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

International Edition No. 176 - year 16 - 2 February 2021

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Dear Readers,Elisabetta Brunella
our previous issue was published on 28 December, the day after Vaccine Day. This was the day on which the European Union opened up a glimmer of hope for a return to "normal" life, of which cinema-going is part and parcel. As everyone knows and as we are told in such a masterly and original fashion by the writers we quote at the beginning of each DGT online informer.

The re-opening of cinemas is not happening as rapidly or as simultaneously in all countries but the fact that the world of cinema has never come to a halt is demonstrated by the commitment, the initiatives and the attention, always focused on the future, that we find in the most varied of situations and latitudes.
In this issue our journey through cinemas in the age of the pandemic takes us from the arthouse sector in Catalonia, which emphasises that the natural habitat for films is and remains the big screen, to India, the most "cinematographic" country in the world. Here the efforts of both large and small exhibition companies focus on restoring confidence and making audiences feel safe.

Happy reading,
Elisabetta Brunella
Secretary General of MEDIA Salles

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May 2021 be a much better year!

Cinemes Girona: nothing can equal a film on the big screen
by Angelica Riva

Despite being rocked by closures and restrictions (in Catalonia re-opening began on 7 January but there is a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Cinemes Gironaand seating capacity is limited to 50%), the Catalonian stronghold of quality cinema is holding out better than others against the terrible setback that the world’s movie theatres have experienced during the pandemic. ComScore, the consultants who manage the collection of box office data in Spanish cinemas, records a loss for Cinemes Girona of 55% compared to 2019, considerably lower than the average for the country’s other cinemas, estimated to be around 72%.

Cinemes Girona was opened in March 2010 in Barcelona, more precisely in the heart of the area bordering two neighbourhoods with strong personalities, Gràcia and the Eixample, and thanks to the renovation of one of the cities legendary 1950s and ‘60s cinemas, the Cine Moderno. The Girona’s three auditoriums can seat up to 637 spectators, to whom it offers Catalonian, European and international films, dubbed or subtitled in Catalan, 22 cinema festivals every year and the screening of films and audiovisual products for children and young people, always with an eye on new offers. Since its foundation, Cinemes Girona’s mission has followed precise guidelines, i.e. the safeguarding of diversity and championing of local talent. For this reason, one of its objectives is to place its odds on Catalonian cinema and/or on dubbing in this language, as happened, for example for the French film “Intocable, as well as on the pleasure of offering Asian and Latin-American productions, as well as ballet, opera and documentaries.

(To read more, click here)

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Focus on India
by Angelica Riva

After seven long months of closure, from April to October 2020, a second round of stoppages at the end of the annus horribilis and huge losses, cinemas in India have managed to re-open in most regions of the country*, as from mid-January 2021, with limits of 50% on seating capacity. In addition, the theatres have found themselves dealing with the absence of Hollywood and Bollywood productions, all of which have been postponed or even halted.

On the online SkyTG24 channel, Vanessa Vettorello, a photographer and expert on Indian cinema, tells us that the cinema in India is a matter of identity even more than culture: well-to-do, middle-class, Indian families love spending their leisure-time in the vast, luxurious theatres of the more famous multiplexes, whilst poorer people organise visits to the so-called "video parlours", i.e. spaces equipped with a large TV or projector, which may have remained active even in the darkest moments of the pandemic, despite the restrictions.

Although cinema-going plays an essential role in the lives of Indians and for many of them represents their top choice of leisure activities, a survey carried out (on a sample of 8,274 Indians) by LocalCircles on the occasion of the first re-opening in October 2020, revealed that only 7% of the population would be willing to re-enter a movie theatre. Only 3% replied ‘yes’ to the question "Now that multiplexes and theatres are open in many states and the remaining states will also open them soon, will you be going to watch a movie in the next 60 days?", stating that they would definitely want to return there, even if only films from the archives were screened. On the contrary, 4% of those interviewed would only go if new films were released, whilst the unsettling majority of 74% would avoid these venues completely. This very worrying percentage shows that most of the population of India remains sceptical about returning to the cinema, preferring caution to normality.

Partly on the basis of these figures, exhibitors responsible for the most famous Indian cinema chains are investing their greatest efforts in trying to regain their audiences’ trust and endeavouring to reduce the risk of infection and dispel their customers’ fears by all possible means.

This is why the big chains that operate in several states, such as PVR (India’s market leader), Cinépolis India (a business belonging to the Mexican group, second largest of the world’s exhibitors), Inox (pioneer in the use of clean energy), but also big local exhibitors like SVF, aim to make accessing and spending time in movie theatres as safe as possible, by constant sanification of the environment, adequate ventilation, checks on body temperature, distancing measures (occupying alternate seats), the obligation to wear nose and mouth masks and provision of single-use 3D glasses. Most importantly, they focus on reducing contact, from payment for tickets, to restaurant services for food and drinks, using menus with QR codes and packaging that has been UV sanitised (obviously cash and credit cards are allowed but will be sanitised).

(All the anti Covid-19 measures can be seen here:

But this is not all. The cinemas have also equipped themselves for programming private screenings on request, renting out a whole theatre for viewing films of all varieties, from English-language films to those in Hindi and from new productions to "classic" and cult titles.

To date, Indian cinemas are nonetheless amongst the few to have been open since the beginning of the year. Many have offered "Wonder Woman", which has only reached a few countries in Europe, and others have opted for programming a mixture of old and new titles.

In addition, the 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was organised and took place from 16 to 24 January 2021 in a mixed form combining live admissions and online viewing. Around 3,500 spectators took part, registering in advance for an average of 30 screenings a day.

*(those considered at low risk of contagion, i.e.: New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Kerala e Karnataka).

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Key figures



Click here to see the update of the map that offers in a glimpse the first comprehensive info about cinema-going during the pandemic, thanks to the collaboration of national and int'l bodies, institutions, companies and professionals from the various European countries.

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MEDIA Salles
Piazza Luigi di Savoia, 24 - 20124 Milano - Italy
Tel.: +39.02.6739781 - Fax: +39.02.67397860
Edito da: MEDIA Salles - Reg. Trib.
Milano n. 418 dello 02/07/2007
Direttore responsabile:
Elisabetta Brunella
Coordinamento redazionale:
Silvia Mancini
Redazione: Angelica Riva 
Raccolta dati ed elaborazioni statistiche: Paola Bensi, Silvia Mancini