Speakers of the Conference – SATURDAY


Session 3 – Adapting to the Shifting Cinema Landscape

Workshop 1 – Smart Data & Smart People

BEN JOHNSON CEO Gruvi, Denmark


My name is Ben Johnson and I am the CEO at Gruvi: global marketing technology platform that helps entertainment companies reach and convert audience for movies and games. We work internationally across all key markets from Europe to Asia Pacific.

IDA THOREN Exhibitor, Fyrisbiografen, Sweden

She is the project leader for an audience development project at the cinema Fyrisbiografen, Uppsala, Sweden.
With a background in modern and contemporary dance I just accidentally fell into the film world. But what a great accident! I started working in a Swedish film history foundation, but then proceeded to work at an art house cinema. Simultaneously, I’ve also worked as a producer in free culture sphere. I love to be creative!
Currently, I am working with analyzing audience data, to develop new cinema concepts at Fyrisbiografen and I lead a development project including six art house cinemas in the Swedish Folkets Bio cinema chain. In this project, we work according to the Fyris model, the same model that we applied at the Fyrisbiografen in 2017 and won the Europa Cinema innovation award 2018.

BOB VAN DER MEER General Manager of the Movies, Amsterdam and Filmhallen

Since its opening in 2014 FilmHallen has grown to become the largest independent cinema in the Netherlands. The Movies opened in 1912 and now is one of the oldest cinemas in Netherlands. Responsible for operations in both cinemas, including marketing, HR and projection. Worked previously as a ticketing and e-commerce consultant and in various other positions in the Dutch cultural sector.

FRANK GROOT Co-founder/programmer/financial director KINO Rotterdam

© Van Dijl

After a study of econometrics Frank worked four years as head of finance/legal/co-productions for Amsterdam-based film producer Rinkel Film. Together with Jan de Vries, Frank in 2016 started the independent cinema KINO Rotterdam, where he is in charge of finances, partnerships and shares with Jan their first love and reason for starting KINO: the film programming. On their four screens, KINO show the best current and repertory cinema has to offer – from Europa Cinemas label winners to Hollywood classics and everything in between. Frank is board member of Cineville and the national cinema voucher, and advises the Dutch Film Fund on film festival applications.

OLLIE FEGAN CEO, Usheru, Ireland

Oliver is CEO and one of the co-founders of usheru. Before setting up with his two co-founders, Catherine Downes and Andres Macias, Ollie worked in the technology consulting space helping large FMCG companies develop new and innovative technology solutions to improve efficiency. He set up usheru in 2014 and in the last 5 years they have worked with many of the major film studios from Universal to Sony and Paramount to enable them to measure their marketing campaigns against actual ticket sales. In 2019, they raised Venture Capital funding from Foresight Group to grow their team and innovative suite of products. usheru also just received Creative Europe funding to develop a solution to make finding European films easier from festivals, to cinema and home entertainment. This product will be launched in 2020.

Workshop 2 – Digital Marketing Strategies: How Do Films And Venues Stand Out And get Noticed?

IRENE MUSUMECI, Film Marketing Manager, Exhibition, Curzon Artificial Eye, UK

Irene is Marketing Manager at Curzon Cinemas, operating 14 cinemas (40+ screens) in the UK. Originally from Bologna, she moved to London to study and work as a theatre director and dramaturge. She taught Film and Literature at the University of Kent while completing her PhD in Film Studies. Irene has worked for leading film companies including Dogwoof and Fandango Portobello. She collaborates with a number of culture festivals, magazines and podcasts across Europe.

MARVIN WIECHERT Digital Marketing Manager, Yorck Kinogruppe, Germany

Marvin studied Literature, Arts and Media in Konstanz where he started working at the local independent cinema Zebra Kino. He worked at German Distributor DCM and crafted marketing campaigns for titles such as MOONLIGHT and I, TONYA. Since August 2018, he is working at Yorck Kinogruppe, where he acts as the editor-in-chief for all Social Media channels and manages digital loyalty and audience development strategies.


