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Activities - 18/07/2013


Back from Bologna Seminar 2013


Led by Ian CHRISTIE (Professor of film in London, United Kingdom) and Madeleine PROBST (Programme Producer, Watershed Media Centre in Bristol, United Kingdom), this seminar tackled the issues of future audiences, the different digital generations and cinema communities.

The seminar attempted to find an answer to two questions:

How do we encourage the next generation of digital savvy communities to come through the doors of our cinemas in a world where people want ‘everything, everywhere, now’? How do we create paths leading to that wonderful, collective experience of watching a film in the cinema – a place where a film defines itself, takes on its full meaning and has the chance to reveal itself?

Plenary sessions and practical workshops – also led by Maciek Jakubczyk (New Horizons Association, Poland) and Matthias Holtz (Folkets Hus och Parker, Sweden) – gave exhibitors the chance to exchange their expertise and experiences of programming initiatives, activities and marketing campaigns, especially those focusing on young audiences.

As is the case every year, the seminar was held as part of the ‘Il Cinema Ritrovato’ festival, which offers the public the opportunity to discover or rediscover restored classic films, in particular during open-air public screenings on the Piazza Maggiore in the historic city centre.



Read the interactive story of the Bologna Seminar 2013 here: Storify

Programme GB - FR

Read the speakers presentations here !


Gianluca Farinelli opened the seminar by pointing out that a new era is dawning for exhibitors, one in which there will be an abundance of potential young film enthusiasts. For Claude-Eric Poiroux, both festivals and cinemas are places where people come together and the Il Cinema Ritrovato festival needs to serve as a source of inspiration for our network. This Young Audiences seminar in Bologna is about passing on our love of cinema to young audiences. If they are deserting our cinemas, we need to find out what they like to do so we can make cinema screenings more attractive to them.

How can we ensure that the public has confidence in us and takes risks?

Daniel Sibbers, Marketing Manager of the Yorck Kino group in Germany, came to talk about the campaign that was organised when the group’s cinemas were threatened by multiplexes after the turn of the millennium: "At the right cinema you’ll never see the wrong film." This slogan was part of a promotional campaign aimed at increasing public awareness and creating confidence by establishing a recognisable ‘brand’, a new identity. Social networks are also playing an essential role in this initiative by making it possible to create a community.

For Maciek Jakubczyk from the New Horizons Association in Warsaw, Poland, when it comes to getting young people engaged with cinemas to encourage them to visit and come back, the exhibitor’s role could be that of a cultural events organiser. Offering children the chance to create films is a way of getting them to learn and take responsibility.

At the Watershed the emphasis is being placed above all on sharing ideas and being creative, or even letting the public take over the cinema and its programming for events that they organise themselves! Matthias Holtz from Folkets Hus och Parker pointed out that the cinema is a cultural venue and that audiences do not belong to us – we actually belong to them. Elisa Giovannelli, from the Cineteca di Bologna, presented the activities that are offered annually to children and school pupils within the framework of the Schermi e Lavagne programme: an impressive play area is erected for the festival and hosts film discovery workshops. Getting new communities through the door of the cinema also means encouraging them to take risks, as demonstrated by Marco Villota of the Far East Film Festival in Udine, who gave an inspiring presentation on an inventive and playful marketing campaign that brought together networks of artists and creatives with the aim of winning over local communities. Linda Arbanová from Kino Aero in Prague showed us the life of a cinemagoer from the age of 1 to 80, amusingly linking the different periods of the person’s life to the activities or workshops that the cinema offers to the various age groups that make up its audience.

How do we attract new generations, communities and partners?

Guy Magen from Cinéma Jacques Tati in Orsay has developed film education programmes on tablets: a question and answer game on images from a film viewed as a group gives children the chance to be creative by looking for images together and by generating a discussion about the film. They enjoy debating on the subject of a cinematic work and in this way come to embrace it. Guy is looking for European partners to develop his existing database and is offering full training to exhibitors who are interested.

Clio Meyer, from the company Knowtex, is also convinced that in the digital age we need to engage communities. Exhibitors can act as a link between professionals, film lovers and creative communities. Social networks are marvellous tools that make this link possible. This provided Ian Christie with an opportunity to outline the history of the cinema venue: is the cinema still a sociable place? By recreating the campaign for the Chilean film NO in Sweden, Mathias Holtz not only managed to involve the communities linked to the film’s themes, but also got them to participate in the campaign, replacing the role of distributor by also working with the foreign media in Sweden, who became ambassadors for the film. Also on the subject of the film NO, Luciano Chelotti from the distribution company Network Releasing in London spent a great deal of time beforehand working with the communities likely to be interested in the film: the target groups included communication and marketing professionals and organisations involved in defending human rights. They all embraced the campaign.

New technologies not only enable us to access communities of cinemagoers and bring them together more easily, they also make it possible to democratise classic films. Lists of the best films of all time (top tens or ‘canons’) influence DVD rereleases and school curricula. These lists can also be valuable tools when it comes to working with the public: we can encourage them to list their favourite films, put them on the bill, discuss them… Vincent Paul-Boncour, exhibitor from the Nouveau Latina in Paris and managing director of the distribution companies Carlotta Films & Bodega Films, has specialised in the rerelease of classic films: the key is to make these releases as attractive as releases of contemporary films by giving classic films back all their modernity.

Digital restoration is contributing to a thirst to discover films on new media, such as the films of Ozu. Mari Sol Perez, who is responsible for film heritage within the European Commission’s Audiovisual and Media Policy Unit, explained that film culture is an integral part of Europe and that the Commission is keen to facilitate the general public’s access to classic works, both online and in cinemas. 

It is all about appealing to audiences. What can the cinema offer them, beyond merely screening films?

Adrian Utley, guitarist with the band Portishead, and Mark Cosgrove, Head of Programme at the Watershed, Bristol, told us about their cooperation for an event: the presentation of the restored version of Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc with a score composed by the musician. Creating links between various artistic sectors can really bring different groups together and can be an excellent way of renewing your audiences. Linda Arbanová from Kino Aero in Prague talked about two events that Kino Aero has put on the programme: BLIND CINEMA & FILMJUKEBOX. The first involves keeping the public guessing by offering them a surprise film, while the second gives them a chance to vote for the film they want to see!

Gérôme Bourdezeau, head of Eataly Roma, a concept store combining a high-end supermarket with restaurants, presented his manifesto: the company distributes artisan food products, which it promotes with communication based on ideas of sharing, responsibility and accessibility, presenting the products as ‘high quality’ rather than ‘luxury’. Creating connections between the sensory experiences of Eataly’s consumers and cinema audiences made it possible for exhibitors to envisage different ways of appealing to the public, by presenting them with an interactive and highly personalised offering.

The seminar was concluded by underlining once again that audiences are communities and that it is essential to know them well if you want to decide on the best ways to involve them in a cinema and interact with them. The cinema must be an integral part of their community and give them new and surprising experiences. Now it’s up to us to be creative and communicative!

More information on Bologna seminar available here


Emilie Boucheteil, Young Audience Activities :

Tel. +33 1 42 71 83 64, e-mail :

Lucas Varone, Joint Activities Coordinator :

Tel. +33 1 42 71 12 43, e-mail :