An Italian exhibitor at CineEurope, in search of good ideas for the future of his cinema
Interview with Donato Cosmo, Cinema Gerardo Guerrieri, Matera

Why did you decide to take part in this year’s CineEurope?

Donato CosmoWith the aim of leaving the pandemic behind me, I came here in search of new developments. I’ve always been curious and understanding what lies just round the corner is important to ensure a future for the cinema. This is the attitude that inspired me from the start of the digital shift to take part in the training courses offered by MEDIA Salles in various European countries. And I’d also like to offer my audiences something new.

Who is your audience?

I might define it art house. Our spectators like quality films - and this is very stimulating for a programmer - whilst, on the other hand, they find it hard psychologically to get back to the cinema.
Unfortunately, the fact that in Italian theatres masks have remained mandatory even after the first of May, while this measure has been lifted in other places, has indirectly fuelled the idea that the cinema is not as safe compared, for instance, to a restaurant.

Many Italian cinemas lately have applied for access to the PNRR funds devolved for innovation and energy saving. Have you done so?

The cinema I manage in Matera was recently renovated, when the town was nominated the European cultural capital. The renovation work affected various aspects, more or less directly visible to the spectator. The armchair seats, for example, were replaced and the heating and air conditioning was overhauled.

And as regards projection?

Since 2009 we’ve been using a Christie digital projector that we’re still very satisfied with: it’s never caused us to miss a single day’s programming.
One regret is that this technological progress remains unnoticed by many spectators.
Very soon we expect to install a laser projector: let’s hope it’s appreciated!
Another regret is the stagnation in 3D. We are perfectly equipped with a system using active 3D glasses.
This means I have high hopes of the new version of Avatar and the arrival of Avatar 2.

What has been on your programme during these difficult times ?

We are very proud to have hosted the national première of "No time to die", a film shot partly here in Matera itself.
In our programming so-called “ added content” plays an important role and here this is largely of local interest.
For example a documentary, on Matera’s volleyball team which became champion of Italy in 1992, was screened as part of the celebrations organised by the Municipality for the thirtieth anniversary of the victory.
I might also mention “Sassiwood”, a comedy about Matera and its role in the cinema, or the Matera film festival, whose 2021 edition hosted D. Cronenberg.
The basic idea is to be at the service of the community and cooperate with local institutions, starting from the schools.

Have you already seen anything at the CineEurope Trade Show that’s caught your attention?

I’ve only just got here but I immediately noticed the "green" popcorn containers. I shall try and find out more: the sustainability of the theatre and its activities has now become an inevitable objective.