Bologna, Day 1 – Let’s try some “humaning”

Saturday, 22 June 2019IMG_1926

A Bolognese Innovation Lab always kicks off with the sparks of the dashing blue-rimmed glasses (this year matched with a blue jacket) of Gian Luca Farinelli, the General Director of the Cineteca di Bologna and the Festival Cinema Il Ritrovato. This outstanding cinephile and visionary opened the discussion by highlighting Europa Cinemas’ responsibility and achievement in finding answers to make Europe more connected. The film theatre is according to him the real definition of what “cinema” is. Despite the many other ways available to watch a film nowadays, Gian observes that in Men there is this deep and powerful feeling and demand to BE TOGETHER, to meet and laugh together.

He is very confident for instance that his screening of a Chaplin’s film during the Il Retrovato festival will be a success. Experiencing film together is modernity, it was, is and will be. Gian can immediately spot when cinema theaters are led by an exhibitor and a team with a vision. That’s why he feels connected to the lab audience and that’s why he welcomes and encourages these meetings.



Claude‐Eric Poiroux, General Director of Europa Cinemas then highlighted the deep connection between his network and Bologna Cineteca: 15 years of lab now with the precious support of Elisa Giovannelli since the beginning. More than 45 participants are here this year, representing some 22 countries from the European Union but also Ukraine, Switzerland and the United States. One of the reasons might be that the topic this year “Generation Z” is extremely relevant and that the network members are deeply involved. Young people are faced with a multitude of images and exhibitor and cinema staff should accompany them in what they do of and with them. As Gian rightly stated it, human beings especially young people must go out and we should make sure they find their way to art house cinemas and and come back. CEP then assured his audience that the Europa Cinemas team’s drive is to support the network members and he feels pretty confident that it is clear enough, seeing the room full. Never were there as many applications as this year!

 MEET THE LAB “FACILITATORS” (yes, the choice of the word matters a lot to them)

Madeleine Probst, Programme Producer at Watershed, UK and Vice‐President of Europa Cinemas, is probably the most seasoned innovation lab individual in the universe and she began as a participant! Lovely and deadpan Daniel Sibbers is the Marketing Director of Yorck Kinogruppe in Germany and according to him the asset of these labs is realizing that your issues are those of someone else as well and that solutions are to be shared even if the contexts are different. As Evelyne Pillet from the Europa Cinema team would later entrust the group: by travelling you notice we are all very different but very similar too! One other precious tip Daniel shared is to “mind the step at the front door” of Sala Cervi !



Hrvoje Laurenta, the Manager of Kino Europa in Croatia is at the moment undergoing a tricky situation as his venue is bound to be closed by the municipality, but an incredible community stands around it and he will be able to share with the participants his experience and ideas. You will see, he always keeps his contagious stamina and smile <3 <3



Before coming, participants answered a questionnaire on their vision of what cinema is and how they would describe the lab. In the Sala Cervi, a constellation of words hit the screen: cute, eclectic, polestar… And the main topics which came up from the questionnaires were: “communication and branding” as well as “spaces and perception”, “competition” and “partnerships”. The constellation was then replaced by a chart called “Bodies, Spaces and Communities” by Johanna Koljonen which shows that films are certainly at the center of practices but around them are people and communities.

Greta Thunberg was next in the presentation, a Gen Zer who is not afraid of being unpopular and say it as it is, highly mediatized for her fight for the protection of the environment. Young people of her generation will come and chat with the lab participants on Sunday. This is probably the best and most natural way to be in touch with the mindset of our time ! The time was finally up for the participants to express their expectations by way of Madeleine’s cult post-its: learning from others’ mistakes, listening, be playful, openminded, social interaction, cooperative were some of the values and aims which came up.




What binded a lot of people today was the panic zone (where everyone met when asked to grab the mic and introduced themselves)…But we heard about many strengths of the participants, be they social media, broadening audiences, creating events and partnerships but also about their doubts and needs.

We also heard about crush on actors which tear one’s heart apart, the attachment to Cinema Paradiso, Home Aloneand the Neverending story…Quite a crowd really !

But have a look at Madeleine’s list to have a more comprehensive recap of the presentations :


Until tomorrow, good day everyone!





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Gian Luca and Claude-Eric’s coolest hand clapping.

Charlotte Wensierski