Reg. Trib. Milano n. 418 del 02.07.2007

  International Edition No. 26 - year 2 - 21 December 2007


Dear readers,

I’m particularly glad to announce the 2008 DigiTraining Plus, now approaching its fifth edition, which moves from Belgium to Great Britain.
A new venue and a new subtitle for the course on digital technologies for cinemas, which MEDIA Salles has been organizing every year since 2004 – in 2008 the name of the initiative is “European Cinemas Experiencing New Technologies” – but a constant aim: to give exhibitors the tools for understanding the risks and opportunities of a phenomenon arising out of the substitution of projection techniques but with far wider implications.
As stressed by its new name, in 2008 (the dates are 9-13 April) the course will place the emphasis on “experiences”: this is another reason for choosing Great Britain, which can be considered an authentic workshop of both public and private initiatives in the field of digital technologies.
Here, for example, 244 out of the total 694 digital screens operating in Europe at the end of June this year are to be found, making The United Kingdom the second world market for digital cinema after the United States. Another characteristic of Great Britain is the significant number of titles available in digital format. New films, both made in the USA and from Europe and the rest of the world – thanks also to the UK Film Council which has financed the installation of digital projectors in order to diversify the offer – and films from the archives, due to work by specialized distributors who place their odds on the new appeal that digital can bring to classics like Casablanca.
The MEDIA Salles course which, thanks to support from the MEDIA Programme and the Italian Government, has been conceived to be accessible also to exhibitors from small and medium-sized companies, will offer an overview of technology, business models and forms of public intervention, focusing on accounts by the key players of the digital transition worldwide and on visits to significant sites.
The objective: to help exhibitors answer the questions that the prospect of digital cinema brings with it and equip themselves with the necessary competences for taking informed decisions on their companies’ future strategies.
I trust, that this edition of the MEDIA Salles course may contribute, as emphasized by participants at the previous training sessions, to the development of a sector of European exhibition that is increasingly competitive and closer to spectators’ demands and, at the same time, I wish you all a happy festive season and a peaceful 2008.
Jens Rykaer,
President of MEDIA Salles

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The Turin Film Festival has faith in Digital
by Giovanna Arrighi

For years in festivals and conferences around the world there has been talk of the possibilities of digital technology for the future of the cinema: the new formats, the new supports, the new media, and how they may influence the survival or demise of the seventh art.
Whilst there have been dark forecasts as to the imminent disappearance of this illustrious and over 100-year-old expression of human imagination from many quarters, from the vantage point of the 25th Turin Film Festival this prospect is, to say the least, reversed.
Not only does the cinema enjoy splendid health today, but technological innovations only seem to help it along. Of course, most f the works on the programme are still presented on an analogical support but already a certain number of films in digital or semi-digital format are present.
A glance through the programme shows that there are around twenty-five full-length or medium-length films, as well as a dozen or so shorts in DigiBeta format and ten works entirely in HD.
This may seem to be a small number, compared to the classic 35 and 16mm formats, and they cannot yet be projected in all the Festival theatres but they certainly represent a beginning.
Moreover, this is already the third year that it has been possible to project films in high definition – as confirmed by Luca Andreotti, responsible for programming and film-finding – even though the only screens equipped for digital projection are those of the Multisala Cinema Massimo, which is an integral part of the Film Museum. “Of course,” continues Andreotti, “we also have a satellite connection but films still arrive on a material support. It would also be possible for us to organize a whole series of decentralized screenings starting from here, if the other theatres had digital booths, like ours. For now, the problem is linked to the high costs of this equipment, which limits widespread diffusion.”

(Click here to read the whole article)
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Season's Greetings

MEDIA Salles presents
DigiTraining Plus 2008:
European Cinemas Experiencing New Technologies

London (Great Britain, 9-13 April 2008)

Main topics:
- The present state of the European and international market
for digital screening
- Overview of technologies
- Exhibition and Distribution
- Digital cinema economics
- Market potential

The course will also offer:
- visit to a cinema equipped with digital projector
- European case studies

Deadline for application: 3 March 2008
Fee: 550 Euro covering tuition, teaching material, accommodation.
Scholarships available on request.

