CEA, UKFC progress digital transition
by Naman Ramachandran
18/08/2009 - The Cinema Exhibitors’ Association (CEA) and the UK Film Council (UKFC) have taken the next step towards conversion of small and medium UK cinemas to go digital. Following a roadshow and an expression of interest exercise (see news), over 450 such cinemas wish to turn digital and the CEA has announced a funding group that will strive to secure finance for the conversion.
CEA Chief Executive Phil Clapp said, “We strongly believe that the proposed funding group may be the only option to achieve this for a significant majority of small and medium-sized cinema operators.
“Preparation for the digital transition is now well underway and it seems inevitable that 35mm prints will become increasingly difficult and expensive to source in the medium term, and certainly at the point at which the major circuits – digital plans for all of whom are well-advanced – have converted.
“I urge all of those small and medium-sized cinema operators who have not yet done so to show similar commitment and to join us in this hugely important endeavour.”
UKFC Head of Distribution and Exhibition Peter Buckingham said, “Securing film’s successful transition to digital is the UKFC’s top strategic priority for the years ahead – it is vital if we are to meet the needs of filmmakers and the demands of audiences. As far as possible, no existing 35mm cinema should be left behind in this transition. We therefore congratulate the CEA on its vision and offer our whole-hearted support in backing this new organisation, which will be of enormous help to smaller operators as well as the wider UK cinema sector.”
Over 600 screens not in the major circuits are yet to sign up for the scheme.