Thierry is a 17 years veteran in the industry. He has been the co-founder and development director of CN FILMS, a French company that develops software and services for film distributors, particularly:

CINEGO DISTRI, a booking and billing software used by 80% of distributors in France, and now also available in Germany

CINEGO STOCK, a DCP delivery platform connected to 1500 independent theatres.

He has founded CINE SOCIETY in 2019, which aims at providing exhibitors with tools to efficiently manage the communication with their customers. The first module, launched in January 2020, focuses on social networks. It will allow exhibitors of any size to easily communicate on their upcoming releases and special events, and build a strong online community in a very simple and rapid way.

HANNAH HIGGINSON Engagement Producer, Watershed Cinema, UK

Hannah Higginson is Engagement Producer at Watershed, a cultural cinema and digital media centre in Bristol, UK. Working with the engagement team Hannah has designed and delivered a range of inclusive projects that develop young people’s creativity and digital skills, providing platforms for their voices and pathways into the creative industries. Projects have included Rife Magazine – an online platform for young people by young people and BFI Film Academy – a talent development programme for aspiring film talent. Before working at Watershed she worked in fashion education, coordinating projects focused on sustainability for Labour Behind the Label and University of the Arts London.

IRINI SIGA Exhibitor, Biografcentralen, Sweden

Irini Siga is the Marketing and Communication Manager at Swedish non-profit Art House organization Biografcentralen as well as the website for independent cinemas called Bio.se. She has worked with Marketing and PR for theatrical distribution for 7 years at Scandinavian distributor Scanbox Entertainment. She also has a background in working at the Stockholm Film Festival as well as with Marketing for performing arts and theatre productions. Irini is the founder and curator of the online education Digital Marketing for Cinemas (DMC) that was released in Sweden in September of 2019. DMC is a tailored Digital Marketing education for independent cinemas who want to work more strategical and get hands on knowledge on how to better their digital marketing efforts.

JENS LANESTRAND Exhibitor, Biografcentralen, Sweden

Jens Lanestrand is the Director of Biografcentralen, a non-profit art house organization in Sweden. Biografcentralen has been in the industry since 2011 and offer trainings for exhibitors, network, distribution, and also run the webpage www.bio.se where the audience can find tickets to over 200 independent cinemas all over the country.

Biografcentralen aim is to develop the Swedish independent & art house sector and has recent launched a new online training “Digital Marketing for Cinemas”, DMC, which in the beginning of 2020 will be translated into English and other languages. Jens is always looking for international partnerships and is eager to team up with organisations on national and regional level in Europe about DMC.

Jens is also a cinema-blogger and known for Cinemas for Climate, an inspiration, under development, for cinemas to help them lower their negative impact on climate.

Session 3 – Adapting to the Shifting Cinema Landscape: Workshop 3 – Making Cinemas More Open, Inclusive And Sustainable

EEF DE LOMBAERDE Audience officer, Kunstencentrum BUDA, Belgium

Curiosity definitely did not kill my cat. I want to know everything about everything, and I’m always on the lookout for a new adventure or challenge. I have an interdisciplinary background in education, and I’m currently finishing my masters in economics & language arts, while doing audience development at arts centre BUDA. Before this, I founded the educational and audience development department the International Film Festival of Ghent. My job as an Audience Developer for film at arts centre BUDA complements my enthusiasm for culture & people. I want everyone to have the chance to experience culture. Therefore, my crazy ambitious goal is to remove all thresholds people might encounter when visiting BUDA. In May 2019 different audience development actions focussed on youngsters in socially vulnerable positons were awarded the Innovation Prize of Europa Cinemas! Jiha!

KRISTOFER WOODS, Co-Programmer, projectionist

Kris Woods

Studied Film History at Queen Mary University of London. Began work in various commercial film archives before moving into photo-chemical lab work at Deluxe Soho. Moved towards experimental cinema through work as a developer at artist run film lab no.w.here. Left London for Berlin in 2012 where, after a two year period as a kindergarten teacher, became involved in the renovation and founding of Wolf. He programmed a complete retrospective of the work of Peter Watkins as well as edited the first complete book of his work.


