Innovation Labs


Sevilla Innovation Lab 2014


Standing out in the digital age


2 logos Seville
Place-making, brand-building& shareability


Sevilla – Thursday 13 to Sunday 16 of November, 2014


Europa Cinemas is happy to team up for the first time with the Sevilla European Film Festival for its third Audience Development & Innovation Lab in 2014, after the seminars in Sofia in March and in Bologna in June. In an increasingly dynamic and busy digital consumer context, what are the strategies that cinemas can adopt to remain vital spaces for their local communities? In an environment where audiences expect more from their investment of time and money, how can cinema professionals respond positively and smartly to the shifts in the way people experience and share content, building relevant brands and offers that are in tune with today’s audiences? Whilst it’s widely accepted that digital has fostered a proliferation of film making, watching and sharing, what are the practical business opportunities for cinema operators in this new environment?

Entitled Standing Out In The Digital Age - Place-Making, Brand-Building & Shareability and directed by Madeleine Probst (Producer, Watershed Media Centre, UK), Jon Barrenechea (Project Development Manager, Picturehouse Cinemas, UK) and Ivo Andrle (Distributor, Exhibitor, Aerofilms, Czech Republic), this seminar invites a diverse range of European exhibitors to come together with other sections of the industry to share knowledge and discover innovative audience development initiatives, social media strategies, pilot projects exploring the crossover potential between cinema exhibition and VoD platforms, festivals experimenting with new methods of sharing content, organisations developing new business models with a dynamic approach to place-making, brand-building and networking. The workshop offers the perfect setting for cinema exhibitors in Europe to collaboratively to turn today’s perceived challenges into business opportunities.

Click here to have a look at the  PROGRAMME

Check out the visual and dynamic overview of the workshop on STORIFY









Report on the Sevilla Innovation Lab 2014


 “Standing out in the Digital Age – Place-making, brand-building and shareability”


For its third Audience Development& Innovation Lab in 2014, Europa Cinemas joined forces for the first time with the Sevilla European Film Festival and invited 41 exhibitors from 13 different countries to come together in order to share experiences, explore new release models, discover practical solutions and get inspired during a 4-days seminar entitled “Standing out in the Digital Age”.

After the welcome words by our host José Luis Cienfuegos, Director of the Sevilla Film Festival, Claude-Eric Poiroux, Director of Europa Cinemas and Madeleine Probst, Vice-President of Europa Cinemas and Programme Producer at Watershed Media Centre (Bristol, UK), we moved straight into the heart of matters with a first keynote address by Ivo Andrle, a Czech cinema operator who heads Prague’s 3 cult movie theatres and also acts as a distributor through Aerofilms. Ivo talked about his strategy for getting people of the sofa and into the cinema, with tailored programmes for every stage of their lives – from toddlers accompanied by their mothers to seniors who have their own movie club. They key weapon for cinemas, in his vision, is social experience. “Don’t complain that distributors don’t make their job” he argued addressing the exhibitors, “show them what can be done”. With such an attitude, doubled up by creativity and an unwearying will to keep innovating, no wonder Ivo has been awarded the title of Europa Cinemas Entrepreneur of the Year 2014!

The Sevilla Innovation Lab, headed by Madeleine Probst together with Ivo Andrle and Jon Barrenechea (Project Development Manager, Picturehouse Cinemas, UK), opened its doors for the first time not only to members of the Europa Cinemas network, but also to other European exhibitors, representing both smaller, independent cinemas and large cinema chains. We were happy to welcome a large number of Spanish exhibitors, from both inside and outside the network, at a time when the Spanish cinema industry is going through a difficult phase and working together to find solutions to pressing problems such as the drop in ticket sales, the rise in taxation and the extended closure of venues is more important than ever. The session Making Networks Work showcased two great examples of such collaborations in Spain.

Pedro Barbadillo from CineCiutat presented CINEARTE, the first network of arthouse cinemas in Spain which had just been formally established and brings together 11 cinemas from all over the country, some of which have been re-opened by groups of citizens who organized themselves in order to save their local cinemas from disappearing. In 7 other Spanish towns such groups are currently working to re-open movie theaters. By joining forces in CINEARTE, they aim to increase the visibility of arthouse cinema and help it reach the full potential of its audience, prevent the closure of even more cinema venues and improve their power of negotiation with other actors such as distributors, investors and public entities.

Better deals through an increased power of negotiation was also what brought together the members of ACEC Cines more than 30 years ago into forming a “hybrid” model of cooperation. With 209 screens which are programmed as a single chain, but divided between 20 individually owned and managed venues, ACEC Cines (represented in Sevilla by Isabel Garcia) is now the 3rd biggest Spanish exhibitor and a clear success-story that proves that unity makes strength! To finish up the session with a case-study from the UK, Jon Barrenechea explained how at Picturehouse they managed to create a commercially sustainable arthouse model, with 21 venues and some 3 more in the making which are not just cinemas, but cosy and attractive meeting places, in the heart of cities.

