Vote for your European favorites


Once again, European cinemagoers have the opportunity to select their favorite film as part of the 25th European Film Awards, scheduled for Dec. 1 on the Mediterranean island of Malta. Past People’s Choice Awards went to Pedro Almodóvar’s Volver, Roberto Benigni’s La vita e bella, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie, Fatih Akin’s Head-On and Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire.

Tough 2012 choices that the public faces include an amazing dozen from The Artist, Barbara (Germany’s official selection for the Foreign Language Oscar) and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to Headhunters, The Iron Lady, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Shame, Tinker Tailor Solder Spy and Untouchable.

On the professional side, 47 films have been placed on the list of titles recommended for a nomination. “With 31 European countries represented,” the Berlin, Germany-based European Film Academy (EFA) opined, “the list once again illustrates the great diversity in European cinema.” In the 20 most populous countries, members voted on one national film, which were subsequently augmented by a Selection Committee of EFA board members and invited experts from six countries. Now the 2,700 EFA members select their personal favorites, with official nominations set for Nov. 3 during the Seville European Film Festival in Spain.

Venice Ventures Beyond 3D Boundaries
During the Venice Film Festival, the European Commission hosted “The frontiers of 3D—new technologies in the culture and media” at the Space-Cinecittà Luce inside the Excelsior Hotel. Taking advantage of what organizers called “an important opportunity for comparison and to take stock of the developments in the third dimension” were Osvaldo De Santis (president of Twentieth Century Fox Italy), Angelo D’Alessio (consultant for digital cinema at the Biennale di Venezia and SMPTE international director), Giuseppe Massaro (director of MEDIA Desk Italy, MEDIA Programme of the European Commission) and Nicola Borrelli (director general for Cinema of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture), among many others.

Bauer Hotel Brings Back Happy Days
The Bauer Screening Room in Venice is planning to bring back to life “the Golden Age of Italian Cinema” of the 1950s and ’60s, when “great hotels such as the Via Veneto in Rome, the Soho House in London, and the Bauer Grunwald in Venice all boasted private screening rooms where they would preview the top films each season.” (To see how the Hotel Bayrischer Hof in Munich transformed its venue into “Kino deluxe,” check out the July FJI).

During the 69th Biennale, Palazzo Grassi hosted “La voce delle immagini” (“the voice of the images”) at the Bauer, presenting films and videos from 11 artists, including Paul McCartney and Isaac Julien, whose work is also featured at the Amsterdam EYE. On August 31, the Bauer paid special tribute to 90-year-old Francesco Rosi, who was awarded “Leone d’ Oro alla carriera” during the fest. A newly restored copy of his 1972 masterpiece Il caso Mattei was shown thanks to the film library of Bologna, The Film Foundation, and with support from both Gucci and Torino’s National Cinema Museum.

Kinepolis Issues Passbook
After introducing barcode-based mobile ticketing, pan-European Kinepolis Group has now begun using Passbook, Apple’s mobile wallet that allows users in Belgium, France and Spain to digitally store all their tickets, discount vouchers, membership and customer loyalty cards in one iPhone app. “In so doing,” the company noted, “Kinepolis once again takes the lead in the international cinema industry when it comes to innovation.”

DigiTraining Travels
From EYE, the new film museum in Amsterdam (see “Exotic Designs” in this issue), to the Cinema Oostereiland triplex in Hoorn, MEDIA Salles once again had attendees well-covered in their quest for DigiTraining Plus. The ninth edition of the course began with Mike Vickers, member of the MEDIA Salles executive board, describing the spirit of the program: “The new technologies must be accompanied by new ideas and a new way of conceiving the cinema experience.”

Mads Egmont Christensen from Denmark moderated the course that “combines theory, presented in lectures and talks by experts in the sector, with the practice gained on visits to exceptional venues in the field of digital technologies.” Having worked on the course, MEDIA Salles director general Elisabetta Brunella calls it “a well-consolidated tradition.” A more detailed rundown of activities and events is available here.

dcinex Doubles Up on Deals
Eutelsat Communications and dcinex, one of the world’s top satellite operators and Europe’s leading digital-cinema company, respectively, have joint-ventured their impressive resources. Over the last three years, Eutelsat has already equipped more than 700 sites in 20 European countries, managing high-speed transfers of up to 140 Mbps via hubs in France and Italy. dcinex has deployed 2,000 digital screens with another 3,000 to follow by 2014.

DSAT Cinema, as the venture has been named, “will offer a single point of contact for a full range of services” for management of 2D/3D films “as well as exceptional cultural events to screens across Europe,” with the intention of “radically simplifying the process of operating in a fully digital environment for content owners and distributors.”

On the content presentation side, dcinex solidified its relationship with Odeon UCI Cinemas (2,153 screens at 232 sites across Austria, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom) by signing a “landmark VPF deal” for Cinesa in Spain, covering “state-of-the-art digital projection systems including NEC 2K and 4K projectors, Doremi servers and Unique TMS” for 520 screens. Cinesa will also equip its 44 cinemas for satellite delivery. The support services will be managed out of Liège, the dcinex base in Belgium, in cooperation with Cinesa’s local partner, Suministros Kelonik.

After establishing an office in Belarus last year, the Austrian affiliate of the dcinex group has now opened a branch in Moscow. Headed by Julia and Alexey Vinokurov as general manager and technical director, respectively, the goal is “to strengthen customer relations in Russia and former CIS states and extend its service portfolio in these countries.”

Films for Foodies at FIAF
Throughout Tuesdays in October, the French Institute/Alliance Française in New York City ( inaugurates its newly renovated Florence Gould Hall with “a cinematic tribute to the epicurean, and very French, pleasures of great food and wine.” Under the heading of “Films for Foodies!” the co-curators pair a very French film, even if some were made by international directors like Sofia Coppola (Marie Antoinette), Marco Ferreri (La Grande Bouffe) and Roland Joffé (Vatel) and/or star Laurel and Hardy (The Battle of the Century), with introductions by “luminaries from New York’s culinary world.” Bon appétit!

Von Trier Issues a Challenge
As if his films were not enough of a challenge at times, Danish director Lars von Trier now “Challenges the People” with an open invitation. In collaboration with the Copenhagen Art Festival and fellow director Jenle Hallund, von Trier has asked people around the globe “to reinterpret six great works of art through the lens of their camera or recording of sound.” The user-generated film project Gesamt aims to look at “the result when people reinterpret the great and controversial art pieces of our time,” including James Joyce’s Ulysses, August Strindberg’s The Father, the Zeppelinfeld in Nuremberg, Germany, created by Albert Speer, as well as works by Paul Gaugin, César Franck and Sammy Davis, Jr., “who stepped himself into the hearts of people through song.”

Premiering on Oct. 12 at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen, the assembled work will become “a reflection on our time and the people who live in it: a community masterpiece.”