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

  International Edition No. 115 - year 10 - 4 March 2015

Special issue on the occasion of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival


Dear Readers,

the gathering at the Berlinale, that MEDIA Salles traditionally organises together with AG Kino and Cicae, has been the occasion to present edition no. 12 of the DigiTraining course that has just taken a new subtitle: "What do you do with digital now you've got it?" If on the one hand 2015 will be the year for completion of the digital roll-out, on the other it represents the beginning of a new phase, when cinema exhibition will be confronted with the replacement of the first projectors and to an increasing amount of new equipment and new services appearing on the scene: from HFR to laser technology, from immersive sound to dematerialized delivery.
Digitisation will bring new opportunities for cinema programming, especially in the field of added content, and for audience development, thanks to the integration with social media and mobile communications. During the five-day intensive course, that will take place at the end of August, a team of international trainers will tackle these burning issues, moving toward Central Europe: Prague and Bratislava will be the locations of the 2015 edition.
Looking forward to meeting you there,

Luigi Grispello,
President of MEDIA Salles


 Be curious, be critical!
You can't miss the next course!

application form - advance news

"DigiTraining Plus 2015:
What do you do with digital now
you've got it?"

26-30 August 2015 - Prague and Bratislava


by Elisabetta Brunella

The process of digitalization in cinemas, albeit with considerable differences from territory to territory, is reaching its final phase and the so-called "switch-off" for traditional film is almost complete. But which cinemas have not yet converted to the new technology? And why? This column has been opened to find answers to these questions, presenting portraits of cinemas in Europe that have not yet digitalized or that are still looking for a way to deal with the shift.


No. of screens
No. of digital screens
Balearic Islands - Spain

Up to 2004, when admissions were touching on 145 million spectators, thanks to a constant, more or less uninterrupted increase over several years, Spain was the envy of the whole of Europe.

Opening new cinemas and new screens seemed to be an infallible recipe for infinite growth. And, instead, it was "too good to last," as the saying goes.
Today Spain is back to the 1994 figures (fewer than 90 million admissions) and cinemas are closing. Even the new generation of complexes or those with an illustrious history.
This is why the ones that dare to move against the current, like the CineCiutat in Palma de Mallorca, are the ones that make headlines.
Here in the capital of the Balearic Islands - 400,000 inhabitants, a number increased by floods of tourists (the airport sees an annual passenger traffic of 22 million) - up until May 2012 there existed one of the famous Renoir cinemas, one of a quality chain with 7 complexes throughout Spain, including the Canaries. In 2012, the Renoir went bankrupt (closing because of the crisis, the increase in VAT on ticket prices, the impossibility of converting to digital). However, a spontaneous initiative by its audiences, with the slogan "Salvamos el Renoir", managed to set in motion 2.000 citizens of Palma who joined together, forming a non-profit association to help the cinema. "Our story is one of resistance," Pedro Barbadillo, President of the association, says proudly.
Not only have they managed to re-open the cinema, but also to purchase first a digital projector for the large auditorium (220 seats) and more recently another one. At least for the moment, the other two CineCiutat screens use Blue Ray and 35mm according to business agreements with the distributors.
The programme, which is based exclusively on original versions and a mixture of opera prima, European titles (36%) and arthouse movies, has been so successful over the past two years, that many towns and villages have now suggested CineCiutat re-opening local cinemas in the rest of the Island.
It is audiences that reward the courage to row against the current!

(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)

by Elisabetta Brunella

This 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.

Zoo Palast

No. of screens
No. of digital projectors
No. of 3D screens
Supplier of 3D technology
Zoo Palast
Christie, Nec
2K, 4K

It was the heart of the Berlinale when the Wall was still in place and the Festival was a window open to the world in a city attempting to escape from a situation of claustrophobia.
It remained so until 2000, the year of the "move" to Potsdamer Platz.
We Festival veterans have ties of affection to the Zoo Palast: with a touch of pride and melancholy we point out the façade surmounted by the large bear to the "youngsters", as well as the other "temples" of the Festival and the market when it was all held in the West. And we were very happy when, after a period of approximately three years devoted to radical restructuring work, the Zoo Palast, so laden with significance for the history of the cinema and history tout court, came back to life in splendid form.