If difficult market conditions call for cooperation, global changes in the patterns of accessing and consuming film content by the audiences call for innovation and adaptation from the part of exhibitors. This difficult and often controversial topic was tackled in the afternoon session Getting films out in the Digital Era: Innovative Models & Practices. Several pilot projects funded by the European Commission were presented.

Lucie Girrespoke about theSPIDE project, which brings together distributors, electronic distribution platforms and sales agents, under the coordination of ARP, in an experiment on legal multi-support and multi-territories releases and the opportunities they represent for the circulation of European feature films in the digital era. Dragoslav Zachariev from EuroVoDpresented STREAMS Day&Date, an experiment which gives people the choice to watch a new release in cinemas, on DVD or on Video-on-Demand. Dragoslav argued that cinema exhibitors have to adapt to the digital world because their audience is already in it and admitted that “it’s a struggle for the VOD actors as well, because we have to invent a new world”.

Taking a different, yet equally innovative approach, Rutger Wolfson, the Director of the Rotterdam Film Festival, started by pointing to the fact that most of the films which attract a full house when presented in his festival have a hard time when they are released – if they ever get released. In an effort to better support these films, the idea behind IFFR Live is to transfer some of the “festival atmosphere” in any cinema venue. 5 films screened in the 2015 edition of the festival will be simultaneously visible in cinemas and VOD platforms across Europe which join the programme. The public of these venues will also be able to see and take part in the Q&As through Instagram and Twitter feeds. The experiment, which requires no investment from the exhibitors other than the will to try, was met with great enthusiasm and several participants signed up on the spot!

Finally, Mandy Berry spoke about CINEGI, a platform of content which can help turn any venue into a “cinema”. By giving access to a catalogue of films and wrap-around content (interviews, Q&As), hosted on an easy-to-use platform and an accessible yet high quality format for venues which are not equipped with a digital projector, CINEGI gives you everything you need, as long as you can find the audience for the film. This sounds more like competition than support for movie theatres, but Berry argued that the platform “is not taking the cake away from cinemas, it’s just increasing the size of the cake for everyone”.  The session sparked, as expected, some heated debate, but proved very informative and useful to get a sense of the directions in which cinema exhibition might be heading in the future – or at least the new environment in which it will have to survive.

If the second day of the workshop was dedicated to large-scale trends and evolutions, the third one focused more on smaller, practical solutions capable of responding to day-to-day challenges of attracting a bigger audience. During the session Brand-Building, Partnerships, Shareability – which was one of the most appreciated by the participants in their feedback – Marco Odasso started by giving some effective insights on how to make better use of social media in order to attract our audience by engaging them, making them interact with our messages and spread them further. Asa Garnert, who works as a communication strategist for the Sarajevo Film Festival among other clients, gave some useful tips on how to better tell our story, not by doing or saying more but by finding the right tone and making use of the resources we already have – why not let your geekiest customer run your Twitter feed for a week, or your festival programmer do your Facebook postings? Two of the participants also took the floor to share successful experiences. Mark Drenth from Concordia in Enschede, The Netherlands, explained how he managed to rise enough public awareness and 25 000 euros in crowd-funding through a social media campaign run essentially not by the cinema staff but by its audience, in order to prevent the closure of the theatre which operated in one of the rooms of the cinema-venue. Wrapping up a great session, Nico Marzano from the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London showed us how he managed to orchestrate a great communication campaign using mainly Twitter and Instagram, attracting interest and conversation with a limited budget and drawing more than 500 people to the retrospective of 4 films of Elio Petri, an Italian filmmaker of the 70s which has been largely (and unjustly) forgotten.

The afternoon session continued with great ideas and projects of the participants, around the theme Live & Experiential Cinema.Ana Seta Pucihar from Kinodvor in Slovenia showed us step by step how she prepared a grandiose release for Grand Budapest Hotel, fully engaging her staff in a fun and eye-catching marketing operation which lead to the film being the 2nd best box office hit of the history of Kinodvor, while Kelly Jeffs from Light House (UK) gave the participants the great opportunity to learn from an event that did not go as well as expected (among others which were successes). Both Kelly and Floris Vandekerchove, whose cinema Studio Skoop in Belgium co-organizes the successful Japan Square Film Fest, stressed the importance of setting up reliable partnerships when organizing events, a strategy which helps minimize the risks for the cinema and maximize the gains in terms of image by attracting specific communities. The session ended with presentation of the screening of 20 000 Days on Earth Live, a hybrid between film and alternative content, by Jon Barrenechea and Madeleine Probst who both showed it in their venues. This sparked an interesting conversation on the rise of alternative content in cinemas, which is, as Jon explained, content with much lower risk than film, but naturally more limited in its diversity.