The new edition of the European Cinema Yearbook publishes the freshest data on digital cinemas worldwide

The world’s digital screens are now over the 4,000 mark, whilst the growth of multiplexes in Europe slows down, following a 2006 that totalled 999 million European spectators (+4.6% compared to 2005).
These are the main results emerging from the sixteenth edition of the European Cinema Yearbook, published by MEDIA Salles, presented on 18 October 2007, in Rome, during the Eurovisioni session at the Italian Parliament, in Rome.
In June 2006 there were 1,354 digital screens throughout the world equipped with DLP CinemaTM technology. Now - at 30 June 2007 - MEDIA Salles “photographs” a figure that has more than tripled: 4,205 with an increase over 12 months that is nearing 211%.
North America’s leap forward is confirmed, claiming 76% of the world’s stock of digital screens, with 3,106 units.

(Click here to read the whole article)

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News from Poland

Silver Screen in the avant-garde of digital projection

Three digital projectors have been installed in the Silver Screen complexes in Warsaw and Lodz. Two are Christie 2K, with Doremi servers, also fitted with 3D technology by NuVision: Beowulf is the first film to be offered in this format in both cities.
The third digital projector, installed in the Warsaw cinema, is a 4K (SRX 220).

Robert Bajkowski, Silver Screen’s chief projectionist, says: “The Christie projectors and the Doremi servers are very simple to use and create no problems for our projectionists. Our experience to date has been highly positive, so much so that we have been encouraged to plan other 2K installations, with 4K projectors for the bigger screens. Prospects regarding the availability of products are also bright, both as far as the majors are concerned and for Polish production companies, which are preparing to supply films in DCI compliant digital format.”

(To see some photos click here)

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Silvana Molino
Microcinema, Italy

Microcinema was founded in 1997 on the initiative of five founder partners and the technological support of the RAI research centre in Turin, to study and develop digital cinema in Italy. Today Microcinema is a reality that manages content for cinemas, in areas that are currently not “served” by premises and/or by products. It also offers new services through digital technology and bidirectional satellite transmission, such as: live events, remote systems control and maintenance, automatic invoicing of royalties by means of the ticketing system, and, most of all, it turns the cinema into something more flexible, usable / user-friendly, open and closer to the real needs of users (owners and public).

Silvana Molino was born in 1974 in Turin, to a couple of great parents and with the logistic support of two fantastic brothers. Today she is the chief financial officer and head of network relations for Microcinema.

Microcinema and Silvana came together in December 2003: a very cold winter and love at first sight!

From that moment on, the story has been a crescendo, starting from a single note and becoming a symphony, an aria, the sound of opera which, from Pordenone to Bari, crossed Italy on April 20th 2007 on the satellite connection that Microcinema had set up as the first Italian bidirectional digital cinemas network.

“Personally, I took up the challenge of demonstrating that digital cinema management is possible and economic if it is run as a network: digital projection is the only choice for small and medium exhibitors and it is the only chance for interesting independent content to circulate across the Europe and worldwide.
When I started studying the system, the market and the sector, I immediately realized that I was in front of an epoch-making change and it was my own personal challenge to find a way of making this magic come true: small exhibitors needed to solve the problem of the lack of films on celluloid and the high running costs. In this direction I handled the business planning, which starting out from the single cinema balance sheet, explored the possibilities of a functional and cost effective network solution.
And this is what was achieved. The business planning proceeded and allowed the company to find new partners, to gather the necessary funds and to set up a very involved and enthusiastic technical and management team. Today Microcinema is the practical demonstration that digital cinema is possible and that digital projection is cost effective.
As financial officer I’m sure that digital cinema via satellite needs networking as the first answer to its problems; I’m also sure that digital projection doesn’t need over-expensive 2K projectors but needs good content (that means good stories) entirely HD-projected in spaces that are well equipped not only with projection systems but also in terms of screens, seats and audio systems.
As head of network relations for the cinemas, I understand that the real concern of exhibitors is the flexibility of their investments and their premises - the possibility of increasing their catalogue by adding other content that is not strictly feature-film-related, like documentaries, concerts, opera, theatre, distance learning, conventions, stage sharing, screening of own productions.”

