Belgian Competition Authority clears Kinepolis Group

Columns
European Update

As Kinepolis Group has reached into Canada, the pan-European-turned-transatlantic exhibitor has been accorded some breathing room back at the home base in Belgium. On April 26, the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) reached a new decision regarding the ability of Kinepolis to build cinemas across the country. Following the partial annulment last February by the Court of Appeal of Brussels, the latest decree thankfully confirms the previous relaxation of the behavioral conditions, which means that the opening of new cinema complexes in Belgium is no longer subject to prior approval of the BCA. While this will not be the case until April 2020, Kinepolis nonetheless was “pleased that the Competition Authority reaffirms its position in this matter” and expressed its “confidence that this new decision will allow to finalize the procedure.”

Vista/Movio Cinema All New at Yorck

After launching ticket sales and related management software at Delphi Lux in Berlin, Yorck Gruppe’s seven-screen, 600-seat arthouse, Vista Cinema and Movio were appointed to expand the program to all Yorck locations across the German capital. Their portfolio includes 13 classic Kinos and Lichtspielhäuser plus one open-air cinema. Vista rightly speaks of “Berlin’s most revered buildings, many of which have been saved from destruction and restored through the efforts of Yorck Kinos.” You may see them here.

Alongside the Vista rollout, which began with the latest Cinema Version 5 at Babylon in the Kreuzberg district, Yorck’s existing customer database was integrated into Movio Cinema software, “bringing in real-time customer data from the Vista system, along with other data sources,” the company noted, and creating a “comprehensive view of their customers” for targeted marketing campaigns.

“We are thrilled to be working with the Yorck team to improve the understanding of their audiences,” said Sarah Lewthwaite, Movio’s managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa. As the Yorck brand already offers “such strong resonance with Berlin moviegoers,” Movio’s software will strengthen customer relationships even further, she believes.

“We now have unbelievable new opportunities to offer our customers the perfect cinematic experience,” agreed Christian Brauer, chief executive officer of the Kinogruppe. “We have moved the digital future in a new direction.”

Wallay Wins Over Young Audiences

In a “truly European vote,” including Australia, more than 2,000 students aged 12 to 14 elected Wallay as their favorite film. A co-production between France, Burkina Faso and Qatar, the story of 13-year-old Ady was chosen over Finnish teenagers (Hobbyhorse Revolution) and an 11-year-old Tuscan girl bonding with a 13-year-old Roma (Girl in Flight, Italy/Switzerland). In 43 cities across Europe, these Young Audiences had watched the same three films at the same time, followed by discussions with film educators. Jury speakers from 34 countries then transmitted the results of their national votes live to Erfurt, Germany.

The EFA Young Audience Award is presented by the European Film Academy and EFA Productions with the support of Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung and the Creative Europe-Media Programme of the European Union. National YAA events were organized with the support of the in-country partners.

CinemaNext Launches Into Batignolles Sphera

The Liège, Belgium-based exhibitor-services provider CinemaNext announced an agreement for deployment of its Sphera premium cinema concept  at Les 7 Batignolles. The urban development project in the Parisian district of Clichy is currently hailed as the largest construction site in the City of Lights. “We are impatient to welcome audiences to our cinema,” said film director Djamel Bensalah, a business partner in Les 7 Batignolles with Jacques Font, Jean-Philippe Julia and Isaac Sharry. “Our requirements for comfort, design and innovation through the new technologies we deploy, live up to this rapidly developing district. As a filmmaker, offering the very best in the field of sound and cinema pictures…with a unique architectural, aesthetic, acoustic concept for an even more immersive and innovative experience is truly exciting.”

The grand opening of the seven-screen 1,200-seat complex including Sphera is scheduled for October. Four years ago, plans called for three salles with 200 seats and some 80 places each, and one grande salle with 371 fauteuils. Now, the Sphera auditorium features over 330 premium seats in front of a 15-meter (50 feet) wide wall-to-wall screen, CinemaNext details. A Sony Digital Cinema 4K Laser SRX-R815DS dual-stack projection system achieving a contrast of 10,000:1 will be used for EclairColor HDR feature presentations. LED strip lighting hidden behind acoustic panels will expand the images on the screen onto the side walls during the preshow, any live event, concert or eSports session. Dolby Atmos is boosted by line-array-type front speakers and THOR subwoofers “for an unparalleled high-quality sound experience.” The multiplex will also feature laser phosphor projectors from Barco.

BFI Bets on New Filmmakers

Delivering on a commitment outlined in the British Film Institute’s five-year strategy BFI2022 and supported by the U.K.’s National Lottery funding, six talent executives were appointed “to provide vital support to new and aspiring talent where they live.”

Located at the five English Film Hubs, which partly form the U.K.-wide BFI Film Audience Network, these new positions “will ensure that everyone around the country is able to access expertise along with funding for short film and early development work,” the BFI noted. The executives will also create opportunities for talent to connect with the local industry, “providing networks between established professionals and emerging creatives.” Working closely with BFI talent development manager Matimba Kabalika, they join talent development executives in Northern Ireland Screen, FfilmCymru Wales and the Scottish Film Talent Network. Everyone in this BFI Network initiative shares the goal of discovering and supporting talented writers, directors and producers at the start of their careers. Find out more and watch supported work here.

Armstrong Achieves Cologne Soundtrack Honors

“In his multi-faceted works, classical and electronic sounds blend together in a virtuoso manner,” organizers of Soundtrack Cologne say about composer Craig Armstrong and his scores for films including Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby, World Trade Center, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Snowden.

From August 22 to 25, the German city on the Rhine will host the 15th annual edition of the international conference with over 40 panels dedicated to the sounds of movies, with workshops and networking events and screenings included.

“Craig Armstrong is one of the most influential and innovative contemporary composers, who transcends all genre boundaries,” said #stc15 chief executive officer Michael P. Aust during the film music festival’s cocktail reception during le Festival de Cannes. As a symbol of recognition for exceptional achievements in the art of film music, Soundtrack Cologne honors an outstanding individual each year with a Lifetime Achievement Award.