Cinema Victoria is located in Cluj-Napoca, the biggest city in Transylvania and the second in Romania. The cinema is part of a historical building built in 1927 and is located in the proximity of the National Opera. It has an uninterrupted cinema activity since the beginning. Today, when it’s getting closer to its 100 Anniversary, the 300 seats hall keeps the charm and the elegant vibe of the past times.
Our aim is to attract a very diverse audience with a focus on the young generation. In order to do so, we are hosting many festivals, preview screenings and special events that always guarantee a diverse and valuable programming arousing the curiosity of our audience. For the younger ones, we collaborate with many schools and educative organizations in order to create special programmes for them.
Even though the cinema only has one hall, there are at least four or five different screenings per day. Due to the multiplexes present in the city, Cinema Victoria lost a lot of the audience as the young people redirected towards this option and other segments of audience forgot about the traditional cinemas. The biggest challenge 10 years ago, in 2011, when we took over the cinema, was to bring back our audience and attract the young generations by creating different approaches and involving schools.
The first initiative was EDUCATIFF that was one of the projects only presented during Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF), however we extended the educational projects during the entire year. We also suggested to the other film festivals to include this section in their projects.
In 2015 we created a partnership with a cultural NGO and the local authorities to target 4 different schools with a big percentage of children with behavioural problems. The project called “At the cinema I become somebody” presented every month an educational movie followed by discussions directed by a psychology professional and a teacher. The entry was free of charge. The teachers gave us a very positive feedback, mentioning that behaviour improvements were notable. This initiative was active until 2019 and we intend to retake it in the future.
We launched another interesting project that increased our audience. We created the 1:00 PM screening that is free of charge for senior people, kids and students. This screening has a very important role in our marketing strategy as we see a lot of the family members participating together with the loved ones and afterwards they return to the cinema for different other events. We noticed good improvement for the 3:00 PM screening and also they are participating in our special alternative events such as live concert.
One of the biggest achievements that my team and myself are very proud of, is that we managed to bring back the audience in the last years, and this cinema became a very popular gathering place especially for the young audiences. On other side it was a great success to see the older people coming and enjoying our screenings and seeing them as loyal customers with a strong habit to come weekly at the cinema.
The biggest challenges we still have to overpass are, on one side, educating the audience in embracing the European and national films and, on another hand, to be able to transform in “blockbusters” the national productions that are so appreciated at the international festivals but still not appreciated at their true value by the national public.
Last but not least, belonging to Europa Cinemas network has provided us a lot of prestige and also keeps us evolving every day in our diverse programming.
Gabriela Bodea, manager of Cinema Victoria