Sofia, Day 4 – ideas on sustainability, diversity and inclusion

Saturday 25th March 2023

Marijana Bosniak kicks off session 7 on the last day of the Sofia Lab, which is focussed on how to run a sustainable venue and points out how to keep track of multiple projects and events organized by a small team. An interesting topic, because one of the biggest struggles for most exhibitors seems to be multitasking and working in small teams. She and her co-workers have created different marketing materials for events throughout the years, such as posters. However, it is important to get help with cross-promotion when you host events. They do this by working together with local NGO’s and other institutions, this way you combine goals and share in the marketing, by promoting events through your own channels.

Javi Pachón is the second speaker of the day and tells the attendees about making the most of our teams and balancing productivity and the team’s passions. He goes on to talk about the organisation structures they implemented in the beginning, which was a horizontal structure, which means no one could overrule anyone. Sounds great maybe, but this has proven to be quite stressful. The way they work now is a structure in which the goals you want to achieve are clearly defined. It helps if it’s very clear who does what and there is space for every team member’s passion. It can also be very useful to keep track of time management through the tech apps he mentioned before.

Wojtek Kampa from Kino Pod Baranami goes on to tell the attendees more about the reopening of their café with sustainability in mind. They partnered up with local cafés and learnt from their experiences, ranging from finding the right cups to getting advice on building the right infrastructure for the café. Their idea is to get started and making it up as you go along. This way you can make a difference.

Session 8 on diversity and inclusion starts with Piotr Szczyszyk giving a presentation on their ‘cinema without barriers’ project. The concept is to screen movies and make their cinema more accessible. These screenings include films with audio description and live sign language, and also screenings with talks and workshops after the film. They also want to remove economical barriers, that’s why these screenings are only €1. The concept of removing barriers is widely applied: the building is accessible for people with disabilities. They found partner cinemas who will implement this concept as well, and they will hopefully be able to create a regular program in the future.

Janeta Henzele from Kino Bize presents their Black voices: diverse cinema stories program, which just started. They screen 3 films by black filmmakers, because they see a big gap in cinema, but also in culture and society. There’s a lot of misrepresentation and they feel it’s their duty to shed light on these blind spots. They also distribute these 3 films and hope other cinemas will follow them and screen these films as well.

Ophelia Hertel from Broadway Filmtheater in Trier tells about their Mimoplus screenings for senior audiences. They host these special screenings once a month, and work together with the Senior Citizens Office. These are mostly European films and the idea is that it turns into a sociable event because after the screening they offer snacks and it becomes more of a get together. The goal is to be more accessible and connecting the elderly.

During the group discussion the Europa Cinemas charters are introduced and the exhibitors are asked to split up in groups and think about the subjects sustainability, diversity and inclusion and present a few ideas afterwards. The results:

Session 9 is the closing of the Sofia Innovation Lab, the attendees are asked what they will take back to their cinema or even what they don’t want to do anymore. After 4 days of the Lab, everyone seemed quite inspired, energized and recharged and ready to put everything they’ve heard to use. A few of the things we’ve heard:

What stood out this edition of the Innovation Lab in Sofia was the good connection between attendees and the effort everybody put in, many exhibitors were ready to collaborate with other cinemas and use the resources Europa Cinemas offers to make this happen.