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The theatrical window must remain, say German arthouse exhibitors


- Industry professionals made a strong statement at the 16th edition of the Filmkunstmesse Leipzig

The theatrical window must remain, say German arthouse exhibitors
The winners of this year's Gilde Awards

The high number of industry representatives at the 16th edition of the Filmkunstmesse Leipzig reflects the need to discuss crucial issues and new challenges that exhibitors and distributors are facing in the digital age. At the assembly of the AG Kino – Gilde, German exhibitors clearly expressed the fact that the theatrical window must remain in the new German film law. “Once the plug is pulled, there won’t be any way to get it back,” emphasised Christian Bräuer, chairman of AG Kino. Therefore, arthouse exhibitors won’t agree to any exceptions, which documentary filmmakers continually try to force on them. “It would be the wrong signal to shorten the theatrical window,” argued Bräuer. “The arthouse cinemas are the ones that make European fiction and documentary films visible.”

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A lot of visibility and attention was received by the German Cannes competition entry Toni Erdmann [+see also:
film review
film focus
Q&A: Maren Ade
film profile
 by Maren Ade, which was awarded this year’s Gilde Award for Best German Film. The Award for Best International Film went to Frantz [+see also:
film review
film focus
Q&A: François Ozon
film profile
by François Ozon.

There are new solutions available when it comes to content delivery, because distributors can send their DCPs electronically to exhibitors. “We are the bridge between distributors and cinema,” explained Roland Huis in t Veld, managing director of Gofilex Germany GmbH. As a gateway opener, the independent family business provides exhibitors across the world with the necessary hardware and offers a simplified workflow to distributors and exhibitors so that they can send and receive all kinds of content electronically, 24/7. “The workflow is simpler and safer.” While the exhibitors don’t have to send back hard disks anymore, the distributors can always track their content.

According to a new arthouse cinema study compiled by the FFA, in 2015 there was a decrease in attendance and revenues in German arthouse theatres. Furthermore, almost every second cinemagoer is older than 50. Therefore, the exhibitors are undertaking several actions to attract a larger and also a younger audience. In Leipzig, arthouse exhibitors began a dialogue with young producers. At the “Hands on Cinema!” workshop, young students presented their concepts for improving cinemas and making them more attractive for the audience.

Last but not least, many AG Kino members will be actively participating in the European Art Cinema Day (EACD) on 9 October, which will create new incentives for European cinema. “Every day, more exhibitors are joining this initiative,” concluded Bräuer.

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