Reg. Trib. Milano n. 418 del 02.07.2007
Direttore responsabile: Elisabetta Brunella
International Edition No. 77 - year 6 - 23 December 2011
this issue comes out on 23 December, the right
date to send our best wishes for the coming festivities and for
the new year that is about to begin.
But 23 December is also the date on which 50% of screens operating
in Europe have shifted to digital. The forecast based on an epidemiological
model, which we presented at the Cannes Festival, proves to be confirmed
– and indeed slightly anticipated. From the figures on digital
installations that we have collected over the past months, 18,500
digital projectors prove to have been installed in Europe at 23
December. This forecast and a wide range of statistical
data providing a snapshot of digitalisation in Europe have been
published in the new DiGiTalk, available on our website. We hope you will enjoy reading it. Elisabetta Brunella Secretary General of MEDIA Salles
its meeting on Saturday 10th December, the Executive Committee
has appointed Luigi Grispello President of MEDIA Salles, the Finnish
member Tero Koistinen as Vice President and the English member
Mike Vickers as Treasurer.
A new member, Ron Sterk, Director of NVB (Nederlandse Vereniging
Van Bioscoopexploitanten), the Dutch Exhibitors’ Association,
was also welcomed.
The meeting was held in Amsterdam, the city which will be hosting
the course “DigiTraining Plus: European Cinemas Experiencing
New Technologies” from 29 August to 2 September 2012. In
Amsterdam the MEDIA Salles committee members met representatives
of the Dutch partners for the course, including NVB and the EYE
Film Institute, to decide on the main content of the course’s
new edition – its ninth – which will be held at a
crucial point for digitalisation in Europe: in 2012 over 50% of
European cinemas will prove to be equipped with the new projection
Dutch way to full digitisation by Elisabetta Brunella
There are 253 cinemas for a total
750 screens operating in the Netherlands, a market that crossed
the 28-million-spectator threshold in 2010, doubling the results
of the early Nineties. To date almost three hundred auditoriums
– 296 to be precise - have switched to the new projection
technologies thanks to Cinema Digitaal. This is the tool designed
by Dutch distributors and exhibitors to allow all the country’s
screens access to a rapid and complete digital transition. The
aim is to succeed, by summer 2012, in digitalizing 510 screens
with widely varying characteristics – from arthouse single-screen
movie houses to urban multi-screen venues, from small circuits
to medium- and large-size chains. Cinema Digitaal, an organization
with formal non-profit status, was founded to bring together all
operators with the exception of three exhibition chains - Pathé,
Euroscoop and Utopolis – which had already set out independently
on the path to digital technology, the former signing a direct
agreement with the majors, while the other two making use of the
French integrator Ymagis in the role of intermediary.
up to date with building progress on the new EYE Film Institute
Headquarters, which will be the venue for DigiTraining 2012
ON DIGITALISATION WORLDWIDE by Francesca Mesiano
THE WORLD’S DIGITAL
“TIPPING POINT” Texas Instruments and DLP Cinema™ announced
last 7 December that over 50,000 screens worldwide are now equipped
with digital projection systems.
This means that at this point digital conversion has crossed the
watershed with over 50% of the world’s screens digitalized.
Complete conversion is foreseen for the end of 2015.
AMBROGINO D’ORO AWARD TO MILAN’S CINEMA
57, VIA SAVONA IS THE ADDRESS FOR FANS OF INDEPENDENT AND ART-HOUSE
THIS IS A THEATRE THAT DOES NOT SCREEN THROWAWAY FILMS –
ONE WEEK’S PROGRAMMING AND STRAIGHT ON TO A NEW FILM. INSTEAD
IT FOCUSES ON FILMS THAT TAKE
TIME TO BE DISCOVERED, PROBABLY RECOMMENDED BY WORD OF MOUTH,
AS HAPPENED WITH “LE VENT FAIT SON TOUR”
AND ABOVE ALL WITH THE “ROCKY HORRORPICTURE SHOW”, WHICH HAS RUN WITHOUT A
BREAK AT THE MEXICO FOR 30 YEARS.