As always, we try to keep the Innovation Labs as hands-on and as practical as possible, and what can be more useful than a visit to a local cinema, where participants can reflect on the strong and weak points of the venue and then use the critical exercise when they get back home to their cinemas? The last session, dedicated to place-making, took place in Avenida 5 Cines. A pioneer of films in original version in Sevilla, the cinema is now struggling due to lack of funds for digitization but manages to maintain what Jon Barrenechea called an “impressive, hardcore arthouse programming, the kind you would find in an university town venue in the UK”.


The success of the Sevilla Innovation Lab 2014 proved that sensitive questions, be they macro-economic difficulties or new practices that challenge the traditional release models, can and should be addressed openly with exhibitors and that debate is a healthy and necessary step for finding the best solutions. But beyond information, the seminar was a source of inspiration, which comes mainly from being together in a creative environment. Sometimes a great idea sparks when least expected – like having an actor read subtitles out loud for children’s movies which are not dubbed, mentioned by Elizabeth Taylor-Mead from Phoenix Cinema as a side note to a question, and which became the talk of the seminar. Solutions are often within grasp, if we look at our cinemas with fresh eyes. As Alena Zaoralova (Kino Metropol, Czech Republic), one of the participants, perfectly sums it up “The seminar made me realize that there are some obstacles we all share and have to fight with on daily basis and also that some obstacles are not really obstacles at all”.

Ioana Dragomirescu, December 2014

Speakers and Participants



Madeleine Probst
Madeleine Probst is Programme Developer at Watershed in Bristol, UK, a cross-artform venue and producer, sharing, developing and showcasing exemplary cultural ideas and talent. Opened in 1982 as the UK’s first media centre, Watershed has developed an excellent reputation for bringing the best in world cinema to Bristol. Madeleine is also Vice-President of Europa Cinemas.
Ivo Andrle
Ivo Andrle is a Czech cinema operator and film distributor. Cofounder and head of acquisitions for Aerofilms, one of the leading art-house distribution companies in the Czech Republic, since 1999 he has co-managed Aero, Prague’s cult movie theater, eventually opening two other art cinemas in the city.
Jon Barrenechea
Jon Barrenechea is the Project Development Manager for Picturehouse Cinemas, the UK's largest arthouse cinema operator. He is responsible for the company's new cinema developments and is currently overseeing three new cinema builds. In addition, Jon sits on the Film Hub South East Management Board, part of the BFI Film Audience Network.



Pedro Barbadillo
Pedro Barbadillo is a documentary filmmaker and the former director of the Mallorca Film Commission. Currently he is the president of a non-profit association CineCiutat in Palma de Mallorca (Spain) that rescued a movie theatre in 2012 and fights against the difficult situation of Spanish exhibition.
Mandy Berry
Mandy Berry is Joint CEO at Cinegi, a new secure fully digital distribution service for film, delivering content over standard broadband for independent cinemas, small cinema chains and the non theatric sector of film clubs and societies in venues of all kinds
Asa Garnert
Åsa Garnert works as a communications consultant for clients in both culture and other sectors. Before setting up her own company in early 2014 she worked for the Swedish Film Institute as Director of Communications & PR (2007-2013). She'll be speaking about one of her clients, the Sarajevo Film Festival.
Lucie Girre
Lucie Girre is currently coordinating SPIDE, a project supported by the European Commission in the framework of the second wave of its Preparatory Action: “Circulation of European film in the digital era” and coordinated by L’ARP which aims to experiment on day-and-date and multi territorial releases and develop skills for involved partners and professionals (distributors, VOD platforms and exhibitors).
Marco Odasso
Marco Odasso is a Digital Marketing consultant with over 20 years of experience in communications and corporate marketing. He has designed Social Media strategies and campaigns for a wide range of companies. Among others, he has worked for Canal+ Spain as a communications expert.
Rutger Wolfson
Rutger Wolfson is the Director of the International Film Festival Rotterdam. He will be presenting IFFR Live, a series of film premieres events held simultaneously in cinemas across Europe and on VOD platforms during the 44th IFFR, where audiences in cinemas and online can see the cast and crew in Rotterdam via a special ‘dashboard’ and join the Q&A session through Twitter.
Dragoslav Zachariev
Dragoslav Zachariev is Secretary-General of the European Federation of Independent Cinema VoD Platforms – EuroVoD, in charge of its international development and European activities. EuroVoD is the official organizer of Streams – the European Online Film Festival and coordinator of the project Streams Day&Date.


