An island of opportunities for exhibitors at Venice
by Birgit Heidsiek
- VENICE 2016: At the CICAE training session on San Servolo, young exhibitors had the chance to forge a network of contacts
Audience development, communication, team management, the challenges of digitisation, marketing strategies and sustainable measures in cinemas were some of the key topics covered at the 13th edition of the week-long Art Cinema = Action + Management training course that the International Confederation of Art Cinemas (CICAE) provided to 50 young exhibitors from 24 countries. Based on the island of San Servolo, this inspiring training initiative was also linked to the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, where the new generation of arthouse managers attended film screenings and the European Film Forum.
At the intense eight-day programme of lectures, workshops, case studies and screenings, 30 trainers from across the world gave the young exhibitors an insight into the methods, tools and ideas they need for programming, event organisation and managing an arthouse cinema.
Among the trainers was Kim Ludolf Koch, CEO of Cineplex Deutschland, who shared his expertise in business planning, while Elisabetta Brunella from Media Salles held an intense lecture on the digitisation of cinemas. Meanwhile, Dutch exhibitor Raymond Walravens, who manages the Rialto Cinema arthouse theatre in Amsterdam, is a specialist when it comes to audience development. Since 2010, he has also been curating the World Cinema Amsterdam Festival.
Among the success stories presented at San Servolo was that of Maureen Prins, who introduced her concept of Solar Cinema, which brings unseen films to unusual places. Meanwhile, her solar-powered mobile cinema project has been adapted in several countries around the world. Recently, the non-profit arthouse theatre The Loft Cinema in Tucson, Arizona, also created a solar cinema to show educational programmes, as Peggy Johnson, founder of The Loft Cinema, reported.
Furthermore, green cinema was an issue at San Servolo. CICAE board member Pedro Barbadillo and Birgit Heidsiek, publisher of Green Film Shooting, outlined how cinemas can be operated in a more sustainable way. Many measures focus on energy efficiency, whichcan also save a lot of money.
Besides enabling an exchange of experiences, the CICAE training was a great chance to forge a network of contacts. “I've never had this level of contact with other cinemas,” said British trainee Carmen Slijpen, who operates a cinema in the Lewes community. “Education is a very strong element in other arthouse cinemas. People are working with different age groups and are creating specialist programmes. I really like the fact that most people are very happy to share their knowledge in quite a lot of detail.”
The young exhibitors really appreciated the fact that they could take a step out of their day-to-day routine. At the CICAE training, they had the space to think bigger and more broadly about strategies, partners and best practice. “It is the luxury of being on an island together,” emphasised a group of trainees. “We eat together and socialise together – there are lots of opportunities.”