THE DEUS EX MACHINA OF ALL THIS IS ANTONIO SANCASSANI, OWNER-MANAGER
OF THE CINEMA MEXICO.”
This was the motivation given,
when Milan’s Cinema Mexico received the City’s certificate
of Civic Merit during the ceremony for the 2011 “Ambrogini
The award, whose name is inspired by Saint Ambrose, patron saint
of Milan, represents a prestigious acknowledgement for Antonio
Sancassani’s Mexico to be proud of, recognizing its role
in Milanese cultural life, as a landmark for those who are fans
of quality and art-house cinema.
At the same time, it means acknowledgement for the Italian cinemas
in general: it is, in fact, the first time an Ambrogino d’Oro
has been awarded to a cinema.
THE FIRST NIGHT OF
THE SCALA AT THE CINEMA THANKS TO DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY
As every year, on 7 December, the day of Sant’Ambrogio (Saint
Ambrose), the Teatro alla Scala opened its opera season. This
time a performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, directed
by Daniel Baremboim, marked the inauguration.
Thanks to digital technology, the most important event in the
Milanese opera calendar was broadcast live, via satellite, to
150 Italian cinemas.
It is estimated that at least 35,000 spectators were present in
Italian film theatres. Also connected were 200 cinemas in Europe
and as many again in the USA.
CREATIVE EUROPE The European Commission’s new programme
for the cultural and creative sectors was announced on 23 November
2011, with a proposed budget of 1.8 billion euros for the period
2014-2020 (with an increase of 37% on current spending levels).
Built on the experience and success of the Culture and MEDIA Programmes,
which have supported the cultural and audiovisual sectors for
more than twenty years, the new programme will allocate about
900 million euros to support for the cinema and audiovisual sector.
DIGITALIZATION GROWS IN EUROPEAN
CIRCUITS Cinestar, leading German exhibition
chain, has signed an agreement whereby Arts Alliance Media becomes
the exclusive supplier of digital technology for complexes managed
by companies linked to Greater Union.
The agreement is financed by Amalgamated Holdings Limited (AHL),
the Australian company that controls Greater Union, and aims to
convert up to 450 screens over a two-year period.
Thanks to VPF agreements with AAM, AHL will see most of the initial
costs recovered through payments from distributors using digital
systems. AAM will manage the VPF agreements with the distributors
and also provide the theatre and library management systems at
the CineStar venues involved.
In November the Odeon
& UCI Cinemas group signed an agreement with Arts
Alliance Media (AAM) for the supply of theatre management systems
in Germany, Austria and Italy, covering a total of 65 sites and
Using private investments and direct contracts with all six of
the Hollywood majors, Odeon UCI
had already financed the digitalization through Digital Deployment
Associates Limited (DDAL).
On the basis of the DDAL contracts, the Group had already installed
digital systems on 475 screens on the three markets and will complete
the full conversion by mid-2012.
AGREEMENT BETWEEN FTT DIGITAL CINEMA
ITALIA AND NEC DISPLAY SOLUTIONS At the end of November an important agreement
was sealed between NEC Display Solutions and FTT Digital Cinema
Italia for distribution on the Italian market.
Film Ton Technik Hannsdieter Ruettgers GmbH (FTT) is a German
company affiliated to the XDC Group and present in many European
On the panorama of radical change brought about by the shift to
digital technology appearances have been made on the one hand
by NEC with its range of NC projectors (4 different DCI-approved
projectors, including a 4K model) and on the other by FTT with
sales, installation and maintenance services.
THE POLISH FILM INSTITUTE SUPPORTS
DIGITALISATION OF ARTHOUSE CINEMAS IN POLAND The Polish Film Institute, in collaboration
with the National Film Archive, supports Polish Digital Cinemas
Network, a program that came into being with the aim of assisting
Polish cinemas (in particular arthouse theatres) in their conversion
to digital technology.