Jean-Marc Lalo

After working as an engineer for construction companies and for important architecture agencies in Paris specialised in cinema theatres and concert halls, Jean-Marc founds his own agency in 2001 when commissioned to design the laying out of the Parisian contemporary art centre “Le Plateau”. Since 2002 he leads projects aiming to construct, rehabilitate and reopen cinema theatres in France, in the Middle East and in Africa. Today, his agency is in charge of the construction of many cinema theatres in Europe and Africa. His projects witness a deep reflection about the digital revolution and the urban positioning of the cultural places.

Rachel Hayward Head of Film, HOME, Manchester, UK

Rachel Hayward.jpg
Rachel has 15 years’ experience in film exhibition, festival programming and film education.  As a senior member of HOME’s Artistic Strategy Group, she has responsibility for programming and producing seasons and festivals, developing partnerships, curating engagement activity, and fundraising.   Rachel has led the programming of Viva Spanish and Latin American Film Festival since 2009; and key curatorial projects for 2019 include Not Just Bollywood and the wide-reaching Celebrating Women in Global Cinema.

Rachel is the chair of Film Hub North’s Cultural Leadership Group and a Trustee of the Alliance Française de Manchester.

Workshop 4 – Getting Into The Mindset of New Generations

MATHIAS FOURNIER Project coordinator, International Contis Festival

Mathias Fournier

After graduated in Political Science at the University of Bordeaux, Mathias Fournier has worked several years as a journalist for the alternative French radio Radio Nova. Then he graduated from his studies with a Master Degree « Media, Art and Creation » at HEC Paris and has worked in the distribution department of the film production company Les Films du Losange. He worked on the release of Staying Vertical (Alain Guiraudie) Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas), Happy End (Michael Haneke) and Olli Maki (Juho Kuosmanen). He joined the team Cinema de Contis in 2017 as a project coordinator for the International Contis Festival. He is now in charge of a European cooperation project aiming to develop immersive experiences in cinema. At the same time, he is finishing his first documentary for French television.


Stefana Dragan

Stefana Dragan is based in London, UK and has an extensive background in cinema management. She is currently a Marketing Coordinator at MUBI, a curated global streaming service. At MUBI, she looks after MUBI GO, an innovative cinema-going product that launched in the UK in 2018.

METKA DARIS Director of Kinodvor

Metka Dariš

Metka Dariš is a director of Kinodvor. City cinema, the public institution founded by Ljubljana municipality. Previously she has served as head of the Museum Department of the Slovenian Cinematheque for over seven years. Prior to that she was a part of the core team that conceived and launched the Cinematheque and later undertook Kinodvor’s renovation and conversion into an art house cinema.

In addition to continuing to fulfil Kinodvor’s mission, the biggest challenge in future will be the realisation of the joint plan of Kinodvor and the Ljubljana municipality to construct a new miniplex – as an additonal Kinodvor’s cinema – in the Ljubljana city centre, scheduled to open exactly one hundred years after Kinodvor first opened its doors.

GRETA AKCIJONAITE Founder and CEO of Greta Garbo Film

Greta Akcijonaite

Greta is the founder and CEO of Greta Garbo Films, a distribution company in Lithuania. She has worked actively in Lithuanian film industry since 2005. Her experience includes programming for film festivals (Vilnius International Film Festival “Kino pavasaris”, Vilnius Documentary Film Festival, Women Film Festival), film distribution (over 50 titles of European cinema), project management (“#EuropeanFilmChallenge”, “Cinema under the stars”, etc.). Recently Greta Akcijonaitė opened a new boutique and delicatessen cinema in Vilnius – Kino Deli, with only 26 seats.

