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

International Edition No. 168 - year 15 - 21 August 2020

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Dear readers,

Prottias I write there is considerable concern that there may be a dangerous return of the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet we seemed to have put it behind us and had entered into the perspective of resuming cinema programming and giving a direction to film releases in the coming months. However, the wave of infection has not released its grip on the USA and Latin American countries, producing a weighty effect on the recovery we had considered possible in Europe. In addition, some places in Europe are now in the limelight due to a return of the virus. Over the past months, all of us operating in the cinema industry, though in different ways, have come up against the phenomenon of lockdown, which has affected not only the movie theatres but also film production. As a consequence, even if we were to resume work at full capacity, we would suffer from a lack of new products. During the lockdown period various initiatives arose for attempting to keep contact with audiences: for example forms of "collaboration" came into being between new local platforms and film theatres.
But the cinema as we love and experience it is what we see in our movie theatres: this is why re-openings are considered a sign of hope for the future, despite being accompanied by concern. In Italy recovery seems even more difficult, since it comes during the summer season, when it is traditionally hard to obtain new titles. This is why with re-opening - obviously heavily conditioned by anti-Covid measures - alternative offers have become highly developed, such as the outdoor summer theatres or the return of the drive-in or the invention of the "green" bike-in. But it is taking a lot of effort…we are all finding it hard to see signs of a recovery worthy of the name, with the spectre hovering over us of a further delay in the release of titles from the rest of the world, even from the big studios.
The release dates of Mulan and Tenet run the serious risk of being further postponed. A change of pace and policy is needed: on this scenario, if we wish to consider the future of our cinemas and our businesses, we must contemplate the European release of titles that have not been distributed on the North-American market and at the same time bring out the European films that are ready for release but have been blocked because of lockdown.
In order to survive, the cinema market needs products marked by diversification, both local and international. If we fail to start out again from these premises, European cinema exhibition runs the risk of finding itself in enormous difficulty. Let us hope, then, that - to start with - we are able to take control of the pandemic, and then that the experience of cinema together on the big screen will once more become part of our daily life.
Paolo Protti,
(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)


The Covid 19 pandemic has a had a strong impact on the cinema industry, deeply affecting and modifying the way of cinema consumption.

This issue of the DGT online informer is presenting an updated version of the map that shows:

  • The dates of the beginning and the end of the cinema lockdown.
    Please click on the turquoise button.
  • The opening or reopening of drive-in cinemas.
    Please click on the fuchsia button.


© copyright MEDIA Salles


This Newsletter is also hosting an article by Elisabetta Galeffi conveying the feelings of a movie buff during the lockdown and showing how some Italian exhibitors reacted to the Covid 19 crisis, as an example of the creativity and dynamism of this sector of the cinema industry.

Woody Allen or the Passion for Films (independent and at the movie theatre)
by Elisabetta Galeffi

One evening in a smart Manhattan restaurant between Fifth and Madison, I was introduced to Woody Allen.  A couple of minutes face to face with the myth.  It still seems a sort of vision to me.  I think I muttered, "Thank you," and gave a hint of a curtsy, whilst the owner of the place announced my insignificant name to the great director.
He stood opposite me without saying a word, politely putting up with the bother, which would soon be over.  He didn't even attempt a fake smile.
That doesn't matter and I forgive him: it was almost ten in the evening and he was there for supper after the theatre, probably dying to sit down to table with his wife and friends.  This must have been 15 years ago. 
He looked older than he was: a little man all skin and bones, anything but animated, in contrast to his smiling Korean wife who, on the other hand, seemed happy to make the acquaintance of the enthusiastic Italian girl.

(To read more, click here)
(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)

While investigating cinema-going in the time of the pandemic, MEDIA Salles is also offering a view on the other aspects of the cinema industry, thanks to the collaboration of other organizations and especially of the European Audiovisual Observatory that organized a very interesting  live expert chat at this year's Cannes Marché du Film online: you can watch the video here.



ADDED CONTENT: Experts' Corner

We have started this new column giving voice to the people who have already been working with added content for some time now, gaining first-hand experience in the field which we think is worth sharing internationally.

Erik Hamre, Founder of Entertainment Service, Content Distribution, Denmark

Erik Hamre can be considered a pioneer of added content for the big screen. MEDIA Salles has asked him to talk about his work to the readers of DGT online informer and help them gain a better understanding of the Danish market .
Alongside my long experience as an exhibitor (which came to an end in March this year), I began my work in the sector by founding Entertainment Service ApS twelve years ago and since then the market has continued to grow.

