Kinepolis turns on lasers in Lomme, Brussels and Madrid

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December 9, 10 and 17 marked the debut of laser-illuminated projection for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies across Europe. After launching at CinemaCon 2014, Barco’s DP4K-60L first lit up the massive main screen at Kinepolis in Lomme, France. Belgium followed the next day at Kinepolis Brussels, and guests in Madrid have been mesmerized since the mid-December date.

Eddy Duquenne, chief executive officer of Kinepolis Group, is “confident” that this investment “will really help us bring the movie experience to new levels and offer our customers exceptional cinema moments. Barco is the perfect partner, as the company really leads the market with its vision of an immersive, interactive cinema experience.”

“Barco is just as excited as Kinepolis is,” confirmed Wim Buyens, Barco’s head of entertainment. “This is another great milestone in our history as cinema innovator and we’re delighted to share this premiere with Kinepolis Group.”

Without doubt, Kinepolis and Barco will continue that tradition at the chain’s latest project in Brétigny-sur-Orge, 35 km (22 miles) south of Paris. Developer Immochan has begun construction on the 10-screen complex that will accommodate 1,530 people on 6,500 square meters (70,000 sq, ft.) for an expected annual attendance of 500,000 visits.

Europe Supports Sundance Sales
European Film Promotion is extending its MEDIA Programme-funded Film Sales Support (FSS) to six titles showing at the Sundance Film Festival. €26,000 (US$30,600) has been earmarked in total, including two children’s films from Norway (Homesick and Operation Arctic by Grethe Bøe-Waal) and The Summer of Sangaile, a co-production between France, Lithuania and The Netherlands starring Aiste Dirziute, this year’s “Shooting Star” from Lithuania.

Speaking of the next stars, “Europe’s best and brightest young acting talent” will once again be on hand during the opening weekend of the Berlin International Film Festival. With the help from an expert jury, EFP announced the next ten “Shooting Stars”, following in the footsteps of prior participants such as Daniel Craig (2000), Daniel Brühl (2003), Carey Mulligan (2009) and Alicia Vikander (2011). Director and jury member Malgorzata Szumowska explained how they “deliberated at length over what constitutes ‘star quality’… We pored over show reels and past performances of young actors from all over Europe,” coming up with a selection “we think is a particularly strong year.” This year’s troupe hails from Denmark, Germany, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Lithuania, of course.

Berlinale Awards Eurimages Cash
After handing out development cash at film festivals in Rotterdam, Sarajevo, Rome, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, producers coming to Berlin this month, will have the same opportunity. During the Internationale Filmfestspiele (Feb. 5-15), the Berlinale Co-Production Market (Feb. 8-10) and Eurimages will jointly award €20,000 (US$23,500) to one of about 25 projects presented during the event.

Eligible are projects “that have been conceived from the outset as theatrical co-productions… Outstanding artistic quality and a project’s chances of being realized as a majority European co-production are the main criteria.” The Eurimages Co-Production Development Award complements the other cash prizes at the Berlinale Co-Production Market: ARTE International Prize (€6,000; US$7,000) and VFF Highlight Pitch Award from the copyright association for film and TV producers (€10,000 at “Talent Project Market”).

Festival director Dieter Kosslick noted, “The energizing effect this kind of award can have on a new project shouldn’t be underestimated.” “Bringing together creative and technical inputs from different countries is no easy task,” added Roberto Olla, executive director of Eurimages, “and we believe this prize can help [by] encouraging closer cooperation between producers right from the start.”

Digital Society and Media Meet
While all eyes are on the Berlinale throughout February, Germany’s Capital Region is gearing up already for the next meeting of the (professional) minds. On May 5 and 6, Media Convention and re:publica are offering one admission to both events. Last year, the partnership between “traditional” and social media attracted some 7,000 attendees. “It is only logical, then, that our next step would be to link the two events even closer together,” stated Elmar Giglinger, managing director of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. “Today, digital society and the media are unthinkable without one another.”

The Convention attracts representatives of the media industry, organizers noted, who will be “defining themes on today’s media market and providing information about innovative format development and content production.” After nine years of developing into the largest social-media conference in Europe, re:publica intends to “examine the breadth of Europe’s unique digital culture and its approach to Internet policy.”

With the overall motto of “Finding Europe,” attendees will find each other as well. The organizers declared, “The worlds of TV, film, print and politics meet providers and decision-makers from the worlds of online, mobile, social media, technology, science and digital society. It’s also the place where activists meet coders and where artists meet businessmen and women.”

Man on a Mission
Niclas Nornemark, owner of CC-Cinema Certification and distributor of Sony 4K digital-cinema solutions in Sweden, wants to put the highest picture resolution on the country’s screens. “Norway started its 4K journey in 2013,” he noted, at the same time when “Sweden was upgrading its cinemas with digital technology.” Norway’s old equipment was then sold to Sweden. “I questioned why the image quality in Swedish cinemas was worse than what I had at home. I then researched all of the alternatives on the market. Sony stood out.”

In 2010, Nornemark bought his own cinema in his hometown of Svalöv (www.kulturhusetsvalov.se/Bio2/bioindex.html), followed by a renovation of the cultural center and 4K cinema upgrade three years later. By now, he has installed Sony’s SRX-R515P and SRX-R510P projectors in four cinemas belonging to the National Federation of People’s Parks and Community Centres, and Nornemark has plans for another ten cinemas in 2015.

Ymagis Mixes Up Management
Following its October 2014 acquisition of dcinex, Ymagis Group announced a new organizational structure that strengthens its management team and further facilitates the goal of providing digital technologies and services for the cinema industry.

Going forward, the Group’s activities are built around three units. Exhibitor Services, including sales, installation, monitoring and maintenance of projection and sound systems equipment, will be led by Till Cussmann, who previously had the same responsibilities within dcinex. After re-grouping digital content duplication and delivery as well as post-production activities, Content Services and VPF/Financing Solutions are managed by Pierre Flamant, who moves from chief financial officer at dcinex to the same post at Ymagis Group.

“We are very satisfied with the fast integration,” said Jean Mizrahi, CEO and co-founder of Ymagis. “Our teams are now jointly working with very complementary knowhow and expertise, which is an invaluable asset for our future development.”