The cinemas belonging to the Network (31 today) are equipped with
avantgarde digital projectors. Being also members of SKSiL Local
and Arthouse Cinema Network, their essential objective is to promote
C-KINO.PL WEBSITE LAUNCHED At the end of November c-kino.pl, a website
devoted to the Polish Digital Cinemas Network, was launched, to
provide information, available in Polish and English, on cinemas
belonging to the Network.
DIGITALISATION IN CHINA
The Beijing Film Company, a state enterprise operating in film
production, distribution and exhibition, with over 70 cinemas
in China, has signed a contract for the installation of four different
models of Barco digital projectors.
HONG KONG MOVES TOWARDS
Today, around 90% of Hong Kong’s screens have already shifted
to digital technology.
14 of the major Hong Kong distributors have signed a VPF agreement
with GDC Technology for digital distribution in cinemas.
The distributors, who include Broadway Circuit, Ma On Shan Classic
Cinema and UA Cinemas, will be paying the VPF in order to speed
up digital conversion in Hong Kong.
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.
of 3D technology
Cinema Teatro Pedretti, Morbegno
The opinion of a fond spectator
on her trusted local cinema by Francesca Mesiano
the word “cinema” anyone who has grown up in Valtellina
– a winter sports venue in the heart of the Alps, famous
above all for its mountains, which are the birthplace of ski champions
like Deborah Compagnoni and Giorgio Rocca – cannot fail
to call to mind immediately the Cinema Teatro Pedretti in
Morbegno, which conserves the discreet fascination of an almost
family place in our imagination. Personally. I grew up in the
Pedretti, from the interminable box-office queues for
Titanic at the age of 12, right up to the recent introduction
Its status as a local “institution” is well reflected
in practice both in its position, in Piazza Mattei – one
of the main, and certainly liveliest, squares in the centre of
Morbegno – and, above all, in the building, which in itself
represents a snippet of history. An ex-convent of the Capuchin
Fathers dating from 1600, it was requisitioned by Napoleon and
transformed into a military storehouse, then reduced to a timber
warehouse, subsequently falling to rack and ruin until the end
of the Eighteen hundreds.
In 1890, however, it gained new life as a building consecrated
to art, becoming a town theatre (Teatro Sociale) and
finally assuming its present form at the end of the last century,
thanks to Armando Pedretti.
The recent installation (dated August 2010) of the digital projection
equipment completes the story, representing a decisive encounter
with modernity and accompanying the Pedretti, the leading
film theatre in the province of Sondrio, towards the new and ever
more stimulating experience of digital cinema and 3D technology.
Roberto Gasperi, the Pedretti’s manager, proudly
shows me the “Biglietto d’Oro” (Golden ticket)*
awarded for the 2008/2009 single-screen category and talks with
enthusiasm about the new system, convinced that the future of
the cinema lies in digital technology and 3D and that it is essential,
even for a provincial cinema, to keep up-to-date with new developments
in order to offer its audiences the best possible service. Passing
from the building and its history to the actual experience of
a spectator at the Pedretti, we can stock up on popcorn
and soft drinks to enter the auditorium – a total of 424
seats, 224 in the stalls and 140 in the balconies – and
gain our spacious and comfortable armchair seats upholstered in
At this stage, after ads devoted to the widest range of business
enterprises in the area - accompanied each time by the same background
compilation – the lights are dimmed, then extinguished,
and we can enjoy the success of the moment on the new digital
Naturally, as we are in a provincial area, and since the cinema
only has one auditorium, some films are often not screened or
arrive here with some delay compared to their theatrical release
in the country’s cinemas, but the managers have come to
an effective compromise in their choice of programming between
the demands of marketing and personal taste. This means that especially
at times that are far from the “Christmas boom” –
during which the “cine-panettone” (Christmas-cake
cinema) film, whether domestic or foreign, of the year is regularly
offered and repeated, a pleasant variety of screenings can be
To sum up, thanks to its history and the care taken by its managers
to offer the tools of modern film exhibition, despite the local
dimension, the Cinema Teatro Pedretti continues to stand
as an important landmark for local culture, as well as being the
trusty local cinema for the town’s citizens.