...and of course THE PARTICIPANTS. Please click here to see the list of the 41 cinema professionals who attended the workshop.

Speakers' presentations



Ivo Andrle (Exhibitor, Distributor, Kino Aero / Aerofilms, Czech Republic) - The Long Game



Madeleine Probst (Programme Producer, Watershed, UK) -  Networked & independent Watershed

Pedro Barbadillo (Associació Xarxa Cinema, CineCiutat, Spain) - Introducing CINEARTE, a Spanish network of arthouse cinemas

Isabel Garcia (Booker, ACEC Cines, Spain) - ACEC Cines Network – a “hybrid” model of cooperation

Jon Barrenechea (Project Development Manager, Picturehouse Cinemas, UK) - On the business of developing audiences



Dragoslav Zachariev (Sevretary-General, STREAMS, EuroVoD, France) - A multi-platform offer from cinemas

Lucie Girre (Coordinator, SPIDE, France) - SPIDE - exploring new distribution models

Rutger Wolfson (Director, International Fillm Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands) - IFFR Live

Mandy Berry (Joint CEO, Cinegi, UK) - Cinegi - Turning any venue into a 'cinema'



Marco Odasso (Social Media Marketing Strategist, Italy/Spain) - Digital Marketing & Audiences: what's all the buzz about?

Mark Drenth (Director, Concordia Cinema & Theater, The Netherlands) - Save Concordia’s Theatre – crowdfunding & social media campaign

Nico Marzano (Film & Cinema Manager, ICA, UK) - Elio Petri, the forgotten genius



Ana Seta Pucihar (Marketing Coordinator, Kinodvor, Slovenia) - Releasing Grand Budapest Hotel

Kelly Jeffs (CEO, Light House, UK) - Engaging new audiences through “eventisation”

Floris Vandekerckhove (Programming & Marketing, Studio Skoop, Belgium) - Making a success out of a niche event: Japan Square Film Fest

Jon Barrenechea & Madeleine Probst: 20,000 Days on Earth Live


Seminars Archive

  • Sofia Lab 2017

    Building Relationships & Designing Experiences 

  • Sevilla Lab 2016

    How can cinemas remain vital spaces for their local communities? 

  • Bologna Lab 2016

     The Cinema Experience In The Age Of Digital Distractions? 

  • Sofia Innovation Lab 2016

    Creating active and diverse relationships with our communities

  • Bologna Innovation Lab 2015

    Creating the demand for a diverse cinema

  • Sofia Innovation Lab 2015

    Building Audiences from the Ground up

  • Bologna Seminar 2014


    New Challenges & Approaches With New Audiences

  • Sofia Innovation Lab 2014

    Starting from scratch - New approaches with new audiences in the digital era

  • Bologna Seminar 2013

    “Engaging Communities in the digital era”: Saturday, 29th June – Wednesday, 3rd July, 2013

  • Bologna Seminar 2012

    Cinemas facing the economic and digital transition.  New realities and opportunities.

  • Bologna Session 2011

    Every year, since 2005, a Young Audience Seminar has been organized by Europa Cinemas during the Il Cinema Ritrovato festival located at the Cineteca di Bologna.
    This year, it will take place from Saturday the 25th of June until Wednesday the 29th of June 2011. Conducted by the film historian Ian Christie (Vice-President of Europa Cinemas and professor in London), and run by Madeleine Probst (Watershed Media Centre, Bristol) and Simon Ward (Independent Cinema Office, London), the theme will be:
    "Competing for attention & success Educating through creativity"

  • Bologna Session 2010

    Every year, since 2005, a Young Audience Seminar has been organized by Europa Cinemas during the Il Cinema Ritrovato festival located at the Cineteca di Bologna.
    This year, it will take place from Saturday the 25th of June until Wednesday the 29th of June 2011. Conducted by the film historian Ian Christie (Vice-President of Europa Cinemas and professor in London), and run by Madeleine Probst (Watershed Media Centre, Bristol) and Simon Ward (Independent Cinema Office, London), the theme will be:
    "Competing for attention & success Educating through creativity"

  • Bologna Session 2009

    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.

  • Bologna Session 2008

    Our theme this year is twofold: to review how specialist cinemas can actively contribute to creating a sense of cinema’s history through their programme, especially for youth audiences; and to learn how digital technologies can help them do so – rather than being seen as a threat to the ‘culture of celluloid’.

  • Bologna Session 2007

    As part of the Il Cinema Ritrovato festival, for the third year Europa Cinemas organised a seminar with the Cineteca di Bologna focusing on young audiences and classic films. 

  • Bologna Session 2006

    How to modernize cinema history? 

  • Bologna Session 2005

    How to promote heritage films rowards young audiences? 


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