Rita Stella,
Cinema Exhibitor
Apollo Spazio Cinema
Milan, Italy

In 2004 I took part in the first “DigiTraining Plus” at Kuurne. Partly as a consequence of this experience, when we started out to restructure the old Apollo cinema (1,200 seats right in the centre of Milan) with my partner Lionello Cerri, in 2004, we aimed to create a place that was technologically in the avant-garde.
Today it is called Apollo Spazio Cinema and has 5 screens, for a total of around 900 seats. The 5 projecting booths are each fitted with 2 traditional Cinemeccanica Victoria 5 projectors and with video projectors. In the Sala Fedra, the Cinemeccanica digital CMC-D2, using Barco technology, has also been installed.
The new, multi-screen complex was inaugurated on 12 March 2005. In our first year we screened 6 films in digital. In 2006, unfortunately, there were far fewer titles available, perhaps because of the big problems over getting servers to conform to the new specifications.
We have noticed that digital still represents an element of novelty and curiosity for audiences, who appreciate the visual quality. For us exhibitors, instead, it constitutes an element in our favour when negotiating with distributors, as well as being simpler to manage than traditional copies on film.
On the other hand we have to say that today, in Italy, putting in a digital 2K projector is definitely an investment mainly in terms of image, since a purely economic short-term analysis cannot yield any interesting results, especially because of the limited number of titles in this format. Certainly there is still a lot of work to be done to define a valid economic model for all parties involved in the market: today the weight of innovation is not fairly distributed amongst all those concerned.