News / The Network

 

The Network - 11/10/2016

 

European policy and the dynamism of European films as seen by Christian Bräuer, Secretary General of Europa Cinemas

 

Leipzig’s Filmkunstmesse, the unmissable annual meeting between German cinema exhibitors, took place from 19 to 23 September. 74 films that will be distributed in Germany were shown, and, as is the case every year, the event also played host to numerous exchanges of ideas regarding the evolution of film screening in Europe. Christian Bräuer, a member of the executive committee at AG-Kino Gilde (association of German arthouse cinemas), vice president of the CICAE and secretary general of Europa Cinemas, where he is a member-exhibitor as well, shared his opinion with Filmecho regarding the current state of affairs in the European Commission.

What’s your opinion about the process of digitisation in Europe?

I think that the situation is relatively complicated. At the start, the Commission’s objectives were too stringent. However, Günther Oettinger corrected that attitude and is aware of the peculiarities and vulnerability of the European film market. Nevertheless, there are conflicting interests in Europe. Following on the British vote for Brexit, the Commission has to ask itself how it wants to marry unity and cultural diversity in Europe. This diversity should be understood as a force threatened by the processes striving for market concentration and dominance.

During the European Film Forum in Venice, Günther Oettinger announced that, in the future, Creative Europe will have to offer more support to cinemas for implementing new means of distribution and promotion. Does this mean that a return to day and date releases is on the table?

There are conflicting indications. As a matter of fact, Günther Oettinger clearly stated that the rules appropriate to each state member may differ. We interpret that as an acknowledgement of media chronology, regulated by law in many countries. The Commission is very aware of what film theatres bring to European films in terms of visibility, recognising for instance the success of the Europa Cinemas network as a great example and model of fruitful integration. It’s important that we all discuss how we can support cross-border marketing, for example by using intelligent data analysis.

What new initiatives have been put in place by AG-Kino?

On 9 October, we’ll be organising the first European Art Cinema Day, in association with the CICAE and Europa Cinemas. This European film festival should awaken people’s curiosity for discovery. At the same time, the European Art Cinema Day should demonstrate that arthouse cinemas form part of a strong and visionary movement. In particular, we want to attract young people with innovative events. Monika Grütters and her counterpart Audrey Azoulay support us with this project, and Maren Ade and Isabelle Huppert are our artistic patrons. For this day celebrating European film, there will be previews, screenings of classic films as well as family programmes, accompanied by talks or culinary offerings. We have decided against having a fixed programme as we don’t want to restrict the diversity of 1600 European films to just 16 titles. But of course, there will be the same films in many theatres across a number of countries, with the possibility of interacting via Skype conferences.

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Interview by Birgit Heidsiek from Filmecho Filmwoche n°37/ 16 september 2016 / excerpts

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