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The Network - 07/11/2016


Europa Cinemas Awards 2016 - Best Young Audience Activities - Moviemento & City Kino, Linz, Austria


Linz arthouse era started in 1990, with the two small auditoriums of Cinema Moviemento (83 and 50 seats). In 1999 our “Association for the promotion of communicative cinema culture” acquired and renovated the City Kino, and in doing so probably saved it from closure. We run our cinemas as a non-profit organisation, ensuring that any surplus funds are ploughed back. A third screen was added at Moviemento in 2007, while at City Kino we soon decided to transform the small third screen into Café Stern.

We have always believed that a good food and drinks offer is a strong point of our cinemas. With its “Gelbes Krokodil” [Yellow Crocodile] restaurant and the trendy bar “Solaris”, Moviemento offers two destinations that really pull in the public. DJ sets also attract lots of young people to the venue every weekend. In summer Linz’s OK-Platz, where the cinema is located, becomes one of the city’s hot spots. Being part of a building hosting a centre for contemporary art (“Offenes Kulturhaus”) is also a major advantage for Moviemento. Both our cinemas are located in the city centre. Since two multiplexes arrived on the outskirts of the city no other cinema has survived here. It is very important to us to ensure our cinemas are well equipped, in terms of both comfort and technology (3D, 4K, HFR, etc.). Nevertheless, we do not try to compete with the multiplexes and we specialise in arthouse productions. Obviously, there is some overlap in our programming and in such cases we focus on original versions with subtitles and do not screen any dubbed versions, with exceptions in the case of children’s films. 


During our weekly young audience screening programme called Kinderkino we don’t show any blockbuster such as Finding Dory, which makes reaching the target audience more difficult. However, our engagement in collaborating with different children organisations and schools allows us to reach the younger viewers. For instance we collaborate with the youth association Kinderfreunde (Children’s Friends) to organise our Kinderfilmfestival and with Education Group - the schooling project launched by the Government of Upper Austria – for a structured school screening cycle with a pedagogical goal and discussions afterwards. We also organise special school screenings through direct contact with the teachers of Linz schools.

Young people aged 14 and above used to be a minority within the context of our regular cinema operations. The “Filmring der Jugend” youth film club has been working for a number of decades now to get this target group interested in non-mainstream cinema. Through this initiative young people get to view films in advance and put the programme together with teachers. With around 1,500 admissions for the 6 films part of this programme, attendances have now tripled, in contrast to the demographic trend. Members of the “Filmring der Jugend” also benefit from significant reductions on cinema tickets for a whole year.

AT_ok_03_304_Wolfgang Steininger (c) SabineKoestler

The cornerstone of our young audience activities are special screenings for schools and other groups. Here our specialisation on original language versions is also beneficial. Teachers insert our school screenings in original language especially within the context of foreign language studies. We send information on the films on the bill to schools every month and we break this down into themes and language versions. At present we are passing this information on personally to some 350 teachers. In 2015 this resulted in 380 screenings of more than 100 films with almost 10,000 admissions. Since 1994 Peter Müller is serving as Young Audience Coordinator and has been supporting teachers with a great deal of attentiveness and patience.

There are other activities that are not always reflected in the statistics, but that are just as important in our view: students on audiovisual courses at the University of Art and Design of Linz can present their final projects and screen the films they created as part of the final assessment for their degree free of charge at the cinema. The students of music video production often give premieres of their works after the last screening of the day.

Since 2004 we have been hosting the “Crossing Europe” festival, which we also co-founded. Christine Dollhofer, the Festival manager, primarily tries to attract younger audiences with her programming, while the “Local Artist” section has provided a fitting platform for the creative scene in the region of Upper Austria.

The majority of people who visit our cinemas do not come from the city of Linz, but from the surrounding area. The travelling cinema we have been operating since 1995, Wanderkino, has proven extremely beneficial in this regard. The 80 or so screenings we organise every year in places without a cinema certainly create awareness of the kind of programming we offer. Our small, 200-seat open-air cinema high up on the roof of the “Offenes Kulturhaus” is our summer attraction and makes going to the cinema a more comfortable experience when the weather is hot.

Twenty-six years ago we started out with the ambition of attracting 30,000 to 40,000 visitors a year to our cinema. We immediately surpassed this target. Since the two multiplexes were opened in Linz, our admissions have steadily increased to around 145,000, thanks in part, of course, to the increased capacities. I do not want to make any predictions about our future development, but even stagnation would be a major success. I am thrilled that, at the age of 60, I am still fortunate enough to be part of the team at a young and leading European cinema.

Wolfgang Steininger, Director