Launch of a new study examining strategic investment in the future of film
November 26 2017: celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year, the 20th Network Conference concluded three days of debates and workshops successfully in Bucharest today in an atmosphere of solidarity among the more than 500 delegates and a determination to continue the remarkable rise in investment across the sector and to search for further innovation.
“The exhibitors here have underlined the essential role they play in the future of cinema because they embody and defend the two key values – the film and the cinema itself. The cinema itself cannot only guarantee quality programming and projection. It must give added value in terms of a welcome, its environment and atmosphere. The cinema is a place for enjoyment, for culture, and for social cohesion – but it must also be about more than experiencing a film. That cinema experience must be a total one, innovative and varied, so that today’s audience, and especially the youngest among them, can find good reason to return, to feel and share an emotional experience that anything seen at home or on the internet will never be able to match with as much intensity, “ commented Claude-Eric Poiroux – Director General of Europa Cinemas.
The last quarter of a century has been among the most exciting and challenging periods in the history of cinema – not least in the transition to digital projection. The demands of an always-on, on-demand digital era are no less challenging but independent cinemas have reasons for confidence because they are building on firm foundations.
The cinema experience remains essential to the business and culture of European film despite a decade of disruptive change. That position has arguably even strengthened. But independent cinemas also represent vital spaces for their communities, acting as an engine of economic growth, regeneration and social cohesion. The Conference agreed, however, that however successful network cinemas were in creating a better environment, the on-going appeal and quality of films were the most important ingredient for a successful business.
This Conference focussed on the next stage of evolution for cinemas and for the cinema experience – a detailed look at the core social, cultural and economic foundations for future growth, in terms of innovation but also at how to build on the underlying and unchanging realities for the theatrical sector and the broader film ecosystem.
Europa Cinemas launched its second major survey at this year’s Conference, following on from the New Approaches to Audience Building report announced in Cannes.
Titled Strategic Investments in the Future of Film, the extensive survey, commissioned by Europa Cinemas, is a detailed look at investment in the independent cinema exhibition sector in Europe, with responses coming from 208 cinemas located in 141 towns and cities in 31 countries.
What comes across strongly is how adept independent cinemas are at turning the necessity of on-going investment into opportunity. Investment means maintaining and increasing the distance between the cinema experience and viewing on any other platform. Non-film activity however is seen as a positive advantage for European film. When the cinema becomes a meeting space for diverse communities, the potential to develop and maintain new audiences increases. Investment in bars and restaurants are not just instrumental in creating essential sources of revenue but a proven means of keeping audiences engaged with the cinema and creating a home from home.
The winners of the Europa Cinemas’ annual Awards were also announced in Bucharest. 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 2017 winners are:
Europa Cinemas celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year, having been founded in 1992 with funding from the MEDIA programme (Creative Europe) and from the Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (CNC). It 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.
EUROPA CINEMAS in 2017
41 countries, 654 cities, 1088 cinemas, 2,684 screens
Europa Cinemas is supported by the MEDIA, programme of the European Commission (Brussels), CNC (France) and Eurimages (Council of Europe, Strasbourg)