Denmark has 478 screens and around 165 exhibition companies. How many are clients of Entertainment Service? What is the most popular content? And the business conditions?

We work with around 80 companies, so more or less 50% of Danish exhibitors.
The content most in demand is certainly opera. André Rieu is a real bestseller: I represented his company - Piece of Magic - for ten years, up to 2019.
Rental fee is about 50%, more or less as for films. Still for our alternative content we have a minimum per capita rental fee of € 6.7 when on DCP and € 10 for satellite transmission.

After the period of crisis due to Covid, how do you see the market?

I think there are positive prospects here in Denmark: we want to play our part in contributing to development. We have published a very full catalogue for the 2020/2021 season. It includes 22 operas, 4 concerts, 3 ballets and a documentary. Together with recorded performances that make up the history of opera, produced by the Milan Scala, the Fenice in Venice or the Hamburg Staatsoper - just to quote a few - the spectators will also be able to enjoy performances staged just before lockdown, such as the "Fleetwood and Friends" concert held at the London Palladium on 25 February this year.
Amongst the four live events are the ballet "Notre Dame de Paris" performed at the Opéra Bastille and "Aida" at the Opéra de Paris.
It really is a rich programme, indeed the richest ever, proof of our confidence in the recovery of the market.

As well as offering a diversified catalogue, what do businesses like yours do to encourage the growth of added content?

Some of the producers of added content seem to have difficulties in the awareness of what kind of marketing and publicity material a cinema has to use to win an audience. Every year we have to educate both the producers and the agents to have these valuable tools ready when they offer the performances.

Do you believe in the potential of digital technologies for diversifying and enriching the offer on the big screen?

Of course; 3 years ago we started developing a theatrical game for the audience where they use their smartphones/tablets as a gameboard and there is a quiz master and all the figures roll onto the big screen. Between the games we have screen entertainment and this is meant to be an offer for both weekdays and weekend mornings or matinees.
The project is called BIO BANKO and was created with The Technical University of Denmark and the biggest ticket company. Both game and entertainment content are transferred via the internet, and when the cinemas have joined and agreed to the terms, all they have to do is to decide the number of games throughout the season and then go into the ticket system and make the reservations themselves. We deliver the games automatically and they can choose between 6 - 10 games per show. The people who buy the tickets decide if they want 6 or 10 gameboards.
I started working in the cinema as an exhibitor and I continue to think that films are the heart and soul of the cinema-going experience but, at the same time, I think the big screen can offer far more.

To see the full offer for the 2020/21 season, click here


Weerada Sucharitkul
CEO & Co-Founder
FilmDoo and FilmDoo.Academy

Weerada SucharitkulSomeone once asked me, what does women’s empowerment mean to you? I thought long and hard, then said "Know your worth and everything good in life will happen to you."

Because that's the story of my life and how I came to be the CEO & Co-founder of FilmDoo , a global edutainment platform that is today helping people around the world to teach and learn languages through films using our game-based technology ( Growing up, they told me, "You’re not pretty enough to work in film, you’re not smart enough to work in tech, you’re not driven enough to work in finance." Today, I run and manage an international team that operates across all three industries on a daily basis.

As a woman, especially an Asian woman by background, we are often expected to behave and talk in a certain way, to take on certain cultural and stereotyped roles, and to have different values and aspirations from men’s. Sometimes - intentionally or otherwise - male colleagues, friends and other counterparts may even come to perceive kindness as a weakness. That is the most difficult lesson I have had to learn - to take back control of your own voice, to know your boundaries and what you will or won’t accept as a value system in your life and how you run your business.

Ultimately, it takes strength and courage to believe in yourself. To do that, you need to draw on your passion as the source of motivation to keep going. For me, that passion is cinema. It is my love of cinema and the power of films that motivates me each day to look challenges and difficulties in the eye and to keep going, when they tell me that there is no path leading where I want to go.

Having grown up in 11 countries across 5 continents, cinema for me is the one true medium that has the power to connect people from around the world and to build bridges rather than walls. Through films, we learn about people from different cultures and backgrounds, we experience different languages and insights - and more importantly - it is through films that we come to appreciate that people different from us are actually not that different after all, and develop empathy and kindness for people from cultures and places we have not yet experienced.

This is the power of films, and this is what inspires me as a woman operating across both cinema and technology to rise against all the traditional prejudices and create an international platform that helps under-represented stories from around the world to get seen and heard. Knowing your worth will inspire you to attract people who will go on to help you build your vision, whether it is in cinema, in technology, or at the intersection of both.

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