News / The Network


The Network - 25/11/2006


Jukka-Pekka Laakso, Niagara Cinema, Tampere (Finland)



 "To ensure quality programming you have to find alternative solutions"
You run the Niagara in Tampere. How did that cinema start up?
It was created in 1992, but the association that manages it (Pirkannaa Film Center) had already been active in Tampere for 10 years. The Niagara was opened to respond to public demand for a welcoming, comfortable ambiance. The old theatre no longer corresponded to quality norms audiences were entitled to expect. In addition it wasn't located downtown, which made it less attractive. Today, the Niagara has 129 seats and an arthouse programming unique in the region.
Why did you decide to install a digital video projector this year?
We installed a 1.3 K projector to be more flexible. The major problem with arthouse cinemas in Finland is getting the films. Compared with other European countries the Finnish market appears much smaller, and consequently there are fewer releases. So to ensure quality programming you have to find alternative solutions, and digital is one of them.
How many films do you show each year?
Roughly 200, which is more than the two multiplexes in the city which have 14 screens. We organise a lot of activities and participate in the Tampere Festival. Over and above what we traditionally receive from distributors we have to find films ourselves to make the offer more attractive. We get them through embassies and foreign cultural associations. Most of the time the prints are subtitled in English, but that's not a problem for our audiences. And it allows us to reach different audiences, like foreign residents and tourists.
Our clientele is mostly composed of film buffs and students. We have admissions of almost 30,000 per year. Our audiences are very loyal, and above all very involved in the life of the cinema.
You do a lot of work aimed at young audiences.
We've created a programme called School Cinema to open youngsters' eyes to European cinema. Working together with the teachers, we've managed to reach children who're not at all familiar with this kind of cinema. When they come to the Niagara, they discover something they never knew existed.
November 2006, excerpts from Europa Cinemas' Newsletter (that you can download here )