Valladolid, Day 1 -common connections and challenges

Europe Cinemas’ new partnership with the International Film Week of Valladolid SEMINCI brings together 36 cinema exhibitors during the festival’s 68th edition. Gathering at the historical and architecturally impressive National Sculpture Museum, the Lab aims to offer space for shared insights and discussions about reaching new audiences with collaborative efforts to bring to light ways of (re)thinking and diversifying the practices and resources to do so.

To begin the four days of shared thinking the exhibitors were greeted by José Luis Cienfuegos, General Director of SEMINCI. José reminisced about his days as a youngest traveling to Valladolid for the festival, how greatly he enjoyed soaking up independent cinema. The festival now, he says, is as relevant as ever, not only brining Spanish independent cinema to audiences but bringing together the whole sector. This year the festival hosts the third edition of the Independent Film Market (MERCI Valladolid) as well as our Lab. José summarising by reminding us we are all a team, everyone involved in disruption and exhibition, working together to bring great films to audiences.

Leading the Lab is Ioana Dragomirescu (Cinema Victoria, Romania) and Mathias Holtz (Folkets Hus och Parker, Sweden), who explain what the exhibitors will experience over the next few days including presentations and workshops on marketing, audience development, sustainability and inclusion. The sessions will also include surgery slots, during which partipants will share case studies on something they struggle with. Ioana reminds us all that these are not struggles we go through alone, that we all share similar issues, and through these slots we can help develop practical ways to address them. ‘We learn more from our failures than our successes’.

Next, the cohort of exhibitors introduced themselves, offering what they are proud of about their cinemas and their biggest challenges. Even though it is a very diverse group, with different sizes, scales and models of cinemas represented, there were lots of shared challenges. Attracting young audiences, engaging new audiences and approaches to marketing were common threads – luckily we have lots of inspiration for these topics over the coming days!

And finally, to round off an evening which has sparked the flame of learning and sharing for this Audience Development and Innovation Lab, the group enjoyed dinner, mingling and sharing their hopes for the next few days.