Joined by Lionello Cerri (CEO, Anteo and Producer, Lumière & Co, Italy), Heinrich-Georg Kloster (CEO, Yorck Kinogruppe, Germany) and Bero Beyer (General and Artistic Director, IFFR, Netherlands), Michael Gubbins led the room through a series of case studies in how to capitalise on the evolving cultural landscape in direct correlation with the evolving cinema experience. “The audience is changing and the experience needs to change to meet that,” Gubbins began.
Awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year”, Cerri kicked off with reference to their new complex in Milan. He talked about the importance of working as a team, to share opinions and to create places where people come together. Anteo’s new model for a cinema complex begins and ends with the social experience – though film is comfortably sandwiched in between. In addition to screening films, they offer reading rooms, cafes, bars, and classroom spaces to encourage discussion, before, after and as well as watching films. They take their cues from the public, adapting to demand and prioritising making the audience “feel at home”.
In Berlin, the opportunity to re-create and rescue cinema spaces really kicked off in the 1980s. Closely observing audience demand, Yorck Kinogruppe look at geography and demographics to target the right product at the right audience: screening more documentaries for students and staging more children’s activities in areas where families are prominent. Thanks to the Berlinale and their relationshio with the A-List festival, they were further able to launch international content in its original language, and were the very first cinema group in Germany to do so.
Bero Beyer, singing the praises of “quality narratives throughout Europe”, which provide rich content for our cinema screens, was compassionate to the challenges Cristian Mungiu presented in the previous keynote interview, but beamed with enthusiasm for the future of cinema. “Festivals are doing awesome,” he said. International Film Festival Rotterdam make sure that in addition to a professional audience, they cater to a further 10,000 school kids and local cinema-goers. One key word Beyer threw into the mix was ‘interacting’; engaging in a dialogue with audiences is paramount to successful programming. Instead of thinking about branding, Beyer focuses on understanding the narratives that matter to audiences and further aims to give the festival an identity they can connect with.
Finally, Professor Kazu Blumfeld Hanada and Diego Kaiser of Hands on Cinema! spoke about their experience in working directly with students from the Münster School of Architecture to design cinema spaces. The advantages of this approach are many; the students bring a fresh and outside perspective on the functionality and appeal of the cinema space, they also preferene accessibility and visibility, as well as creating spaces for social events from the outset.
Each of the speakers were clear in saying that collectively and collaboratively is the only way to create and regenerate cinema spaces. If social activity is at the heart of cinema then it must be in the heart of a social space.
Photographs courtesy of Ionut Dobre.