Network conferences

14th Annual Conference, Warsaw, 2009


European exhibitors and distributors come together over digital cinema



Inaugurated by Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi and Borys Lankosz, the 14th Europa Cinemas Conference was held in Warsaw from 19 to 22 November 2009. These three days of debates welcomed more than 550 professionals from approximately 40 countries, made up mostly of exhibitors and distributors, but also producers, sales agents, consultants, and bankers, bringing together all players of the film industry. 15 professionals from Asia, Latin-America and the Mediterranean attended this event as network partners in the framework of Europa Cinemas International.
The debates focused on the search of partnerships for the transition to digital, and on the new ways offered by the Internet to renew audiences.

As digital projection becomes a reality in all European countries – particularly with 100 digitally-equipped screens in the network - exhibitors and distributors acknowledged the validity of the “Virtual Print Fee” model (VPF), which allows the money saved on prints to be redistributed back to the cinemas. This model has its limitations, unfortunately, with regard to single-screen cinemas and smaller markets. From this comes the necessity to find complementary forms of financing or corrective schemes: resource sharing funds (France, Norway), tax credit (Italy), buying groups (United Kingdom), public funding (Poland, Czech Republic), European aid (MEDIA, Eurimage), European regional development funds (European Commission)… All these solutions require exhibitors to mobilize themselves and developing common measures between all professional groups, and to involve public authorities in the support of independent screens.

Providing screens with digital equipment raises the question of the availability of European films on this medium.   The producers and exporters invited to this debate did not all agree on the matter of delivering digital masters to distributors, which is essential to facilitate the circulation of European films internationally.

The digital revolution in the cinemas has to be linked to the development of Internet.  Distributors and exhibitors find themselves working together once again to invent new promotional practices to attract new audiences to films and film theatres. Nowadays these tools allow us to create a new level of interaction, bringing spectators into virtual communities where their tastes can be more easily identified. Internet users can also find their creativity on the big screen, which welcomes more and more alternative content.  It is at the film theatre, rather than on Facebook or Twitter, that young people who want to share a fuller cinema experience should meet and exchange ideas.

Speakers and presentations




Ian Christie (Consultant, Film Historian, Vice-President Europa Cinemas, UK)
Zenon Butkiewicz (Director of the Department of National Culture Institutions, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Poland)
Agnieszka Odorowicz (General Director of the Polish Film Institute, Poland)
Aviva Silver (Head of the MEDIA Unit, European Commission, Belgium)
Claude-Eric Poiroux (General Director, Europa Cinemas)


Presentation/debate with Andrzej Wajda (Film Director, Poland), Krzysztof Zanussi (Film Director, Poland), Borys Lankosz (Film Director, Poland), and Jean-Michel Frodon (Film critic,Journalist, Film Historian, France)


• State of play regarding digital distribution and projection in Europe. 
• What are the technical and financial benefits for each of the players in the cinema industry?
• How can the solidarity and coherence of the industry be guaranteed?
• What are the specific needs of each sector in the context of this transition?
• How can independent cinema benefit from digital filmmaking and projection?

Led by Michael Gubbins (Consultant and Journalist, UK)

Thierry Delpit (Development Director, CN Films, France)
Peter Garde (Head of Business Affairs, Zentropa, Denmark)
Frédéric Goldsmith (General Delegate, Association des Producteurs de Cinéma, France)
Angelo Barbagallo (Producer and Managing Director of Bi. Bi Film, Italy)
François Yon (CEO, Films Distribution, France)
Maren Kroymann (Director, Sales & Acquisitions, m-appeal, Germany)
Thomas Matlok (Distributor, Pandora Filmverleih, Germany)
Ross Fitzsimons (Director of Strategy & Business Development, Curzon Artificial Eye, UK)
Christian Thomas (Founder/CEO, Imagine Film Distribution, Benelux)
Nico Simon (CEO, Utopia Group of Cinemas, Benelux/France, Vice-President Europa Cinemas)
Claude-Eric Poiroux (General Director, Europa Cinemas)


• Technical industries: how will equipment develop and improve?
• Banks: loans and guarantees for investments.
• Third-party investors: what proposals for co-financing?
• Institutions: what support mechanisms exist or may be devised?
• Public authorities: what contributions at European, national or local level?
• Financial models: how can risks and investments be pooled?

