More moviegoers come to Kinepolis

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“Thanks to a good international and local film offer and the mild winter weather in the first quarter,” Kinepolis Group enjoyed a 5.5% increase to 8.8 million cinemagoers during the first half of the year at its 34 megaplexes in Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Switzerland and Poland. Although “the second quarter was adversely impacted by the World Cup,” of course, total revenue rose by 4.9% to €115.1 million (US$151.14 mil.). With a profit of €13.3 million generated, free cash flow increased from €7.6 to 11.6 million.

Sony Enhances 3D Vue

Over a three- to four-year transition already in progress, Vue Entertainment International is converting all of its existing 3D-enabled screens across the U.K., Ireland, Germany and Denmark to Sony Digital Cinema 3D (the latter two operating under the CinemaxX brand).

“Standardizing on Sony 4K across our estate continues to guarantee fabulous picture quality for every customer at every screen,” noted the circuit’s chief operating officer, Steve Knibbs. The agreement covers almost 400 of Vue’s 1,359 total screens across 150 multiplexes in eight countries that also cover Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Taiwan.

With its first Sony 4K installation at Vue Fulham Broadway launched in November 2010, Vue now deploys a chain-wide mix that includes the “flagship” R320 and the R515, its “acclaimed sibling” for medium and smaller-sized screens, Sony said. “Vue is without question one of Europe’s most technically innovative and customer-focused cinema operators,” noted David McIntosh, Sony 4K Cinema Solutions VP for Europe and the Americas. “This across-the-board changeover to Sony 3D is another hugely significant milestone in our successful and longstanding relationship with the group.”

Vote for Your Favorite Euro Film
The EFA People’s Choice Award is open. Film fans can cast their vote here and win a trip to the Dec. 13 ceremony. The 27th European Film Awards will take place in Riga, Latvia, the 2014 European Capital of Culture and home to a Vue Multikino. Of the five deserving candidates, only Philomena and Nymphomaniac have found truly global distribution. Other titles up for the popular vote are La belle et la bête; Ida; Deux jours, une nuit; and Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann (okay, that one we’ll translate: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared).

Black Nights Get More Competitive
In neighboring Estonia, the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival just saw its status expand to a “non-specialized competitive international film festival” by governing body FIAPF. The International Federation of Film Producers Association had previously named the 18-year-old Black Nights a “specialized competitive festival” in 2008. This new inclusion “not only remarkably widens our possibilities for programming outreach,” opined Black Nights founder and director Tiina Lokk, but also sets “an obligation and responsibility towards filmmakers and the industry to match the high standards” of the other 14 festivals in the same category.

The upcoming edition will take place Nov. 14-30. Last year, Black Nights screened 220 feature films and 250 shorts, with 77,600 in attendance.

Locarno Selects from the Cloud
The 67th annual lineup in Locarno, Switzerland, shows just how much work goes into a festival that reviewed 3,000 entries from 61 countries to come up with its final selection of some 260 titles. Presenting “world premieres, shorts and experimental cinema from all over the world,” festival chief operating officer Mario Timbal described the need for streamlining the process. “We wanted a forward-thinking solution that could support every professional format, our Festival artistic direction, and our operations team.” Regarding the selection of Sony Media Cloud Services’ Ci video platform, he said it “delivered on all fronts” and afforded “our programmers more time to accurately assess each film.”

“We designed Ci for every generation and genre of cinema,” confirmed Naomi Climer, president of Sony Media Cloud Services, who is looking forward to “playing a significant role in the Festival for years to come.”

EU Eyes Conferences and Events
Film festivals and awards aren’t the only ones gearing up for business. Several conferences and industry get-togethers will be taking place across Europe. Here are four affairs that we find interesting.

The three-day Euro Attractions Show (EAS) starts on Sept. 23 in Amsterdam, featuring “the largest exhibition floor in the history of the event, a record number of exhibitors and more pre-registered visitors than in previous years.” FJI attended the tenth annual edition in Paris that was also hosted by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).

At the same time, the Helsinki International Film Festival (themed “Love & Anarchy”) hosts the third Finnish Film Affair. Nineteen completed films will be screened and 17 new projects pitched to 60 guests including sales agents, festival programmers, distributors and TV buyers. In addition, the Affair added a “Project Development Clinic” where ten first- and second-time directors receive “feedback from international industry experts on script development, co-production funding, marketing, packaging and sales.” As HIFF managing director Sara Norberg explains, “The FFA was launched not only to market Finnish films, but also to provide tools for filmmakers to reach international audiences.”

Taking place Oct. 1-10, the inaugural edition of the Saint Petersburg International Media Forum aims to become a “cross-platform cultural initiative aimed at promoting a synergy of professionals and the general public.” The Forum is organized by ROSKINO and supported by the Government of St. Petersburg under the patronage of acting governor Georgy Poltavchenko, who aims to establish his city as a location for the development of the film, TV and digital content industries. “The Forum offers an opportunity for stimulating commercial interaction to its participants,” he said, as well as an “intensive program” of panels, master classes and “creative laboratories for young filmmakers.”

Moviegoers can expect Russian and international film and TV premieres in “Gala Screenings,” “a showcase of the diversity of North Korean cinema,” as well as the best from the Locarno and Cannes film festivals. Industry representatives will attend “The DOORS International Traveling Film Market,” may visit “Start-Up Alley” or check out “Global Russians,” a showcase of the top 50 shorts directed by Russian film school graduates over the last five years. The International Film, TV and New Media Content Market takes place Oct. 6-9.

London, England-based Event Cinema Association (ECA) booked its second annual ECA Conference and Achievement Awards–for box office, exhibitor and programming–for Oct. 16 at the nicely restored Genesis Cinema, which has been home to various forms of entertainment for more than 150 years. “The lineup is looking great,” ECA director Melissa Cogavin tells FJI. “We have a lot of interest from sponsors too and are expecting to well exceed the sell-out 180 capacity crowd we had last year,” coming from 19 countries.” To register and for more program information, please click here. “Box-office share in some cinemas for event cinema is as high as 25% these days,” she adds, “so it’s an exciting time to get involved."