Session 4 – The Future Of Independent Film in The Streaming Era: Panel 1 – How Can Cinemas And Streaming Platforms Co-Exist?

Dr. PETER MERRINGTON Research Associate in the School of Social & Political Sciences at The Universit of Glasgow

Peter Merrington

His research focuses on questions of place, region and mobility in film and visual art. He works on the AHRC-funded project ŒBeyond the Multiplex: Audiences for Specialised Film in English Regions¹. Previously, he was Assistant Director of AV Festival in North East England and he received his PhD in Fine Art from Newcastle University (2016).

JAKUB DUSZYNSKI Film distributor, festival programmer and former co-president of Europa Distribution

Jakub Duszynski

Jakub Duszynski is a film distributor, festival programmer and former co-president of Europa Distribution. For the past 22 years, he’s been head of acquisitions and the creative director for Gutek Film, Poland’s leading art house company. He was also for many years Programme Director of Poland’s major film festival New Horizons. He is a member of European Film Academy and served as a member Lux Prize jury for 10 years.

MIRA STALEVA Exhibitor & Managing Director Dom Na Kinoto/Sofia International Film festival, Bulgaria

Mira Staleva

After her studies in  theology and psychology Mira Staleva changed the direction and become  involved in different areas of audiovisual world – so far  25  years. She started working at Cinema House and Sofia International Film Festival since its very beginning and currently she is a managing director of the company behind Cinema House, Sofia IFF and Sofia Meetings, production and distribution – Art Fest Ltd.

Sofia IFF is the biggest film festival in Bulgaria and the only one accredited by FIAPF. Variety has labelled Sofia IFF as one of the 50 unmissable film forums in the world.

Sofia Meetings is a coproduction market which is focused on projects of upcoming directors and gather more than 400 key industry executives – producers, funds,sales, distributors, exhibitors from all over Europe.

Mira is involved in consulting, development, production, distribution and exhibition of audiovisual content.

She is also teaching at the National Film Academy Bulgaria and New Bulgarian University. Appointed as a jury member of numerous festivals and industry platforms including San Sebastian, Karlovy Vary, Gijon,Warsaw, Crossing Europe, Arras FF, Antalya Film Forum,Thessaloniki,  Cottbus, Odessa to mention a few. Member of European Film Academy.

FREDERIC CORVEZ Sales Agent & Distributor, Urban Distribution International, France

Frédéric Corvez

Frédéric Corvez started his career at Equinoxe (Sony Pictures Intl and Canal +) where he was in charge of the international development. A s member of the reading group at Studio Canal, he contributed to the creation of Kanpaï Distribution. Then, he joined successively MK2 and Celluloid Dreams where he directed and developed the TV department. He taught Economy of Cinema at La Sorbonne Nouvelle and is an Expert for the European Commission.  In 2004, he founded URBAN DISTRIBUTION INTL, a World Sales Company. In 2009, Frédéric Corvez founded URBAN FACTORY, an independent company dedicated to domestic productions and international coproductions. In 2011, Frédéric Corvez has also extended its activities to theatrical distribution in France with a new company: URBAN DISTRIBUTION. He is a member of Unifrance Board and executive committee, Treasorer of l’Adef – The Union of French World Sales – and Vice President of Europa International.


Jon Barrenechea

Jon Barrenechea is VP Marketing at MUBI, a curated global streaming service. Jon has 20 years experience working in the film industry, across production, exhibition, distribution and now streaming. At Picturehouse Cinemas in the UK he led the development of new cinemas and later led the cinemas marketing team. He’s run marketing and cinema development workshops for CICAE and Europa Cinemas. At MUBI, Jon has led the launch in the UK and the international expansion of MUBI GO, the game-changing cinema-going app launched in 2018.

Panel 2 – The essential value of cinema in film promotion

Law Degree from the University of Barcelona (UB) and MBA- Management of Audiovisual Communication Companies. Univ.Ramón Llull.

