News / The Network Imprimer
The Network - 04/12/2014
Europa Cinemas Awards 2014 - Entrepreneur of the Year
Ivo Andrle is programme supervisor of Kino Aero, Bio OKO and cinema Svetozor, Prague’s cult movie theaters, and co-owner and CEO at Aerofilms, one of the Czech Republic’s leading art-house distribution companies.
Can you tell us more about your professional experience, from exhibition to distribution?
As a student, without any experience in running a film theatre, I joined two crazy guys who took over an old dying cinema called “Aero” and invested all their money to build a bar in the lobby. This was before multiplexes showed up in Prague. Aero quickly became very popular, not only for the programming, but also for its relaxed atmosphere. For us, the content (programming) and the “face” (atmosphere, communication) were equally important. SOCIAL EXPERIENCE is the key weapon that cinemas have and it’s up to them to be able to sell it to their audiences. We were lucky enough to be able to run several cinemas, set up our own small distribution company (Aero Film) and also look for some other opportunities related to our core activities (catering, event organization, marketing, promotion etc.).
Do you have any upcoming project you would like to share with us?
We are just beginning a new project called “SCOPE50” supported by the MEDIA Programme. Distributors in five different territories have to find 50 people in each territory, show them 10 films online and get the feedback in order to find the one film that is worth a theatrical release (before the summer 2015). The 50 persons are then going to actively participate in the campaign planning and execution.
As a distributor yourself, what is your biggest hit?
So far, our biggest film ever was Citizen Havel – a documentary (!) about our former president gained over 170,000 cinema admissions. Lately, we reached unexpected numbers with Nymphomaniac (over 120,000 cumulative for both parts). However our usual pattern is much smaller, sometimes fewer than 10,000 admissions for a film. But we have been able to find a business model even for this type of films, which is important for us as this enables us to buy and distribute films that we and our audiences like and be sustainable in the same time.
Can you tell us more about the FilmJukeBox system?
FJB is our reach into the “Cinema-on-Demand” universe, where you ask your audience what they want to see. At the beginning, we were quite skeptical about making the audiences buy tickets long time in advance. We rather use the FJB as a “poll” activity and active communication with our audiences. We try to preselect films that we’d like to show anyway and basically let people choose the most wanted one. It’s been working well, many cinemas in the territory joined us and use our web platform for their own events.
Can you tell us more about Aerovod?
Three years ago, we wanted to put our films online for legal use. At that time, the existing platforms were all offering content that was very different from ours and they did not want to give our films extra branding or space on the front page etc. So we decided to build our whole platform aerovod.cz with a player called Distrify. Thanks to the very close cooperation with the cinemas, we were able to promote the online platform to our core audiences and it started to pick up nicely.
What are your experiences so far with day-and-date releases?
The biggest title we released day-and-date was Ida last July. And we did it because at that time Ida was already pirated in excellent HD quality online. We had nothing to lose by going out together. In most cases, part of the motivation to go day-and-date is that smaller films can’t afford bigger campaigns, so once you already promote the theatrical release, it might be useful to fly the VoD release on the same wings. In many cities, people do not have a chance to see the title in theatre – while they might read about the film for example in national newspapers and learn about the online possibility to watch it. In November, we plan to release Finding Vivian Maier, first on VoD for a few weeks and switch to cinemas afterwards. We want to use the VoD exclusivity as part of the campaign for a smaller film to get higher awareness and build some positive word-of-mouth.