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Activities - 24/05/2011


Young audiences, marketing strategies, neuroscience, platforms, social networks… Europa Cinemas is back from Bologna


The annual Young Audience Seminar organized by Europa Cinemas in Bologna came to an end last Wednesday, 30th June.  Its main theme, “Making an Impression” brought together around 40 participants and speakers from all over the world to discuss to what extent cinemas find themselves at the crossroad between audiences and New Technologies.


Each year is more fascinating than the last: the seminar considered how young audiences can be brought together through the use, in particular, of new technologies, within the setting of the Il Cinema Ritrovato festival, which focuses on classic films. Nowadays new technologies allow cultural institutions, and specifically cinemas, to update their relationship with their audiences, as well as the way they communicate with them.  And we are just at the beginning of this revolution in practices. This is why one of the challenges of the seminar is to share the expertise that some already have in this field.

 Ian Christie, director of the session, Vice-President of Europa Cinemas, and professor in Film Studies at Birbeck University, and the two moderators, Madeleine Probst (from the Watershed Media Centre in Bristol) and Leendert De Jong (from Filmhuis den Haag), took up the challenge with gusto. Their nationalities, British and Dutch respectively, highlight the head start that independent cinemas from those two countries have had in the application of new technologies and social networks.

In addition to the speakers, the Seminar welcomed a record number of participants: there were 36 arthouse exhibition professionals, mostly European, but also from Latin America (Costa Rica, Equador), North Africa (Tunisia, Morocco) and Asia (South Korea) as part of Europa Cinemas International.

And what did they talk about? The perception of the moving image and neuroscience, for example, with Tom Troscianko from the University of Bristol.  This is certainly a hot topic for the future, since it raises questions with regards to 3D…The relationship between a cinema’s programming, knowledge of its public, and strategic marketing was a running subject during the 5 days: how can cinemas adapt, or learn to adapt, commercial strategies and technologies which were not necessarily intended for the cultural domain?  It was in this context that the subject of new platforms was addressed, along with the role of the film critic in the digital age, with the help of blogger Jonathan Rosenbaum.Also of note, were the discussions with Rachel Castell (Moviepilot, Germany), and Fiona Maxwell (ITV, UK).


“I am in the business of culture more than in the culture of business. Cinema can deeply engage the audience. The audience wants to have an argument.”

Mark Cosgrove, Watershed Media Centre

These topics combined help us realize to what extent the film theatre is at the crossroads between traditional practices and technology: the film theatre is neither an art institution that presents its findings to an audience, nor a commercial enterprise that responds only to customer demand. If it uses new technologies, it is to build a community around its cultural content.

These subjects will be addressed again during the next Network Conference in Paris, 18-21 November 2010, but could also be the basis for the Young Audience seminar we plan to organize in Asia.

Finally, the participants also had the opportunity to attend the excellent festival during which it took place – Il Cinema Ritrovato, organized by the Cinemateca di Bologna -  with screenings such as the newly restored print of Visconti’s The Leopard and shorts by the Lumière brothers… in 3D!

Photo: Rachael Castell

More info, here

Cineteca di Bologna