Rendezvous in Russia: 14th Kino Expo celebrates region's dynamic growth


The 14th annual Kino Expo International Convention & Trade Fair will take place in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 17-21. Kino Expo is a major movie industry event, with the focus on the markets of 15 countries which once formed the USSR and where the Russian language is spoken, representing over 300 million people: Russian Federation, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Armenia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Central Asian countries.

Established in 1999, Kino Expo is now the world’s third-largest international exhibition of cinema equipment. The convention is the central event for local cinema professionals and the meeting place of the Russian and international cinema business communities. At Kino Expo, the local offices of the major studios, Russian and international independent distribution and production companies present their upcoming films and product reels to the local exhibitors.

The Russia/CIS market is one of the world’s leading territories in terms of box office, digital-cinema rollout (60% of total screens) and new multiplex construction growth (more than 700 new screens in 2010-2011 in Russia alone, not counting CIS countries). It is now clear that this year the Russian box office will again exceed US$1 billion for the third consecutive year, which keeps Russia advancing in Europe’s top five and the world’s top ten cinema markets.

In September 2011, due to lobbying efforts by Kinoalliance, the Russian cinema exhibitors’ association, the 15% customs duty on d-cinema projectors was reduced to zero, effective in the countries of the Eurasian Economic Commonwealth: the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Belarus. This makes it easier for cinemas to finalize their d-cinema rollout.
All these factors make Kino Expo one of the most important international events for both major studios and equipment vendors. Says Dmitri Kazuto, Kino Expo general manager and CEO of Kinoalliance, “Kino Expo 2012 is by all means a record-breaking show. Trade fair growth has by far exceeded our expectations, and international participation is unprecedented. There are over 20 international companies taking part in the exhibition, and applications are still coming. Besides tradeshow exhibitors, there are international sponsors, and their contribution is also unprecedented. They are the Coca-Cola Company, Christie, Dolby, NEC, Doremi, XpanD, IMAX, Texas Instruments DLP Cinema, MasterImage, Rentrak and RealD. The local sponsors are Nevafilm, Asia Cinema and Kinoproject.”
- The Coca-Cola Company remains Kino Expo’s main partner and general sponsor, while Christie continues to hold the spot of Kino Expo D-Cinema Partner and major sponsor for the eighth consecutive year.

Says Adil Zerouali, Christie’s regional sales director for Eastern Europe, "Both our attendance as exhibitors and our close links to the development of educational programs at (and around) Kino Expo reflect Christie's belief in Kino Expo and the need for Russian cinema to have a healthy and inclusive forum to develop business through shared knowledge. With the close support of our partners Nevafilm, Asia Cinema and Kino Proekt, we work with Dmitri Kazuto to make sure the latest developments in cinema technology are not just showcased to the Russian cinema community, but in-depth understanding is shared and a strong spirit of cooperation developed between manufacturers, integrators, studios, distributors and exhibitors. It's just the icing on the cake that this event has provided the opportunity to make many happy and lasting friendships."

Tony Adamson, worldwide strategic program manager at DLP Cinema, adds, “DLP Cinema has been a proud sponsor of Kino Expo since the inaugural convention and trade fair. [Representing] one of the top ten growth markets in the world in terms of box office and digital-cinema installations, Kino Expo is the premier event to meet key executives from the Russian and surrounding countries’ exhibition, distribution and production communities to better understand the local markets and ensure our further innovative technical development will address the requirements of their fast-growing cinema industry.”

Bernard Collard, VP of EMEA sales and business development at sponsor XpanD, also praises the show. “XpanD is one of the leading 3D companies in Russia and Kino Expo is the place to be. Being technical partner of the show for 3D screenings is a very efficient way to support our local partners by demonstrating the quality of our products in a real environment.”

As always, there will be spectacular presentations of new major studio releases by 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios, Sony Pictures Releasing, Universal, Paramount and Warner Bros. (the latter two represented by sub-distributors Central Partnership and Karo Premiere, respectively). Local and independent content will also be screened.

The conference will feature a Coca-Cola concession seminar, Kino Expo University (a series of technical and marketing presentations by equipment vendors), the international conference “Cinema Exhibition Business” and a new panel on digital innovations.

For the first time, an official meeting of UNIC (the International Union of Cinemas) will be held in St. Petersburg during Kino Expo 2012. Heads of European cinema exhibitors’ associations and cinema circuits will meet to discuss the UNIC agenda together with their Russian and CIS colleagues, and will attend the trade fair. The meeting will be hosted by Kinoalliance, a UNIC member since 2010 and Kino Expo organizer. The St. Petersburg meeting aims to further promote international cooperation of cinemas.

Kazuto comments, “We are happy to welcome the UNIC gathering in St. Petersburg. Our membership in UNIC has been very productive. In times of globalization, communication and cooperation of cinemas from all over the world promoted by exhibitors’ associations through international cinema industry conventions have become one of the key elements of successful development of the film exhibition business worldwide. With so many challenges to the cinema business, we must stand together and learn from each other.”

As for domestic affairs, Kinoalliance is busy working on solutions which will provide financing to finish digitization before film prints are no longer supplied. And after years of negotiations, it looks like VPF train is finally heading to Russia.

The greatest challenge to the cinema business in Russia is film theft. Kinoalliance is in the forefront of the ongoing fight to protect copyright. Recently, Kinoalliance joined other creative industry organizations in the newly founded Coordination Council on Intellectual Property Protection, which coordinates joint efforts to combat film theft and lobby for improving copyright legislation. In support of the MPA initiative, Kinoalliance members—leading theatre circuits and individual cinemas—are now showing special anti-camcording trailers in their theatres.

Kinoalliance is working together with European and American colleagues for the benefit of the film exhibition industry. Its top priorities are promoting cinema-going, combating film theft, revising music rights fees in Russia and internationally, supporting and encouraging the d-cinema transition, and developing Kino Expo.

Dmitri Kazuto and his team welcome the global film business community to beautiful St. Petersburg this September.