Tomorrow, 25 February, the sixth edition of the course “DigiTraining Plus”, organized by MEDIA Salles with the support of the European Union and the Italian Government, opens in London. The initiative – the only one in the MEDIA Programme’s training offer to deal with digital technologies from the perspective of the cinemas – will be attended by professional players from 14 different countries.
“The objective of the course is to provide the tools and competences needed for dealing effectively with the transition from celluloid to digital screening,” says Jens Rykaer, President of MEDIA Salles, “a phenomenon that implies not only a technological revolution but also big challenges at a financial level and more in general in terms of theatre management and programming. The British market, where around one third of Europe’s digital screens operate, is an interesting laboratory, with experiences from which the course participants will be able to draw a wealth of knowledge to transfer to their own situations.”
The programme of the initiative, whose subtitle “European Cinemas Experiencing New Technologies” concentrates significantly on experience, includes a mixture of sessions on theory and visits in the field. The focus will be on both the programme for digitalization financed by the British Government and on the strategies adopted by private businesses. Amongst the speakers on the first day is Peter Buckingham, representing the UK Film Council, who will be presenting the aims and results of the first publicly-financed circuit of digital theatres – Digital Screen Network – with its over 200 screens, whilst one of the special events of the 2009 edition will be the Hull visit, to the first European multiplex to be equipped exclusively with digital projectors, opened at the end of 2008 by the Vue chain.
At DigiTraining Plus 2009, the United Kingdom is in the limelight then, but there is also close attention to the signals reaching us from other parts of the world: a great deal of space will be given to both the model adopted by the United States to finance the digital transition which has already involved over 5,000 screens, with the aim of adding another 10,000 before long, despite the climate of economic instability, and the mixed public-private models, like the one launched by Norway. As for content, there will be an investigation of the innovative scenarios envisaged by digital, for instance developing the circulation of films made on a low-medium budget or those of local interest – important chances for the European cinema industry – or the new types of products on offer to audiences, from 3D films to alternative content, particularly in the field of visual music and live events.
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.