News / The Network Imprimer
The Network - 19/01/2016
Europa Cinemas Awards 2015 - Best Young Audience Activities
It has been 30 years since Cine Paradisos opened its doors in Korydallos, Greece, with Giuseppe Tornatore – the auteur of the homonymous Oscar-winning film - and Nicola Piovanni - the film’s score composer - serving in situ as its spiritual godfathers providing the opportunity to a continuous series of generations of viewers to fall in love with the art of cinema and more substantially to acquire the feeling of being part of the community beyond films.
The original building of Cine Paradisos was constructed by the municipal authorities with the voluntary participation of the members of the city's Cinematic Club. Since 2007 Cine Paradisos has been fully renovated into a modern three-store building with a winter room theatre of 300 people and a revamped open air theatre located on the loft of the building with capacity of 250 people. Cine Paradisos hosts multiple venues for public activities, a special showroom for art exhibitions and an area for workshops. Moreover there is an extra theatre for additional screenings located near the cinema's main building.
The city of Korydallos is an unprivileged suburb of Piraeus famous for its major prison facilities located nearby the cinema. Given the position of the cinema in the vicinity of a major multiplex and far away from the centre of Athens - the cultural meeting point - Cine Paradisos has decided to propose a programming oriented to the young audience and socially sensitive groups, in order to establish itself as an artistic alternative point for Piraeus.
Thanks also to support of the municipality, private initiatives and the voluntary work of the Cinematic Club, Cine Paradisos is one of the few suburb theatres which survived during the crisis of the last six years. Also many traditional centres for young audiences in Athens had to shut their activities, therefore we decided to move on rapidly and reinforce our programme by expanding our young audience festivals to the surrounding territories of Piraeus in order to ensure our survival, collaborating with schools from all over Athens. Our strength is indeed the ability to combine a brave social policy on tickets with the community self-respect, so that now we can see thousands of unprivileged families enjoying the craft of cinema without feeling an object of charity.
We have created a group of specialised partners dedicated for the young audience activities. By now “School goes at Cinema” festival series - the cornerstone of our fest initiatives - has been acknowledged as one of the most successful young audience festivals in the country and has been nationwide acclaimed for its social sensitivity with symbolic ticket fares and free admissions. Among the most original Young Audience projects we have implemented I would definitely mention the cinematic lessons inside the prison schools for young convicts. Although in Europe this can be a common practice, in Korydallos the prisons are very notorious so we had to work on this project for long time in collaboration with the municipality authorities to ensure our presence inside.
Moreover Cine Paradisos has been the first theatre to introduce the Culture Solidarity Action. It implies an alternative ticketing strategy where customers could pay their cinema tickets through food and clothing instead of money. The goods collected are then given to the needy citizens affected by the economic crisis.
As Korydallos city is facing rapid social changes, we have confronted myriads problems such as sheer economic shortage and social disappointment due to the general upraise of the intolerance. We pay great attention on fighting racism and unhealthy nationalistic values that keep infiltrating in our young audience.
On this regard, I remember that after the screening of the Barefoot Battalion (an excellent neorealist film by Gregg Tallas depicting life of children in German occupied Greece in the ‘40s) during the Morning Monday school initiative, we had hard time in the conversation with primary level students.
A lot of children had their own misrepresentations coming from the beliefs of their families, who might have in a way demonized German people, and they started to show extremely hostile behaviors. The scenario of the film obviously didn't help, therefore we had a very long conversation with the students along with the teachers in order to explain them the current situation about the crisis, the importance of not demonizing external factors and the sense of solidarity. Our goal was to open a window to make them think differently. We were exhausted but proud about discussing with the kids on such a crucial matter with clarity and honesty, away from the typical ethic preaching. We also understood that children watch a film in a more simple and clear way, we didn’t realize that this film could have these kind of social and political implication on them. It was a lesson for us too.
In a period of economic depression and social crisis, Cine Paradisos continues its multifaceted programme of cultural activities with the priority to underline that culture is an integral part of our society. We see our operation more as a dynamic interactive film centre rather than a static cinema venue as we seek to improve the human social experience.
Zak Ioannidis, Director