From 27 June to 1 July, Europa Cinemas organised its fifth annual seminar devoted to Young Audiences under the theme of the CHALLENGE OF GENERATIONS. The discussions took place as part of the Il Cinema Ritrovato festival organised by the Cineteca di Bologna.
Around twenty participants - coordinators, exhibitors and programmers from network cinemas - originating from 15 different countries exchanged their strategies and experiences in relation to encouraging new audiences into their theatres. The discussions were led by Ian Christie, Vice-President of Europa Cinemas and professor at the University of London. Prior to the event he had posed the key questions that would be tackled during the seminar: How can different generations of audiences be catered for in the same cinema? How can programmes be created in which different generations of films are present?From the beginning, Ian Christie underlined the challenges facing cinemas today: nowadays films are often seen in multiplexes, but also at home (home cinema), intensifying the problem of a lack of new audiences in arthouse cinemas.
Red Shoes event opens the festivalThe projection in the Piazza Maggiore of the restored print of the film Red Shoes served as a starting point for reflections on the importance of restoring classics and on making these films available to young audiences. The fact that Fiona Maxwell (ITV, the film's rightsholder) and Margaret Bodde (Film Foundation) attended the seminar gave participants the opportunity to exchange views using Powell and Pressburger's film as an example.
Clearer positioning of arthouse cinemasAlthough exhibitors agree on the need to revisit notable films from cinema history, it is sometimes more difficult to derive from this a clear and discernible way of positioning cinemas for the public. In a competitive environment that is exacerbated by the modern image presented by multiplex chains and other venues for leisure activities, arthouse cinemas have a duty to develop a marketing strategy that is specific to their own peculiarities. Audiences need to be able to identify the specific offering of a cinema more easily. Reflecting on the question of brand image therefore implies an in-depth knowledge of audiences on the part of exhibitors.
The written press, a necessary guideNick James, editor of British magazine Sight and Sound, also came to present his views on the role of the written press in relation to the web and, more specifically, the blogosphere. Film critics in the written press continue to act as guides both for audiences and for exhibitors by putting films into context. Critics have an essential mediating role to play in relation to audiences, particularly young audiences, by highlighting in what respects a film's content can be controversial. And as Madeleine Probst from the Watershed underlined, the cinema itself can be a place where audiences go to find film-related content. A place for references, discussions, conferences, workshops - cinemas are diversifying the media they are employing and becoming a genuine resource centre, while audiences are becoming increasingly active.
"Canons" of cinema historyThe participants also had the opportunity to focus on films and on the way in which they can incorporate classics into their programming for young audiences in particular. The idea of "canons" (best films) was developed by Ian Christie. In 1952, Sight and Sound published a list of the best films of all time. The magazine publishes such a list every year, and French magazine Cahiers du cinema also did so last year. These lists serve as reference points for exhibitors. It is worth noting that Europa Cinemas has set a similar process of reflection in motion by proposing that its exhibitors put their list of the 10 best European films for young audiences online. ____________________________________Detailed Programme (GB & IT)Il Cinema Ritrovato - 27 June - 4 July - http://www.cinetecadibologna.it/
More information on previous Bologna sessions are available on our website (Young Audiences section / Bologna session)
Contact: Fatima Djoumer - fatim at djoumer.deEmilie Boucheteil - eboucheteil at europa-cinemas.orgLucas Varone - lvarone at europa-cinemas.org