Currently Business Director of A CONTRACORRIENTE FILMS of which he is a co-founder partner. A CONTRACORRIENTE FILMS is an independent distribution company that also manage some cinemas in Madrid and Barcelona. ACF also produce an average of 2 films per year.

EDUARDO ESCUDERO Exhibitor & Distributor, A Contracorriente Films, Spain

Eduardo Escudero

He began his professional activity in the audiovisual sector, in Grupo Filmax as Business Affairs, participating in the start of operations of this company in the intelligence field. and participating in the launch of a department specialized in the production of animated feature films (FILMAX ANIMATION).

Later he held the positions of Business Affairs and responsible for TV sales at DeAPlaneta.

He participated in NOTRO FILMS as a partner, serving as general director, a company that joined MANGA FILMS to become Vertice 360º in which he held the position of deputy director of the cinema area.

ANDREA OCCHIPINTI Distributor & Exhibitor, Lucky red/Circuito Cinema, Italy

Andrea Occhipinti

As a professional who has always been involved in the industry, Andrea Occhipinti founded LUCKY RED in 1987 and over the past thirty years he successfully distributed almost 500 theatrical features and produced over fifty titles. From 2013 to 2018 he served as president of the Distributor’s association of Anica (Italian association of audiovisual industries) contributing to the new Italian Cinema law approved at the end of 2016.

As President of Anica, he was also the initiator of the recent summer theatrical programming development. In 2014, he received a DAVID DI DONATELLO Special Award for his commitment in theatrical distribution. In 2015 he has been awarded with the European Film Award for Best European Co-Producer. In 2019, Andrea won his second DAVID DI DONATELLO as Best Italian Producer (SULLA MIA PELLE). Occhipinti is also CEO of CIRCUITO CINEMA, leader circuit in Italy on Festival and Awarded films programming.

DANIELA ELSTNER Executive Director, Unifrance, France

Born in Germany and a graduate of the Université Paris VII with a master’s degree in Modern Literature, Daniela Elstner began her career in the French film industry at UniFrance in 1996. In October 1998 she joined Les Films du Losange, where she set up the production company’s international sales department, alongside Margaret Menegoz.
In 2008, Elstner moved to Doc & Film International as managing director and shareholder. Under her leadership, the film and television distribution company broadened its scope to include drama feature films and documentaries, building up a catalogue of over 800 films that are sold all around the world and have won acclaim from international critics and festivals.
Daniela Elstner has also served as president of the French Film Exporters’ Association (ADEF) since 2015, which has played a crucial role in the government’s implementation of a system of loans for sales companies (FARAP) and the Film Export Support Fund, which represent a significant milestone for the sector as a whole. She also holds the position of treasurer for the European sales agent organization Europa International and the Union of French Audiovisual Distributors (SEDPA).
Her nomination as executive director was proposed by Serge Toubiana, president of UniFrance—France’s film promotion agency dedicated to supporting the export of French films—and approved unanimously by UniFrance’s executive committee on Monday, July 8, 2019.

SUSAN WENDT Managing Director, TrustNordisk / Board member, Europa International         

Susan Wendt is the Managing Director at TrustNordisk and a board member of Europa International.

TrustNordisk is the result of the 2008 merge between two powerful sales companies: Trust Film Sales and Nordisk Film International Sales.

Together TrustNordisk has over 35 years of expertise and know-how in film sales on the international film market. TrustNordisk markets and licenses mainly European produced feature films, feature documentaries, animations as well as TV series worldwide. The titles originate from both large production companies as well as independent producers within Europe.

TrustNordisk represents catalogue of more than 500 films from highly acclaimed directors such as Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, and Tobias Lindholm, but also with first time Directors such as Gustav Möller (The Guilty). TrustNordisk consists of an experienced Sales and Marketing Team with an attached legal and delivery department. The Sales and Marketing Team is represented at all major film festivals and markets worldwide, as well as local festivals, where it would benefit a certain title. TrustNordisk is based in Copenhagen and is one of the leading sales agent in Northern Europe.