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

International Edition No. 49 - year 4
20 October 2009


Welcome to the North!

The “DigiTraining Plus 2010”, the seventh edition of MEDIA Salles’ training course for European cinema professionals, is approaching. I am more than happy to announce that it will take place from 17 to 21 February 2010 in Helsinki, Finland.

I have participated in each of the previous editions of the “DigiTraining Plus”. As a personal opinion, I can say that MEDIA Salles does a remarkable job in training people in the exhibition business. The activities of MEDIA Salles are especially important for cinemas which do not have similarly well-established connections to equipment producers and colleagues around the world as bigger operators have. The best part of this training is the possibility to exchange experiences and to have inspiring discussions with participants from all over Europe.

Why Finland? Finland is one of the European countries where the Government has been actively trying to support the digitalisation of its cinemas. In recent years the Finns have realized that the biggest benefits of digitalisation lie in the fact that it may help us save the small and medium-sized cinemas in rural areas. Those cinemas need premieres and all the new activities that digitalisation may offer. All these benefits - and also the well-known threats - are under discussion at the “DigiTraining Plus”.

As the representative of the Finnish exhibitors and distributors as well as a member of the Executive Committee of MEDIA Salles I am very happy about the support to “DigiTraining Plus” course from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Film Foundation.

I warmly welcome all European exhibitors to the “DigiTraining Plus” 2010. I am sure that we will have productive and enjoyable training.

Tero Koistinen
CEO, The Finnish Chamber of Films
Member of the Executive Committee of MEDIA Salles


Giorgia Guarino, Attività Cinematografiche s.r.l.

I manage three single-screen cinemas in my home town of Sassari, in Sardinia, Italy. I can say that I have inherited my passion for cinema, which has been passed on to me by my father, together with my passion for this work, which he started as far back as 1960.
Since 2008 one of my cinemas, the Moderno, has been digitalized and in 2009 it was also equipped for screenings in 3D.
I think that it is very difficult to be a cinema exhibitor nowadays, in a market dominated as it is by the big multiplex circuits, but I believe that investing in new technology is an essential and important step: that’s why I have taken it with great enthusiasm.
In particular, I was struck by the potential for alternative content offered by the new equipment. The possibility of screening operas, concerts and so much more allows our cinemas to become poly-cultural centres, as well as to attract segments of the general public who would rarely visit our theatres otherwise. In fact, for over a year now, I have embarked on the OPERALCINEMA project - screening both live and recorded operas through the Microcinema circuit (an Italian distributor not only of content but also of digital equipment) - which has met with great consensus, both from audiences and from the critics.
Further satisfaction is coming thanks to 3D. This was inaugurated with Ice Age 3 and, as well as a 40% increase in spectators, I have had the pleasure of seeing audiences enthusiastic and content with the new product.
I must confess, however, that I am not at all satisfied with the way that the digitalization of exhibiting theatres in Italy has been managed. Whilst I understand the problems faced by our professional association, Anec, I find it absurd that we do not yet have a Virtual Print Fee system. This has meant that up to now my colleagues and I have had to shoulder the costs of the entire investment.
The unique feature of Italian cinema exhibition has always been the presence of many small businessmen who, like myself, have believed and invested in the cinema but I am of the opinion that, if something is not done soon to support us, we shall be obliged to succumb to the big multiplex circuits.

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MEDIA Salles announces
the 2010 edition of the training course for
European cinema exhibitors
“DigiTraining Plus: European Cinemas
Experiencing New Technologies”

When: 17 - 21 February 2010
Where: Helsinki, Finland
Main venue: Finnish Film Foundation Auditorium in Katajanokka, Helsinki

Participation fee: 750 €
Covering: tuition, teaching material, accommodation
and meals included in the programme
Scholarships: a limited number of scholarships will be provided.
Tuition fee for participants who will receive a scholarship: 550 €

Click here to download the application form

For more information please visit our website, at the page dedicated to the course

Dutch collective digitalization plan widely supported
Eveline Ferwerda MA

In the Netherlands, a serious lobby for a national digitalization plan to help the industry towards a fast digital transition has finally started.
The digitalization process in the Netherlands has experienced a slow start. Dutch exhibitors are reluctant to make the transition because of the lack of a viable business model to get a return on their investment. But now the tide seems to have changed mainly because the Dutch exhibitors’ organization (N.V.B.) has made digitalization of the Dutch cinema industry one of its priorities.
In the last couple of years there has been practically no involvement of the N.V.B. in the digitalization process. The opinion of the organization was that digitalization was a business decision that every cinema owner would have to make on his own. Since January 2009 however, the attitude of the N.V.B. has changed. Supporting and informing exhibitors in the challenges that lie ahead has become one of the pillars of the organization, driven by the belief that without adequate action a significant number of Dutch exhibitors would have trouble recouping the investment costs. Under this financial pressure a large number of cinemas, consisting mainly of smaller theaters and art cinemas, might disappear.
Inspired by the successful Digital Roadshows held in the UK earlier this year by the C.E.A. and the UK Film Council, the N.V.B. is organizing its own Digital Seminars to inform exhibitors objectively about the impact digitalization has on their cinema business. These seminars, held in October 2009, will clarify and illustrate different options for financing digital equipment.
But the involvement of the N.V.B. goes beyond spreading information about digital cinema. The N.V.B. has translated the German FFA model for the Dutch market. This model entails a collective transition for all Dutch cinemas with the financial contribution of exhibitors and distributors, combined with commercial and public funding. The Dutch version interacts with a pilot of the Dutch Media Hub. The ambition of the Dutch Media Hub program is to establish a strong media content hub in the Netherlands that can compete with London and Paris. A national digitized cinema network can help establish this ambition.
The plans proposed by the N.V.B are widely supported by the Dutch Film industry. Distributors, film producers and the Dutch Film Institute all agree that a fast national transition will benefit the Dutch film industry. Branch partners N.V.F. (film distributors) and N.V.S. (film producers) together with the N.V.B. have started talks with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Economic Affairs to find ground for public funding to back up this plan. If these talks succeed, Dutch cinemas will be able to make a coordinated transition to digital projection, securing the diverse offer of films and the future of all (including smaller) cinemas.

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To see the digital sites and screens situation in The Netherlands as at 1st January 2009, as published in the “European Cinema Yearbook” click here

All different, all digital
by Elisabetta Brunella

A new column beginning in this issue will host 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.







Projector’s type



No. of

of 3D technology


Astor Film Lounge





DCP 30 L





Astor Film Lounge: a Nest of Luxury in Berlin

The FilmPalast at 225 Ku’damm: ever since the ‘Fifties a prestigious address for cinema-going at the heart of West Berlin and one dear to cinema-lovers in Germany’s historical capital and to those attending the Berlinale. Since 21 December last, this “haut-lieu” of cinema in Germany has begun a new lease of life: its name has changed to Astor Film Lounge and it has become the country’s first “luxury” film theatre. The idea, inspired by examples in Great Britain and central-eastern Europe, comes from Joachim Flebbe, already a pioneer of the German multiplex phenomenon with the Cinemaxx brand name, who claims to have made his dream come true in Berlin: the ideal cinema. (Ideal but not unique: projects are already on the cards in other German cities).
This innovation hinges on technology, elegance and customer service. Which, at the Astor Film Lounge, have to be the best. This is why Flebbe places his odds on top quality projection systems – 35 mm, digital, with satellite connection for live events – and 3D, on a mildly vintage look with no concessions to the cold appearance of steel or the practicality of plastic, and on anything that might give the spectator the feeling of enjoying a very special experience. We are in a ‘boutique’ cinema: one theatre only, which has regained its theatrical atmosphere thanks to restoration, fabrics that are soft to the touch and muted colours, 225 seats in real leather each with a table where the delicacies offered by the cinema’s kitchen can be served. In the foyer, the privilege of a wardrobe and a bar where popcorn is not admitted but there is no lack of champagne. The programme combines the “must sees” of the moment with a range of “alternative content” concentrating on opera and ballets from the world’s most prestigious theatres, ranging from La Traviata to Swan Lake. A “chic” Saturday night at the cinema in the best seats costs 17 euros for entry, including a welcome drink (in a normal multiplex the price would be 8 or 9 euros without the drink). If the choice falls on opera, the price rises to 25/29 euros. For a taste of “finger food” – an excursion through “ethno-fusion” cuisine, starting with mozzarella and a froth of balsamic vinegar – a further 14 euros are to be reckoned. A couple of other details, if we don’t want to do without another exclusive service: hand the car keys over to a valet and forget parking problems (3 euros for the duration of the film). And if we enjoy the experience – like the Berlin people who have determined the success of the Astor Film Lounge – and want to impress our friends, on the next occasion we can even hire the cinema: the management will be happy to suggest a “tailor-made” programme including musical entertainment. Price available on demand.

