Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Europa Cinemas is proud to announce the winners of their annual Awards for 2016. The Europa Cinemas Awards have been celebrating the excellence of network cinemas since 2002, concentrating on awards for best programming and young audience activities, as well as a prize for the most entrepreneurial figure in the network.

The 2016 winners are:

Claude-Eric POIROUX, General Director, Europa Cinemas:

“The Europa Cinemas Awards are an annual opportunity to salute the exemplary work of network exhibitors and their teams, selected mainly on the objective statistics of their programming but also on an assessment of their dynamism and their ability to innovate in the digital world.

The award for best entrepreneur celebrates the rapid success of the Cinema Ideal in Lisbon, now a major cultural centre in the heart of the city, and the implicit trust that its director, Pedro Borges, placed in the cinema as the first place to discover films. Pedro is well known for his work as an art films distributor, but this opening, in a difficult economic context, is a brave and risk-taking choice and a statement of confidence.

With the award for best programming to Kino Europa in Zagreb, we are pleased to reward a cinema with excellent results. The Kino Europa devotes nearly three-quarters of its screenings to European cinema, and demonstrates undeniable success for a single screen (42,615 admissions for non-national European films). This award comes at the right time to salute the development of Croatian cinemas as well as a cinema exhibitor engaged in professional debates at a European level.

The award for Best Young Audience activities welcomes meanwhile the diversity and richness of the activities developed by the Moviemento and City Kino cinemas in Linz, which through film education programs, festivals and their rich programming of films, demonstrate a strong sense of initiative and welcome nearly 15,000 young viewers per year.”


ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR: Pedro Borges, Cinema Ideal – Lisbon, Portugal

Cinema Ideal is located in the centre of Lisbon, in the city's oldest and most popular district and the hub of the city's nightlife for the last 20 years. It has 192 seats with a balcony and stalls (balcão e plateia).

The cinema has been in existence since 1904 and was last renovated in 1954. It always operated as a local film theatre that showed reruns of popular films but in 2001 it became a porn cinema. It was renovated completely and reopened two years ago and since then, the building has already won two prestigious awards for its architecture, décor and equipment.

The Cinema Ideal strives for a multiple approach: different audiences, different times of the day, different times of the year. Even with a single screen there are always at least two (and sometimes four) films being screened at the same time, in an endeavour to be a local film theatre to appeal to both older and younger people, to film lovers, and to people who simply want to see a film without having to go to a shopping centre.

“We carried out this project at a time when Portugal was facing a political and economic crisis that represented a social and cultural tragedy. And in 2012 there was no public support for film theatres. The difficulties facing independent cinemas in Portugal are obvious and it is easy to grasp the extent of the catastrophe when you consider that only six Portuguese cinemas are members of the Europa Cinemas network, and that four of these are situated in Lisbon. But when the opportunity arose (the idea had been lingering for three years), we did not hesitate to take on the considerable economic and financial challenge”, comments Pedro Borges, Director. “These last two years have taught us many things and we have used our new knowledge to put pressure on local and national government with regard to the need for three, four, five or more “Cinema Ideal” film theatres to be created, not just in Lisbon but in the whole of Portugal.”


BEST PROGRAMMING: Kino Europa – Zagreb (Croatia)

Kino Europa is Zagreb’s most iconic cinema, built in 1924/25. After years of neglect, the City of Zagreb bought the cinema and, in early 2008, the cinema management was entrusted to Zagreb Film Festival with the aim of making Kino Europa the regional hub for film and film art. In 2013 Kino Europa became a protected cultural heritage site.  The cinema has the Large Hall with 500 seats in its auditorium, the Müller Hall with 41 seats, the Cinema Shop and the Cinema Bar, a popular hangout.

“In 2008, when we took over the cinema, our main intention and most important task was to design a first-rate programme of contemporary, independent and art-house films from all over the world, and to regain the trust of the audience who had completely lost the habit of frequenting old cinemas in the city centre. At the time, we were the only cinema focused on world and European auteur cinema, different from the existing multiplex programmes,” said Hrvoje Laurenta, Executive Director and Selma Mehadzic, Programmer. “Our programme’s diversity and quality, and our special approach to every event and screening, as well as to specific audiences, make our strategy particularly innovative. Our motto is ‘Think about what you watch’. We want the audience to perceive the cinema as a venue that is a living and vibrant institution, a place of discussion, conversation and learning about film culture 24/7. We watch our audience. With every screening schedule we follow and analyse the attendance and reactions to the programme that we prepared for them – so while managing to show a selection of the finest world cinema throughout the year, we have also learned to search for films of specific genres, themes and countries that our audience like. We are also trying to organize encounters between audience and filmmakers.”

In the beginning it was very difficult to offer a wide range of nationalities in their programming, as there were not many independent films available for distribution, and if a title of this profile with any commercial potential appeared, multiplexes had the priority option to screen them. But by 2015 25 European nationalities were represented in the programme, and almost 72% of the screenings were of European films.

They also started buying films in order to keep the continuity in their programming – and this was possible because of their experience in organising the Festival connecting them with numerous distributors and producers. Today, they distribute 5-10 titles per year. After years of struggling, digitisation made things much easier. Distributors grew more likely to acquire films from diverse origins and even those with very small commercial potential.


BEST YOUNG AUDIENCE ACTIVITIES: Moviemento and City Kino – Linz (Austria)

Arthouse cinema in the centre of Linz started in 1990, with the two small auditoria of Cinema Moviemento (83 and 50 seats). In 1999 the “Association for the promotion of communicative cinema culture” acquired and renovated the City Kino, saving it from closure. The cinemas are run as a non-profit organisation, ensuring that any surplus funds are ploughed back. A third screen was added at Moviemento in 2007, while at City Kino the small third screen was made into Café Stern. The good food and drinks offer is a strong point of the cinemas and really pull in the public. DJ sets also attract lots of young people to the venue every weekend. In summer Linz’s OK-Platz, where the cinema is located, becomes one of the city’s hot spots.

“During our weekly young audience screening programme called Kinderkino we don’t show blockbusters such as Finding Dory, which makes reaching the target audience more difficult. However, our engagement in collaborating with different childrens’ organisations and schools allows us to reach the younger viewers. We collaborate with the youth association Kinderfreunde (Children’s Friends) to organise our Kinderfilmfestival and with Education Group - the schooling project launched by the Government of Upper Austria – for a structured school screening cycle with an educational goal and discussions afterwards. We also organise special school screenings through direct contact with the teachers of Linz schools“, said Wolfgang Steininger, Director. “Young people aged 14 and above used to be a minority within the context of our regular cinema operations. The “Filmring der Jugend” youth film club has been working for a number of decades now to get this target group interested in non-mainstream cinema. Through this initiative young people get to view films in advance and put the programme together with teachers. With around 1,500 admissions for the first part of this programme, attendances have now tripled, in contrast to the demographic trend. Members of the “Filmring der Jugend” also benefit from significant reductions on cinema tickets for a whole year.”

Special screenings for schools and other groups are the key component of their young audience activities, concentrating on original language versions.  Teachers use the school screenings in their original language within the context of foreign language studies. Information on the films on offer is sent to schools every month breaking this down into themes and language versions. At present this information is passed on personally to some 350 teachers. In 2015 this resulted in 380 screenings of more than 100 films with almost 10,000 admissions.

Since 2004 they have been hosting the “Crossing Europe” festival, which they also co-founded. Christine Dollhofer, the Festival manager, primarily tries to attract younger audiences with her programming, while the “Local Artist” section has provided a fitting platform for the creative scene in the region of Upper Austria.


Founded in 1992 with funding from the MEDIA programme (Creative Europe) and from the Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (CNC), Europa Cinemas is the first film theatre network focusing on European films.  Its objective is to provide operational and financial support to cinemas that commit themselves to screen a significant number of European non-national films, to offer events and initiatives as well as promotional activities targeted at Young Audiences.

Thanks to the support of Eurimages and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the influence of Europa Cinemas extends to Eastern European countries, to the Balkans, to Russia and to Turkey.

Last modified on 08-11-2016