Vue Entertainment is First Choice for movie escape

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European Update

Taking the idea of a trip to the movies and escaping at the cinema to its logical conclusion, Vue Entertainment and First Choice, a leading vacation provider in the United Kingdom that is “renowned for offering an ‘all you can’ all-inclusive experience in a range of exotic destinations around the world,” have extended their joint initiative.

Thousands of families have taken advantage of the First Choice “All-Inclusive Family Package,” the partners announced, which includes film admission, snack and drink of choice, “enabling them to bring that all-inclusive holiday experience back home with them after their trip to the cinema.” With special kids’ boxes also available, “a family of four could save up to 20% on the cost of a trip to watch the latest blockbuster together.”

The partnership across all 83 Vue locations was arranged by Digital Cinema Media (DCM) and planning and buying agency MediaCom. It received honors for “Best Use of Affinity Marketing & Sponsorship” at the Travel Marketing Awards in March. DCM noted how this package “demonstrates the versatility of cinema, with First Choice using elevated brand interaction and targeted audience engagement to continue adding value to families when planning a trip to the movies.”

European 3D Professionals Meet the Press

On May 15, during the Festival de Cannes, organizers of several events dedicated to stereoscopic 3D in Europe, production professionals and researchers met at the American Pavilion. “This initiative will contribute to the development of 3D in Europe and the rest of the world,” they noted. “It is also a major step forward for the recognition of the artistic value of this constantly evolving technology and its implications, not only in the field of 3D cinema, but also in many areas of our environment.”

Prior to the press conference, 3D Stereo MEDIA hosted its Workshop, laying some of the groundwork for said artistic value and evolving technology. Particpants included Angus Cameron (Vision 3, U.K.), Gallien Chanalet-Quercy (CowProd, France), Alain Gallez (Image & 3D Europe, Belgium), Sylvain Grain (N3DLand, France), Ludger Pfanz (Beyond 3D, Germany), Wlodek Popinski (3D Image Foundation, Poland), Fabien Remblier (The 3DTV, France), Kathleen Schröter (Fraunhofer HH Institute, Germany) and Jacques Verly (University of Liège, Belgium).

EU Envisions Digital Single Market

Even before Cannes kicked off, the European Commission delivered big news on “one of its top priorities”: to create a Digital Single Market (DSM) that would tear down regulatory walls of now 28 national markets, in the process contributing €415 billion per year (US$467 billion) to the European economy and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, the Commission promises.

The catalog of “targeted actions to be delivered by the end of next year” is built on three pillars: (1) better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; (2) creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish, and (3) maximizing the growth potential of the digital economy. Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker wants “pan-continental telecom networks, digital services that cross borders, and a wave of innovative European startups. I want to see every consumer getting the best deals and every business accessing the widest market–wherever they are in Europe.”

“Our strategy is an ambitious and necessary program,” Andrus Ansip, VP for the Digital Single Market, added. The initiatives “prepare Europe to reap the benefits of a digital future.” The 16 steps in that direction include harmonized EU rules on contracts and consumer protection when buying online.

Most importantly, “a modern, more European copyright law” is in the works that would reduce “differences between national copyright regimes and allow for wider online access to works across the EU.” The Commission’s stated goal is “to improve people’s access to cultural content online–thereby nurturing cultural diversity–while opening new opportunities for creators and the content industry.” That means ensuring that “users who buy films, music or articles at home can also enjoy them while traveling across Europe.” With that comes added enforcement “against commercial-scale infringements of intellectual-property rights.”

The Digital Single Market will be on the agenda of the European Council meeting on June 25-26, perfectly timed with CineEurope. More details are available at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-4919_en.htm.

Kiedaisch Provides Motion Picture Solutions

London, England-based Motion Picture Solutions (MPS), one of Europe’s leading digital-cinema services company, hired Howard Kiedaisch as chief executive officer and chairman. After nine years at Arts Alliance Media, and a few years as chief financial officer for Universal Pictures International before that, Kiedaisch “will continue to provide the best services to both the exhibition and distribution communities,” said MPS founder Ian Thomas.

Celebrating the company’s tenth anniversary, Motion Picture Solutions has more than 100 employees, providing 24/7 services globally with “end-to-end solutions from digital-cinema mastering and international versioning through to physical and electronic distribution, KDM management and screening support.”

BFI Disrupts and Diversifies

May 6 marked the centenary of the birth of Orson Welles. To celebrate, the British Film Institute launched a two-month “comprehensive season” of his works shown at BFI Southbank, appropriately headlined “The Great Disruptor." The U.K.-wide theatrical re-releases of The Third Man, in a new 4K restoration by Studio Canal (June 26), and Touch of Evil (BFI release of a UPI film, July 10) are augmented by select cinemas showing the documentary Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles (by Chuck Workman, July 3) and a first-time disc release of the television series “Around the World with Orson Welles.”

The BFI also announced the appointment of Deborah Williams to the new role of diversity manager, assuring the success of the “Three Ticks” initiative. Backed by U.K. producers’ association Pact, the BFI-developed “Three Ticks” requires all recipients of Lottery film production funding (25 to 30 on average per year) to “demonstrate commitment to encouraging diverse representation across their workforces, creating opportunities for training and skills development and ongoing career progression, and advancing the portrayal of underrepresented stories and groups onscreen.”

High Visibility for Invisible Boy

The European Film Academy (EFA) announced the winner of the fourth annual EFA Young Audience Award. In “a truly European vote,” 12- to 14-year-olds in 25 cities from Aalborg/Denmark to Zagreb/Croatia elected The Invisible Boy by Gabriele Salvatores (Italy) as their favorite. After watching the nominated films, which also included My Skinny Sister from Sweden/Germany and You’re Ugly Too from Ireland, on Young Audience Film Day (May 4), the young cinema-lovers had the opportunity to discuss the films. The results were then reported live via video conference to Erfurt (Germany), host city for the ceremony, and streamed online at yaa.europeanfilmawards.eu. EFA director Marion Döring presented the award to screenwriter Stefano Sardo, who said, “We made a film for kids and we’re sooo happy that they like it!”