The challenge of my digital adventure grows with me day by day in two ways: as a woman in a predominantly male sector and as a manager in field that is innovative, difficult, interesting and full of possibilities. I think tomorrow my son will be able to say, “My mom trusted and worked hard for a revolution that today allows me to have this kind of cinema and this kind of content, and this kind of place near my home in which I can learn, dream and spend time with friends.”

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News from Italy

The Microcinema network and the live opera screenings

Live opera screening is a product that is proving to be particularly appreciated by the Italian public.
On 20 April 2007, live screening of the opening night of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata at the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, inaugurated full operations on the Microcinema circuit, which appears as the first Italian digital satellite network.
Based on an agreement with Acec, the association linking parish cinemas in Italy, Microcinema proposes members a kit, including a 7000 Ansi lumens DLP high definition (1.3K) projector, an hp XW8400 pc player and related software, a two-way satellite connection and a satellite connection for live reception.
Following the presentation of Tristan and Iseult at the Scala on 7 December, the Microcinema circuit is preparing to present a rich opera programme to start in January with Giacomo Puccini’s La Rondine from the La Fenice theatre in Venice. This will be followed in February by Gaetano Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda at the Teatro Alla Scala, in March, once again at the Scala, by Mediterranea, a ballet with music by Mozart, Ligeti and Da Palestrina and Giacomo Puccini’s Trittico. April will bring us Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma from the Teatro Comunale of Bologna. The calendar will close with Carmen by Georges Bizet, from the Teatro Comunale of Florence.

Further information on the Microcinema circuit appears in the “Women in Digital Cinema” column published in this issue.

(To visualize the cinemas belonging to the Microcinema circuit, click here)

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(to visit the Microcinema website click here)

3D digital screenings on the increase

Last summer, four Italian cinemas held 3D screenings of “Meet the Robinson”: Arcadia in Melzo, Cinecity in Limena (PD), Multiplex Le Befane in Rimini, Multiplex Giometti in Porto S. Elpidio (AP).

For Robert Zemeckis’ latest film “Beowulf” these cinemas have been joined by four more sites belonging to the Gruppo Furlan and the Gruppo Giometti: Cinecity in Trieste, Cinecity in Silea (TV), Cinecity in Pradamano (UD) and Multiplex Giometti in Fano (PU).

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3D digital screenings at the newly opened Arcadia multiplex

The new Arcadia multiplex, owned by the Fumagally family, was inaugurated on 18 December at Bellinzago Lombardo, in the outskirts of Milan. It offers ten technologically advanced screens. Three of them are equipped with Barco 2K digital projectors and Doremi servers. Thanks to the NuVision system they can offer 3D digital screenings.

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A Sim2/Digima alliance for the cinema and events screened high definition

Launched with the live screening of Simon Boccanegra in Bologna last November, the alliance between the Pordenone company, producers of projectors for high definition, and the cinemas belonging to the Digima circuit gained peak visibility with the live screening of Tristan and Iseult, the opera that opened the new season at the Milan Scala on 7 December.
Amongst the venues that offered Wagner’s masterpiece in high definition, was the Istituto dei Tumori of Milan.
Up to the present the agreement between the two companies has regarded the supply of Sim2 (1920x1080) projectors and Doremi servers, as well as training for technical staff.
(To visualize the list of Digima cinemas, click here)

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(to visit the Digima website click here)

New MEDIA Salles offices

On 30 June 2007 MEDIA Salles relocated its offices to the Milan headquarters of Agis, Italy’s entertainment industry association.
Our new address is:

MEDIA Salles
c/o Agis Lombarda
Piazza Luigi di Savoia, 24
I-20124 Milano

Tel. +39 02 6739781 Direct line +39 02 67397823
Fax +39 02 6690410

We inform our readers that the e-mail address is no longer active.
To communicate with MEDIA Salles,
please use the following e-mail address only: