EUROPA CINEMAS AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT & INNOVATION LAB

From Spaces to Places: Making the Cinema a Place for People and Communities. Training Sessions for European Exhibitors

Led by Madeleine Probst (Vice-President of Europa Cinemas & Watershed Managing Producer, Cinema & Film Hub South West) with Hrvoje Laurenta, Daniel Sibbers. Organized by Fatima Djoumer (Europa Cinemas) and Elisa Giovannelli (Cineteca di Bologna)

 

At a time when the myth of the cinema as a ‘thing of the past’versus online models as ‘the future’ is all too often being perpetuated, it is worth reminding ourselves of the vital work cinemas do, not just in terms of making diverse films accessible to people where they are but also making them visible and activating communities around films.
With some 39.21 million admissions for European films in 2017 (almost twice the admissions for European film compared to the global market), the Europa Cinemas network, now established in 628 cities and towns in 34 MEDIA countries, representing 1,050 cinemas with 2,536 screens continues to underpin the life of European films.
Over the past 14 years, labs in Bologna as well as offshoots in Sofia, Sevilla, Cluj, Sarajevo and Leipzig have brought together some 1,000 participants to grapple with the vital question of how to develop audiences for a broader diet of film.
As Michael Gubbins (SampoMedia) put it in Europa Cinemas’ Cannes 2018 “Network Review”: “While VOD culture is based on giving people more of what they think they want, cinemas are dedicated to the more difficult but ultimately essential cultural mission of giving people what they do not know they want”.
Mission impossible some might say but the opportunities are there for cinema practitioners to redesign the cinema ‘experience’, creating inclusive, essential social places at the heart of communities. This is the theme explored in this 14th edition of the Bologna Lab in a context of increasing abundance of content and viewing platforms and shrinking venue resources. We all know that audiences make the cinema experience but how can we ensure cinema spaces remain places that people feel connected with whatever their age, preferences, backgrounds or access needs? And what can cinemas do better to capitalise on their communities’ assets and inspiration?
With a little help from leading cinema practitioners including Hrvoje Laurenta (Kino Europa in Zagreb, Croatia, Europa Cinemas Awards 2016 – Best Programming winner) and Daniel Sibbers (Director of Marketing, Yorck Kinogruppe, Germany), this lab offers a space for cinema practitioners from across Europe and beyond to explore the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a cinema and support its ongoing evolution, sharing approaches and problems.
There will be insights into audiences that already come and importantly, those that don’t, in order to inform how best to engage with them. Expect case studies from organisations that have found effective ways of reaching out to people and removing barriers to engagement; from targeted marketing campaigns and ticketing offers to more inclusive and community driven approaches.
We’ll also look at strategies that might unlock the potential of the people within cinemas and how more inclusive work cultures can help build more sustainable organisations and deeper engagement with audiences.
As we are in Bologna, the major celebration of film history, we will also reflect on how cinemas can play a role in reframing film heritage in ways that are more mindful of diversity and inspire people to collectively reimagine public spaces beyond the cinema walls, something that Il Cinema Ritrovato does so brilliantly.

Madeleine Probs

 

Madeleine Probst

Program