*The Biglietto d’Oro
(Golden Ticket) is awarded each year by the Anec (the Italian
exhibitors’ association) to various categories of cinemas
monitored by Cinetel, which have recorded the highest number of
spectators in the past cinema season.
IN DIGITAL CINEMA Isabel García
ACEC (Area Catalana d’Exhibició Cinematogràfica)
have been working at ACEC (Area Catalana d’Exhibició
Cinematogràfica) since 1999. I am part of the team dedicated
to the programming of the screens belonging to the chain based
in Spain. I am also a member of the Intellectual Property Commission
of FECE. And I collaborate in the programming of FECINEMA, a Festival
that takes place in Manresa (Barcelona) annually.
My view on digital cinema is that
it is a reality and has reached a point of no return. Now that
the step has been taken, we should focus on the many advantages,
leaving behind the small disadvantages that we must accept.
We cannot deny that the Cinema Industry
is a sector that has stayed loyal to its principles for too long
when compared to other sectors. This is why many are afraid of
the digital world. We are all aware of the issue of expiry dates.
Technology is already obsolete the minute it is installed.
I must also add that in the crisis
the sector is experiencing, due to several specific threats and
the state of world affairs in general, the expenditure required
is a worrying factor. Not to mention the new actors that have
sprung up, the integrators. The latter have become a relief in
a way, yet created alarming dependence in another.
But, let’s focus on the advantages.
From the programming point of view, which is the side of the business
I know best, digitalization brings many advantages, which accompany
a change in the exhibitor’s mentality and obviously also
in the distributor’s.
First of all, the very easy access
to copies. The original promise of all cinemas with an integrator
having the desired copies makes no sense because this wouldn’t
change the business model but become a way to destroy it. However,
it is a fact that cheaper copies – nowadays the VPF increases
the price of the copy to the distributor - will make it possible
to reach more cinemas in the long run.
Above all, programming can be improved
when it comes down to versatility: the chance to have more than
one film loaded in different versions; the alternative content
that provides advantages; a diversified offer of events that not
only enriches the programming but can get rid of the many dead
times in the cinema; the chance to provide double programming,
rediscovering old versions (the role of the marketing department
is also very important when it comes to creating exceptional events).
It is a good time to recover the copyrights of many old titles,
which can find their place with not too expensive copies and,
especially, be offered in good condition.
Obviously, advantages do not come
only from the programming side. The advantages in logistics and
the quality of the copies is another fact that deserves attention:
A hard disc with KDM is infinitely
more operational than the old 35mm copies, not to mention coming
improvements like the smart jog that will enhance it even more
in the future. Moreover, the intangibility of the product is also
a reality and it also makes us much more dependent on technical
support that is not physically available in the cinema. However,
this service is taking gigantic steps forward.
There is also the image quality,
even though it cannot be immediately appreciated by the viewer,
where it will be made clear in the long run that the quality offered
is far superior.
However, I insist this has to be
a team effort between owners of the screens and distributors.
I believe that although digitalization means a substantial improvement
in the quality of the services offered and is a necessary step
to be taken by the sector, we cannot forget that our main worry
will still be to have the audience that appreciates the social
value of cinema-going.
I have a degree in Law and another one in Art History (Universitat
de Barcelona). Erasmus in Montpellier (Université Paul
Valéry). I hold a postgraduate degree in Management of
Cultural Institutions, Companies and Platforms (Universitat Pompeu
Fabra). I also followed the specialisation modules in Intellectual
Property, Audiovisual Law and Concurrence Defense and Unfair Competition
organised by ESADE University.