of 4,000 inhabitants in one of Lombardy's pre-Alpine valleys, Valsabbia, in the province of Brescia. "We chose to continue having a cinema, indeed, a multi-purpose space that can host live performances and other events of social and cultural interest, too," states Giovanni Zambelli, Mayor of Vestone, adding: "The theatre, which now seats 185 people and in the near future will seat over 250, has been renovated and, most importantly, equipped with a Sony 4K digital projector, thanks to a considerable investment covered by the Municipality and the Regional Authorities."

The monthly "billings", curated by a young film critic from Vestone, Nicola Cargnoni, are presented in a practical programme, complete with synopses, and also published on the social media. The programme includes Italian and foreign productions, ranging from fiction to documentaries to films for children and young people mainly screened in the afternoons. Not even the special initiatives generally associated with big-city cinemas are lacking: twice a month Vestone hosts a "meeting with the director". The most recent of them brought Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio to Alta Valsabbia. These two young directors accompanied "I ricordi del fiume" (River Memories), the documentary which, at the Venice Film Festival, presented stories and eye-witness accounts from Platz, Turin's great slum, which had sprung up on the banks of the Stura river and was recently pulled down.

Vestone's movie theatre, purposely dedicated to Mario Rigoni Stern, an honorary citizen of the town and a sensitive author of stories about the mountains, has once more allowed people living in the area not only to avoid a 20-kilometre drive to get to a cinema, but also to enjoy quality programming. "Zero-kilometre, i.e. locally available, quality cinema," concludes Giovanni Zambelli.

(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)


Adéla Beranová

I'm a lucky girl: I was given a perfect work opportunity nearly right after graduating. But let's start from the beginning. Media studies and Journalism turned to be my favorite subjects at the University as they gave me the possibility not only to explore the media market, but to learn a lot about PR and marketing as well. I started to work for the biggest national newspaper called MF Dnes, I wrote about HR problematics, but I became mostly interested in culture and especially in the cinema world. That's why I participated on many projects such as the international film festival Cinema Mundi, where I discovered the event cinema and started to be more interested in it.
Then I have become a marketing and PR manager of the cultural centre in Turnov, where I'm still working not only for the cinema, but also for the theatre and music department. That makes my job diverse and offers me a lot of opportunities to find connections between them.
Besides my regular job, I have cooperated with the association of cinema exhibitors on bringing the movie Alien to cinemas and, based on its success, I received an offer from Klaudia Elsässer, the head of Pannonia Entertainment, to become a marketing specialist in her company for the Czech market.
From September 2015 on, me and my colleague Adam Švancár have been working as agents of this dynamic agency and our goal is obvious. We don't want to be just a distributor. It is partly related to the type of contents we distribute: we mostly offer alternative contents such as operas, classical and rock music concerts, theatre performances, museums and exhibitions and also cult and some new movies to the cinemas. And with this, we have decided to bring the so called event-cinema to the Czech Republic. Meaning to offer not only the movie to the audience, but to include some other experiences as well.
I plan to use all my experiences to bring this nowadays not very well known trend to Czech cinemas, because it seems to be an efficient way to convince people to return to the cinemas.
We have already organized a couple of these events, we regularly invite special guests to our screenings and offer the audience not only the movie, but also a short seminar or a Q&A session with people connected to the topic. We have a special cinema screen in the center of Prague in the building of the National Library. But we do the distribution differently in each and every cinema in the Republic and the cinema managers are very enthusiastic to be supported in their own activities.
If someone is curious what kind of person I am, I would say I'm workaholic and to me this word doesn't have negative connotations. As my colleague Adam says, it is important to be able to find connections and opportunities where no one else can see them. But it also means that you can't ever stop thinking about your work. So even when I go out to make some photos on my digital or analogue SLR or during my sport activities that I like, new ideas can come. Traveling around the world brings me even more inspiration.
Someone could say that I am too young to have such opinions in my 24 years of age. But as I said in the beginning. I'm a lucky girl. I have met a great colleague Adam and recognized that we are a perfect couple to work for Klaudia from Pannonia Entertainment. And I find the cinema business so interesting, that I plan to give all my energy to it and stay in it for as long as I can.

(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)

MEDIA Salles
Piazza Luigi di Savoia, 24 - 20124 Milano - Italy
Tel.: +39.02.6739781 - Fax: +39.02.6690410