Interview with Jasmijn de Visser
Chassé Theater, Breda, Netherlands
In a series of interviews with the exhibitors on its Validation Committee, Europa Cinemas takes stock of the situation facing independent exhibitors across Europe during this time of crisis.
1 - First of all, how are you?
Thanks for asking! I'm fine! I feel lucky that all my close relatives and friends are healthy and safe! I try not to complain, but sometimes I'm just a bit grumpy because I miss all the social and fun things. They give me so much energy in normal life.
2 - How do you manage this particular situation from a professional point of view? Are you and your colleagues currently working?
I work in one of the largest theatres of the Netherlands with more than 2,500 seats and 4 cinema halls. Most of my 120 colleagues are at home, daily there are some 10 people in the building for all work that has to carry on. I'm very glad that I can still work in the theatre instead of my home. The group spirit is wonderful! We are all apart, but stronger together than ever! We have no income from activities, luckily we have local support.
3 - Is there any project you find interesting in order to keep up some activity and which ones were you able to set up?
We did not start any new project, we do share a 'Chassé at home' programme where we broadcast free movies and theatre. It is a great way to carry out some of our artistic goals but I'd rather welcome all guests back in our building.
4 - Do you think that these new activities could continue after the pandemic period?
It's hard to see in the future, some say it will never be as 'in the old days', but I'm a very optimistic person so I think all will be fine eventually. But not this year I'm afraid... when we take into account the 'safe distance' of 1.5 meter, the capacity of our cinema halls drop more than 30%.
5 - What are the initiatives of the State and regional/local public institutions to help movie theatres in this period of crisis? Do financial supports exist or are they being explored?
There are number of big and smaller initiatives. Our government has set up an enormous programme to help all entrepreneurs, self-employed people and different support programmes for each sector. It's amazing how decisive and fast these things arise. We have a charity foundation ourselves, an anonymous donor just wired us €75.000 to support local small businesses in performing arts. Next week we will start assigning this money to those in need. These times of crisis make the hardest things happen, we stand up for each other!
6. What are your biggest concerns for the coming months? In your relationship with your audience, do you have any fears or, on the contrary, do you see easons for optimism ?
It's hard to see the near future. I heard this strong statement on the radio from a website builder: these days are not for conversion, but for conversation. So we aim on strengthening the relationship with our audience, social media are so helpful right now.
Adrian Preda, Antoine Bernard