Looking Back on CineEurope

In Focus

Twenty-five years ago, this editor stood on the stage of the Kinepolis Multiplex in Hysiel, Belgium and declared the opening of Cinema Expo International. So much has changed since that time, both in the industry and at the convention.

Looking back, it’s hard to comprehend that 25 years have passed as we prepare for the 2016 opening ceremony of CineEurope on the stage of the auditorium in the CCIB in Barcelona, Spain.

Along the way, we witnessed the revolutionary change from 35mm to digital; from stereo sound to immersive sound; the launching of modern 3D and specialized screens, and the emergence of laser projection. This year in Barcelona, attendees will experience one of the most sophisticated projection systems ever assembled, with Barco and Christie laser projectors; Dolby Atmos sound powered by QSC amplifiers, and the newest screen from RealD—the “Ultimate Screen.”

As great as these changes are, the convention has been transformed into a truly European one with major global overtures.

* The convention has nearly tripled in size.

* Fifty-two countries are now represented at the show.

* The original six studios that screened their features and showed upcoming product have grown to 11 studios.

* The European community has become totally immersed in the show and the convention now shares European and U.S. bases.

* The name of the convention was changed a few years ago to reflect this new direction and is now CineEurope.

* The Union Internationale des Cinemas (UNIC) is now a partner in the show.

Several things remain consistent. Film is still and always will be the lifeblood of CineEurope. The other constant is The Coca-Cola Company, the Official Sponsor of the convention for 25 years.

The marketing of the convention is done electronically and CineEurope can be seen on Facebook, Twitter and so many other social-media outlets. The press can get out stories on the Internet in a flash.

The memories are wonderful and for those that have been along for the full 25-year ride, a bit nostalgic. Only three venues have been home to CineEurope—the convention center in Hysiel, Belgium, the Amsterdam Rai in the Netherlands, and the CCIB in Barcelona.

The number of people who have attended and have been honored is extraordinary. The amount and quality of movies screened at CineEurope are astounding. With all of this, it is the attendees who live for the movie business that really make this forum so unique and special.

Twenty-five years is a long time, but when you look back and realize you have been part of something great that has changed to reflect the changing world, you know you have achieved something special. The friends you make along the way are what is so great about this industry.

A Miracle Story in Cambodia

The story goes back more than 12 years, when a Hollywood executive found himself in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh while en route to the world-famous temple Angkor Wat. What started out as a vacation soon became his passion when he was taken to Steung Meanchey, a garbage dump where destitute children live as scavengers. This is where it started and now the Cambodian Children’s Fund provides child care and medical services and has built 310 homes. Education is a key component of the CCF’s mission, with 130 of the 150 students the CCF started with in 2004 now attending university. Some 2,300 students are currently enrolled in CCF classes.

This editor had a business relationship with Scott Neeson when he was with Twentieth Century Fox, and the sacrifices he has accepted over the years have made him a better man. A movie could be made of this fantastic story and what Scott has achieved. We are so pleased that Scott will be receiving the Variety International Children’s Fund Humanitarian Award at CineEurope. The award will be presented by a former associate of Scott’s, Paul Hanneman, Fox’s president of worldwide distribution and marketing.

Way to go, Scott!