Its restoration is one stage in the process of modernization going on in the area around Ku'damm, which has also regarded the Bikini, the market's historical headquarters, until the recent re-opening of Amerika Haus, once the US information centre in West Berlin, and now the site of a much visited exhibition centre devoted mainly to photography. The latter teams up with the Berlinale to host the "Close Up!" competition, which makes awards to young photo reporters who give a personal angle to their documentation of the Festival.

If the objective is to keep Ku'damm full of life, despite Berlin's post-Wall barycentre having moved east, the Zoo Palast is making a fine contribution. Its seven screens - seating 1,650 spectators - range from the historical Kino 1, the perfect location for premières and big events, with its 800 seats and gold curtain, to two film clubs seating forty and served by a private bar in surroundings that are just like a hospitable library.

The Zoo Palast relies not only on the attraction of a look reminiscent of the '50s and '60s, cleverly reinterpreted - leather armchair seating with leg room of 130 to 160 cm, a café, a lounge and cloakroom service - but also on technology. All the theatres are equipped with digital projectors: in the clubs the compact Nec model has been installed, elsewhere Christies. In the flagship theatre - the largest cinema auditorium in the German capital - there are actually two projectors with 4K resolution, the second operating for 3D projections.
Masterimage technology has also been installed in another 3 theatres, whilst back in Kino 1 spectators will find immersive sound provided by the 89 speakers of the Dolby Atmos System, as well as HFR projection.

It may no longer be the heart of the Berlinale, but the Zoo Palast, with around 200 screenings a week, continues to be a reference point for Berlin's cinemagoers, who demand the best of technology and customer services. All this is available at a ticket price ranging from 10.50 to 14 euros, for adults at a 2D screening.
Whoever wishes to let others experience these marvels, can give a "gift box", of which several versions are available, combining the ticket with varying types of refreshments, or rent a theatre for a birthday celebration, choosing the film à la carte.

(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)


Sonia de Beaufort
Vice President, Rising Alternative

In the world of opera, they often say that the die is cast early. This certainly has been true for me.

When I was 5, I fell into the world of classical music, into the world of Opera at 13, and in 2007, into the world of digital cinema and alternative content.
In kindergarten, my teacher proclaimed I had a musical gift. The conservatory director determined I would play violin. I had perfect pitch, a blessing and a curse (email me if you want to discuss the perfect pitch thing.) At 12, my music theory teacher told me I should sing, thinking of jazz and rock, which were his specialties. Shortly after, the Opera du Rhin in Strasbourg was auditioning for The Cunning Little Vixen, Janacek's opera. I got a part, discovered the Opera world and fell in love with it. I trained my voice to become an opera singer. In parallel I graduated with a degree in Italian. This was "just in case" as my parents would say. But my heart and passion was always with Opera. And I succeeded in being an opera soloist; I gave a lot of recitals as well, mainly of French music, and that lead me to record CDs for different labels.

Then my personal life took over my career. I was born in France, wanted to live in Italy, and moved to the US. In New York, I carried my passion for the Opera into a new dimension - the Cinema and I joined Emerging Pictures. After having spent so many years working on my own voice, my job was to watch as many productions as possible and listen to all the singers from around the world. An eye opening experience! There are not only amazing singers, but incredible directors and conductors thrilling audiences around the Globe. During my time at Emerging Pictures, while working on selecting productions to offer to digitalized cinemas, I also learned all the technical aspects of the business: DCPs, encrypted or not, KDMs, supplemental packages, satellites, subtitles format and sync … All this new and varied offering to the cinemas was possible thanks to digitalization. We introduced the concept of distribution of operas to the other great innovators in Digital Cinema like Arts Alliance with whom I compete today. Ha ha, I do not blame them, we are allies in building the overall worldwide audience.

With Giovanni Cozzi, I created Rising Alternative in 2010, to expand the distribution of our content, in a more thorough way, to the world. I've represented operas from Salzburg, Paris, San Francisco, Milan, Vienna, Barcelona, Bregenz, Munich, Madrid, Zurich, Valencia, Bologna, Torino, Parma, Taormina and many others. My watchword has always been: diversity. I love to offer world-class productions from as many different Opera Houses as possible. This is what art is all about: discovering, sharing and spreading the variety of interpretations, singers, directors, conductors.

Today I'm overseeing all sides of the company, from the financials, to strategy to marketing and operations. These are still early days for this channel of distribution. What lies ahead is very much what I focus on. And that provides all the excitement I need.

7 February 2015

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