Follow live the Sofia Lab!

21-23 March 2024


In order to satisfy the great interest in the Sofia Lab and allow all European exhibitors and professionals not present in Sofia to follow and catch-up our sessions, the main sessions will be live-streamed on YouTube.

Follow live the Sofia Lab!

The Sofia Innovation Lab will take place from Wednesday 20 to Saturday 23 March 2024. This year’s edition is entitled "Uplift your Skills and Strengths & Embrace New Challenges for your Cinema and Audiences" and will welcome 35 exhibitors from 16 different countries.

Led by Tom de Bont (Executive Director and Special Programmer, HEERENSTRAAT THEATER, Wageningen, The Netherlands) together with Ola Starmach (Event Programmer and Communication officer, KINO POD BARANAMI, Krakow, Poland), the Sofia Lab will be a great opportunity to share approaches and find practical solutions to some of the big questions facing the film sector.

The live-streamed sessions will include a diverse range of topics such as: staying ahead in the digital era, attracting young audiences through social media, AI and innovating marketing strategies, identifying cinema’s strengths and staff skills, implementing sustainable solutions, and developing collective projects.

Timetable for the live sessions (indicated in EET, local time – Sofia, Bulgaria):

Thursday, 21 March 2024 - Unlocking Potential: Marketing, Programming, Communication

SESSION 1 – Marketing Strategies: Staying Ahead in a Fast Changing Environment 

9.30 – 10.00 am

Marvin Wiechert, Yorck Kinos, Germany (Marketing, Audience and Technology Expert) – What is digital marketing? The basics of digital marketing 

Short Q&A

10.00 – 11.00 am

Adrianna Skornicka (Kino Pałacowe, Poznan, Poland): Enhancing cinema brand presence within a multifaceted public institution

Oana Furdea (Union, Bucharest, Romania) - Rebranding the cinema’s identity, through social media  

Claudia Placuzzi (Cinema Eliseo, Italy): How to boost your community engagement with Instagram 

Raul Forcada Delicado (Cines Embajadores, Madrid, Spain): Targeted digital marketing: You are your own best embajador

Short Q&A

12.00 am – 12.30 pm


SESSION 2 – Alternative Programming: Curation and new offers

Tom de Bont (Heerenstraat Theater, The Netherlands) – Short Session Introduction followed by a presentation of Cineville membership card programme 

Sara Horžen (Kinodvor, Ljubljana, Slovenia) - Cinema on Demand – a success story 

Dan Kratky (Cinema Svět, Hodonín, Czech Republic) - Data driven programming 

12.30 am – 1.00 pm

Marvin Wiechert, Yorck Kinos, Germany (Marketing, Audience and Technology Expert) – AA – AI and Arthouse 

Short Q&A

2.30 – 3.15 pm


SESSION 3 – Optimizing Your Communication Means and Tools 

Ola Starmach (Kino Pod Baranami, Poland) – Short Session Introduction 

Amelie Jennequin (Quai10, Charleroi, Belgium) – Gaming with a new audience 

Hester Noordhuis (Filmhuis Slieker, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands) – Standing out in a saturated digital landscape

Züleyha Azman (KINO Rotterdam, Netherlands) – KINO's digital marketing strategy

Short Q&A


Friday, 22 March 2024 - Renewing Audiences: Upskill your Staff to Launch New Services and Partnerships

9.30 – 10.05 am

SESSION 4 – Adapting Projects to Reach Out to New Audiences  

Ola Starmach (Kino Pod Baranami, Poland) – New Young Cinema Ambassadors programme

Hester Simons-Terpstra (Filmhuis Slieker, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands) – Open up to new audiences: The Noordelijk Film Festival and its impact 

Short Q&A

10.05 – 11.15 am 


SESSION 5 – Enhancing the Cinema Experience through Services and Eventisation 

Tom de Bont (Heerenstraat Theater, The Netherlands) – From hospitality to hostmanship 

Dan Kratky (Cinema Svět, Hodonín, Czech Republic) – Refreshment: greening the cinema’s side offer – audience impact 

Patrycja Blindow (Kino Żeglarz, Jastarnia, Poland) - Building seasonal events in seasonal venues

Züleyha Azman (KINO Rotterdam, Netherlands) – Club Nights: the cinema as The-Place-To-Be  

Short Q&A

11.30 am – 12.00 pm


SESSION 6 – Optimizing Human Resources 

Madeleine Probst (Programme Producer, Watershed, Bristol, United Kingdom) – Skills assessment and staff management – on ZOOM

Short Q&A

2.00 – 2.30 pm


SESSION 7 – Talent Management: How to Boost Your Staff Commitment

Despina Miron (Cine Gold, Sibiu, Romania) – Staff management & work ethic implementation 

Margaux Dewigne (Cinema Galeries, Brussels, Belgium) – Teambuilding with your crew 

Ulla Pedersen Estberg (Tollereds biograf - Folkets bio, Tollered, Sweden) – Strategies to bring in and upskill volunteer staff 

Short Q&A

3.00 – 4.00 pm


SESSION 8 – Collaborate To Innovate

Nadia Wolf (Europa Cinemas) – Collaborate to Innovate funding scheme

Greta Dirmauskaite & Gaile Janulevičė (Kaunas Cinema Centre Romuva, Kaunas, Lithuania) – CTI: Playing cinema - Cross border film education programmes 

Lara Stojanović (Kino Mediteran, Split, Croatia) – CTI: Let's Start From 0+! (Krenimo od 0+!)

Margaux Dewigne (Cinema Galeries, Brussels, Belgium) – CTI: Cineville Belgium 

Short Q&A

4.15 – 4.30 pm


SESSION 9 – Strengthening Your Brand through Cross-Border Partnerships 

Sara Horžen (Kinodvor, Ljubljana, Slovenia) - CINEMINI Europe: Young Audience film education programme

Mence Hadji-Kosta Milevska (Centre of culture Bitola, Bitola, North Macedonia) - Building international partnerships with a limited budget under a conventional public structure 

Short Q&A


Saturday, 23 March 2024 - Advancing on Sustainability, Diversity & Inclusion

09.30 – 9.45 am

SESSION 10 – Running an Environmentally Responsible Organisation  

Bianca Popistas (Europa Cinemas) Europa Cinemas Charters 

-         Green & Sustainability Strategy Charter 

-          Gender Balance, Diversity and Inclusion Charter

2.00 – 3.00 pm


SESSION 11 – Running an Inclusive and Diverse Venue 

Sara Horžen (Kinodvor, Ljubljana, Slovenia) - Inclusive cinema: a step further 

Orlando Verde (De Cinema, Antwerp, Belgium): 

Screenings for the impaired

Pavol Sklenka (Kino Úsmev, Košice, Slovakia): Bringing in marginalized groups 

Tomas Tengmark (Bio Bristol, Sundbyberg, Sweden): Mobilising audiences through socially engaging topics 

Short Q&A