News / Activities Imprimer
Activities - 16/06/2017
Next / Change: Visit to the Filmhouse in Edinburgh, by Monika Inceryte (Lituania)
Exploration of cinema industry has been my main drive professionally for more than three years, since I started working at ‘Romuva’. There, we deal with a wide range of opportunities as well as challenges developing the activities of the oldest running cinema in Lithuania. Kauno kino centras ‘Romuva’ (Kaunas cinema centre ‘Romuva’) is the only arthouse cinema in Kaunas (the second largest city in Lithuania) based in a beautiful interwar period building on the main pedestrian street. Since it was re-opened in September 2011, it has taken a while to make it work properly and attract the audience, as the theatre had a strong financial debt for years. Today ‘Romuva’ is showing mainly European films, offering a wide range of activities for young audience and host some cultural events. It is owned by the city municipality. In 2015 ‘Romuva’ has become a member of Europa Cinemas.
Broaden my knowledge in the fields of brand development and customer relationship management
In order to learn how to strengthen the position of ‘Romuva’ as the only arthouse cinema in the city and bring more visibility as well as attractiveness to it, I have chosen to gain some experience from Filmhouse Cinema in Edinburgh. This cinema is similar to ‘Romuva’ within its social and demographic situation: Filmhouse cinema is the only member of Europa Cinemas in Edinburgh, a city with several cinema venues and almost five hundred thousand citizens. In comparison, there are two other cinemas in Kaunas, both multiplexes; Kaunas has almost three hundred thousand citizens.
Spending three days at Filmhouse was an inspiring time to see, hear and learn about the differences and the similarities between our cinemas. I want to mention that Filmhouse is a trading name of Centre for theMoving age, a company that also runs Edinburgh's International Film Festival, one of the world's first international film festivals (since 1947). In addition, it runs Belmont Filmhouse in Aberdeen. This unquestiona demonstrates the strength in programming and a long-term relationship with audiences.
Surprising for me was that there were four people working on the programme of a three screens cinema although one of them also works for the Festival. The cinema shows 80 – 90 films per month and constantly offers special film cycles. It definitely requires a lot of time, knowledge, finances and other ressources to create special programmes for the audience. But that also highlights its originality. As some of the programmers mentioned to me, the most important thing is to think about the audience and to care about it – and choose to show what is worth seeing. This convinced me that we should also try to create more special programmes. Even though it is not always worth organizing financially speaking, it is enriching for the audience and I am interested in finding the balance between costs and reward, maybe on a longer term.
Another strength of Filmhouse which I am still jealous about is the database system created by the team itself. This tool answered to most part of my questions, such as how you ensure a smooth run of cinema, how you share information between the programmers, technical staff and front-of-house, how you make sure that changes in the programme reach everyone quickly and precisely? So the database system has a lot in it (!). Starting with the programme, you can check the status of each film, whether it is ordered, arrived, checked, etc. Also, you can easily make change, for example put forward a screening, and make it easily visible for the whole team. In addition, the contact list of the films distributors is also there together with remarks regarding which person to contact for theordering, for shipping or invoice. I feel it is a great source of information as well as a very convenient tool in order to organize work. It is a great solution to ensure a smooth run of bigger organizations, but why not apply it to a smaller cinema as well.
Just before the visit to Filmhouse, we had to close ‘Romuva’ in Kaunas for an earlier renovation of the building. Aiming to continue showing films we were searching for a space in other venues. We find it very important to continue our activity and as we are currently moving to another location, we are re-thinking further aspects. We will try to plan more in advance and bring more variety! I am back to ‘Romuva’ refreshed, inspired and enriched.
Thanks a lot to Rod White, James Rice and the rest of the big team of Filmhouse for having me there and sharing their experience. I wish you all the best.
Monika Inceryte - www.kcromuva.lt
Filmhouse - www.filmhousecinema.com