Led by Steve Perrin (Chief Executive, UK Digital Funding Group, UK)

Angelo D’Alessio (Managing Director, CineDesign Group, President of Media Innovation Center, Italy)
Patrick Vanhoudt (Senior Economist, European Investment Bank, Luxembourg)
Maxime Pirson (Senior Manager Global Export & Project Finance, Fortis, Belgium)
Jan Wolfcarius (ING Corporate Clients BE, Sector Principal TMT, ING Bank, Belgium).
Serge Plasch (CEO and Managing Director, XDC, Belgium)
Jean Mizrahi (CEO, Ymagis, France)
Gwendal Auffret (Senior Vice-President, Digital Cinema of Arts Alliance Media, UK)
Olivier Wotling (Head of Film Department, Centre National de la Cinématographie, France)
Thierry Hugot (Digitisation Support Scheme Officer, Eurimages, France)
Enrico Di Mambro (Consultant, AGIS-ANEC, Italy)
Hughes Becquart (Policy officer for Distribution, Digital Cinema, MEDIA International, European Commission, Belgium)
Olga  Raitoralova (Digital Cinema Expert, Media and Audiovisual Department, Ministry of Culture, Czech Republic).
Rolv Gjestland (Adviser Cinema Technology and Design, Film&Kino, Norway)
Marta Materska-Samek (Vice-President, Cinema Development Foundation, Crakow, Poland)
Patrick Brouiller (President AFCAE,Vice-President CICAE, France)
Christine Eloy (Distributor, Cinéart, Belgium)
Hans König (Distributor, Polyfilm Verleih, Austria)
Jean-Pierre Villa (Director,Véo Cine, France)


• How can cinemas promote their image and content via the Internet? Exhibitors’ initiatives.
• Web marketing for independent films: distributors’ initiatives.
• Facebook – Twitter etc.: How can we benefit from these social networks and forums?
• Developing a “taste for cinema” among young Internet users: role of cinemas, distributors and DVD publishers.
• Are the new ways of consuming images transforming the relationship between audiences and film theatres?

Led by Michael Gubbins (Consultant and Journalist, UK)

Dick Penny (Managing Director, Watershed Media Centre, UK)
Andrea Crozzoli (Exhibitor, Cinemazero, Italy)
Ian Christie (Consultant, Film Historian, Vice-President Europa Cinemas, UK)
Ben Metcalf (Sales Manager, Soda Pictures, UK)
Viktor Senn (Head of Online-Marketing, Frenetic Films, Switzerland)
Régine Vial (Distributor, Films du Losange, France)
Tobias Bauckhage (Founder and Managing Director,, Germany)
Frauke Feuer (Senior Consultant, Peaceful Fish, Germany)
Elizabeth Prommer (Professor, University of Vienna, Austria)
Barbara De Wijn & Dagan Cohen (Co-Directors, Upload Cinema, The Netherlands)
Axel Behrens (Head of Theatrical Distribution Dept., XK Shorts, Germany)
Alain Modot (Vice-President, Partner, Media Consulting Group, France)
Catharine Des Forges (Managing Director, ICO, UK)
Tom Fleming (Director, TF Creative Consultancy, UK)
Vincent Paul-Boncour (Distributor, Carlotta Films,Exhibitor, Le Nouveau Latina, France)


• MEDIA programme: Contract 2009/2013. Development of the network and guidelines.
• Europa Cinemas International: Support for distribution and exhibition in non-MEDIA countries and Europe.
• Euromed Audiovisual: Assessment of Euromed Audiovisual 2 and prospects.
• Eurimages/French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MAEE): Developments and proposals.
• Miscellaneous.

Led by Claude-Eric Poiroux (General Director, Europa Cinemas)

Europa Cinemas Awards 2009


The 2009 Europa Cinemas Awards went out to:
- Best programming: Kino Pod Baranami, Cracow, Poland
- Best Young Audience Activities: Multisala Pio X (MPX) et Excelsior, Padova, Italy
- Entrepreneur of the Year: Folkets Hus Och Parker (FHP), Sweden
The awards were given at the Muranow cinema, member of the Europa Cinemas network, by Agnieszka Odorowicz, director of the Polish Film Institute, Andrzej Jakimowski, director of Tricks (Sztuczki), and Borys Lankosz, director of Reverse (Rewers).  This last film, which will represent Poland in the best foreign film category at the Oscars, was screened for the network exhibitors.

Preview screenings of European films


The conference opened on 19 November at the Kinoteka cinema, also member of the Europa Cinemas network, with the preview screening of 11 European films:
Lourdes, Jessica Hausner (AT/FR/DE)
Applause (Applaus), Martin P.Zandvliet (DK)
Cooking History, Péter Kerekes, (SK)
Eastern Plays, Kamen Kalev, (BG)
Gordos, Daniel Sanchez Arévalo (ES)
The Forest (Las), Piotr Dumala (PL)
The Front Line (La Prima Linea), Renato de Maria (IT/FR/GB/BE)
The Last Days of Emma Blank, Alex van Warmerdam (NL)
North (Nord), Rune Denstad Langlo (NO)
La Pivellina, Tizza Covi & Rainer Frimmel (IT/AT)
Soul Kitchen, Fatih Akin (DE)

Screenings of trailers for European films


The participants had the opportunity to watch a program of European films trailers. It was a chance to have a look on latest productions from all Europe: Mr. Nobody, Videocracy, Nothing Personal, Persécution, Women Without Men, Hadewijch, among other.


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Since 2002, Europa Cinemas awards three exhibitors whose outstanding work deserves recognition. This year, the Elvire Popesco cinema in Bucharest, the Agrafka and Kika cinemas in Krakow and Lionello...

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