The full version of this article was published in Italian in the “Giornale dello Spettacolo” no. 13, 3 July 2009.

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News on the development of digitalisation in the world
by Marcello Mazzucotelli

The Digital Cinema Revolution: what is Europe’s Strategy?
On 21 October 2009 in Rome the General Directorship for the Cinema at the Ministry of Cultural Affairs is organizing an international workshop on the process of digitalization in cinemas.
The initiative is promoted jointly with the European Commission and with the participation of the associations representing cinema exhibition.
By means of the workshop the Italian institutions responsible for the cinema demonstrate their commitment on the occasion of the public consultation on the digitalization of cinemas that has been launched by the European Union.

MEDIA Salles will present during the workshop its most recent statistics on cinema digitalization in Europe.

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Microcinema’s annual meeting in Venezia and the Digital Cinema Network
Saturday 5 September 2009, at the Hotel Excelsior in Venezia, during the 66th Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica, Microcinema held its traditional meeting, an occasion for producers, distributors and exhibitors to meet and to discuss the state-of-the-art and future perspectives of the industry in Italy, focusing on digital cinema.

Click the logo to visit the Microcinema website

Click here to see the list of cinemas belonging to the Microcinema Network in Italy, as at September 2009.

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Italy: More screens for the Digima Circuit
Digima has announced on its website the digitalisation of an historical theater, Odeon, in Florence (Tuscany, Italy), a cinema obtained from the very central Palazzo Strozzino, built in 1462, and the addition of 3 systems in the Le Giraffe complex in Paderno Dugnano (Lombardy, Italy), bringing to 5 the number of screens equipped for digital projection (4 of them are 3D enabled).

Click the logo to visit the Digima website

Click here to see the list of cinemas belonging to the Digima network in Italy, as at October 2009

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Kinoton’s New Portal for Online Assistance Opens for Business
At the end of August 2009 Kinoton, the German supplier of projectors for digital cinema, launched its portal My.Kinoton, thanks to which both end clients and service technicians can, after registration, access a wide variety of documents, technical information and extra details of the company’s products and of digital technology in general. For those who buy Kinoton products, the new portal will be an essential tool for installation, settings, maintenance and repair. The portal also makes it possible to register the ID certificate for each single digital projector and which is mandatory for unlocking encrypted D-Cinema content.

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At the San Sebastian Film Festival, too, 3D is in the Limelight
The Velodrome named after Antonio Elorza has been converted into an enormous 3D screen for the occasion of the city of San Sebastian’s festival in the Basque country of Spain, ready to host four stereoscopic screenings: the Spanish première of the animated film Battle for Terra, the 3D versions of Toy Story and The Nightmare Before Christmas, as well as the documentary Oceanworld.
Christie has provided the 2K-resolution digital projector, Xpand the 3D technology and Kelonik, a Spanish company, has dealt with the installation, programming and technical assistance for digital technology at the Festival.

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Nordic Digital Alliance announces the merger with IntelliNet
Nordic Digital Alliance, the Norwegian integrator that is part of the Arts Alliance Media group, a provider of services for digital cinema based in London and with installations throughout England, France, Spain, Holland, Denmark and - of course - Norway, announced a merger with IntelliNet, a provider of digital advertising for cinemas, at the end of August 2009. The objective is to provide exhibitors, distributors and advertising agencies throughout Scandinavia, and in the future throughout Europe, with end-to-end solutions that enable cinema exhibitors to receive and schedule pre-show ads, trailers and films on their digital projectors.

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MEDIA Programme: consultation on digital cinema launched
On 16 October – through DG INFSO – the European Commission launched a public consultation on opportunities and challenges for European cinema in the digital era.The purpose of the initiative is to gather information and views from all stakeholders in the process of digitalization, with the added aim of drawing up schemes to facilitate transition.
More information and the forms necessary for taking part in the consultation are available at the following address:

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MEDIA Salles’ contacts and address

MEDIA Salles
Piazza Luigi di Savoia, 24 - 20124 Milano - Italy
Tel.: +39.02.6739781 - Fax: +39.02.6690410
Sito web: