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

International Edition No. 210 - year 18 - 20 April 2023

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Dear Readers,

Elisabetta Brunella

we continue our journey through Europe’s green cinemas, devoting this issue to the first two sites in Denmark to become part of the map drawn up by MEDIA Salles.

This tool makes it possible to discover in just one click the most significant experiments implemented by exhibitors who see sustainability as one of the factors for relaunching cinema-going.

Elisabetta Brunella
Secretary General of MEDIA Salles


Green cinemas in Denmark: best experiences, information tools for cinema exhibitors

Denmark's first Gold-certified cinema: the architects explain

On the last building plot in the prestigious Nordhavn in Copenhagen, Arkitema has designed the eye-catching cinema BIG BIO, which is Denmark's first sustainable cinema. The vision was to create a cultural building that adds something extraordinary to the Århusgade area in Copenhagen's new city district Nordhavn and at the same time contributes to strengthening the special identity that the district already possesses.

Therefore we chose a deep and intense red color for the façade that would match the other red/brown buildings in the area. At the same time, however, the building would still have a strong and individual presence. BIG BIO is situated next to an urban square and underlines the new urban area's desire to be a cultural gathering place too, with a large cinema as well as shops cafés, and restaurants.

A cinema demands large halls wrapped in darkness. With a single and convincing touch, we have created a building where perforated façade cladding with pleated folds brings memories of the classic stage curtain as we know it from the very first cinemas. At the same time, the wavy outline and perforation of the building ensure a visual experience where light and shadows create unimaginable patterns during the day. Behind this curtain, the big screens will provide film-loving moviegoers with cinematic experiences in years to come.

The building is designed with a focus on sustainability, which is the main reason for both the façade made in aluminum and the structural design, which will make it easy to transform the building to new uses in the future. The ground floor and the top floor of the building do not have any load-bearing or reinforcing walls, which makes it easy to move and set up new walls. Moreover, the shell is designed for live loads corresponding to the level used for stadium stands.

Therefore, it is easy to change the use of all stories to literally anything – music events, exhibitions, sports events, or small-scale businesses. The building is constructed from materials that are free of unwanted chemicals, are durable, and can be largely dismantled and recycled when the building is one day used for something else, renovated or demolished.

Greener cinemas for a more sustainable future
by Elisabetta Brunella

By reducing their carbon footprint, cinemas can contribute to mitigating climate change.

MEDIA Salles has been working for some years to investigate what movie theaters have been doing to decarbonize the cinema sector. The main actions aimed at limiting the cinema’s impact on the environment involve: reduction in consumption of power and water, sustainability of food and drinks, waste management (those actions require the involvement of the staff and the spectators), good and efficient communication.

In 2017 the Icelandic exhibition company Sena inaugurated a 100% laser cinema, with the intention of reducing power consumption and maintenance costs. Similarly, the Odeon cinema in Florence, Italy gets electrical power from renewable sources only.

In the United Kingdom the movie theater Depot is an example of how the cinema building can reduce its carbon footprint starting from the installation of solar panels and a geothermal heat pump.

Some cinema chains, such as Kinepolis, have already installed new technologies to optimize the use of air conditioning; Curzon has instead introduced some measuring devices to check which objectives have been attained in the reduction of carbon footprint.

Two Dutch cinemas, Het ketelhuis in Amsterdam e and Cinecitta in Tilburg, have shown how an authentic circular economy can be set up, for instance by offering vegetarian dishes, like cricket and seaweed burgers.

Spectators, too, play an important role in the process towards sustainability, transport and waste management. Some German chains, such as Cineplex, offer recharging stations for electric cars and bicycles. This aims to encourage spectators to use these sustainable means of transport.

As for waste management, new measures have been adopted by some cinemas in order to solve the problem of single-use plastic cups: for example, Cinema Lux in Massagno, Switzerland, has turned to reusable cups, while other companies have started to offer cinemas compostable food and drink containers.

Cinecittà in Nürnberg, Germany, takes part in the ‘Recup, rebowl initiative’ which encourages clients to return their cups to one of the over 12,000 locations in the country.

Cinemas of the future will not only be greener, but will also be forerunners of changes in lifestyle.


Cinema buffs should go to Gela
by Elisabetta Galeffi

I wake up at Noto and to get to Gela, I travel down a sunny and today solitary road.

I cross a countryside with little dry walls, then a suburb like so many others, which seems to have sprung up haphazardly. A road sign tells me I’ve arrived in Gela.

I remember: the petrochemical hub, the giant that transformed the fate of this territory in the Seventies.

Historical Gela can be glimpsed from afar, from the top of a hill a little way off: it’s the capital of one of Sicily’s most important industrial and agricultural areas. Gela, from the name of its river, was founded by the Greeks in the VIIth century BC and was then called Lindioi. A resurrected town - this is exactly the right verb - many times over and under different names.

A scrap of Sicilian territory, perched above the sea, handed down time after time by famous colonizers: from the Greeks of Rodi to the Normans of Frederick II, from the Arabs to the inevitable Bourbons of Spain, a great history. Gela can’t just be what I see from the window of my Ford: a densely populated area where there are many young people and not many places for them to go.

At the centre of the old town stands the Hollywood multiplex: 4 auditoriums, excellent reviews on its Facebook page. People like everything about this cinema, not least the staff’s extremely pleasant manner. Tickets cost from 4 euros on a Tuesday to 9 euros on holidays. There is also a bar and fast food and events are organized as part of the highly appreciated presentations in the presence of directors and actors. The auditoriums are equipped with 3D projectors and comfortable armchair seats. It seems there is just one black spot users of Tripadvisor complain that it isn’t easy to park in the narrow streets nearby. Unfortunately, this is the only movie theatre for many kilometres in the area.

But cinema in Gela is also a dream: Pope Paul VI already wanted a film school here and a great priest, Don Franco Cavallo, humble and at the same time carismatic, and well-loved in this region, who passed away in 2006, tried to get the project off the ground. In the end, the project was launched in 2020, unfortunately coinciding with the start of the pandemic. And so the film school is still waiting to be assigned a location.

The Cinema Museum, instead, is a dream come true. After being evicted twice, first from the central Palazzo Pignatelli and then from a school, the Cinema Museum is the fruit of the great passion of Sicilians who believe in the cinema as a dream and a way of redeeming themselves, and now has its temporary venue in part of the house belonging to the director Giovanni Virgadaula, in via Rapisardi in the old town.

In its rooms it brings together remnants of the cinema of the past: movie cameras from the beginning of the 1900s, legendary film posters not to be found anywhere else, which come to these rooms in Gela as gifts from Sicilians and others, who know the address of this Wunderkammer. Virgadaula is a celebrity: assistant director to Fellini, he worked for a long time with the great Nanni Loy, loves silent films and has also made some black and white films. It was decided to dedicate the Museum to the famous and moving Sicilian actress Pina Menichelli, born in 1890.

But the story of Gela started far earlier, as did that of its vocation: Aeschilus, the Greek dramatist, considered the founder of tragedy and thus of theatrical performance, in short the great-grandfather of the seventh art, studied and has his tomb here.

This is another detail that cannot pass unobserved and regards the close bond between the town and the cinema - the most modern form of theatrical performance.

A good sign for Gela’s future as a cultural hub for young people, a future emerging from the anonymous dormitory neighbourhoods which fail to narrate the great history of the territory.

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Edito da: MEDIA Salles - Reg. Trib.
Milano n. 418 dello 02/07/2007
Direttore responsabile:
Elisabetta Brunella
Coordinamento redazionale:
Silvia Mancini
Chiara Bianchi
Raccolta dati ed elaborazioni statistiche: Paola Bensi, Silvia Mancini