National Schools Film Week courts U.K. students
During National Schools Film Week (Oct. 15-26), more than 4,160 schools across the United Kingdom sent their pupils out to see 180 films in 3,100 screenings at 530 cinemas (71% of all UK theatres). With a record attendance of 538,468, the 17th annual edition of the Film Education-funded event—and the world’s largest free film festival for schools (www.filmeducation.org)—enjoyed a 14% increase over last year. Even better, 15% of all students in attendance were seeing a film at the cinema for the first time ever. This year, the Film Week organized 177 supporting events that included talks with talent involved with the films shown like writer Michael Morpurgo (War Horse) and filmmakers Mike Newell (Great Expectations) and Allison Abbate (Frankenweenie). An online library of resources and links directly to the curriculum provided classroom support.
“U.K. film distributors and exhibitors have supported Film Education from day one,” noted Film Education’s Board chairman, Barry Jenkins. “Film plays such a central role in our culture, and the National Schools Film Week is so important in giving young people the chance to see a wider range of films.” Working throughout the year, the Film Distributor Association (www.launchingfilms.com) and its members “recently introduced a new range of teaching resources combining specially selected film extracts and teaching materials which aim to further embed film within the curriculum to schools, helping teachers and pupils to enjoy and gain educational benefits.” Concurred Film Week festival director Nick Walker, “The cinema experience gives pupils a great chance to explore other worlds through the powerful medium of cinema and also raises awareness amongst teaching professionals of using film in the curriculum.”
Norway Embraces Digital Cinema
“Norway is the first country to be fully digitized, and data from the local film agency Film and Kino enables us to assess the impact.” Cinema analyst David Hancock recently summarized the very encouraging findings in his IHS Screen Digest report. “The most striking change is to the benefit of smaller (often rural) cinemas, in that all-digital allows for a much quicker film release.”
For cinemas with fewer than 10,000 admissions, the average time between the national and local release dropped from 40 days in 2010 to 15 in 2011; for those with up to 35,000 tickets sold, the gap closed from 19 to six days. Aided by this earlier availability and more flexibility in scheduling—the number of screenings grew 11% to almost 350,000 shows—admissions grew by 39% in the first group and by 25% in the second. Larger cinemas experienced much smaller growth rates, Hancock acknowledged. Last but not least, films were turned over much quicker. The average number of days that a film plays was reduced from 120 in 2010 and 106 in 2011. (Final 2012 figures were not available.) “If an exhibitor uses digital in the same way as 35mm,” he cautions, “merely seeing the switch to digital technology as a change in the presentation methodology and nothing else, then it is likely that digital cinema will have little impact.”
Donau Plex Does Dolby Atmos
Just in time for The Hobbit to hit screens in Austria (and tens of thousands in other countries), Cineplexx will have the very first Kino in the German-speaking countries to install Dolby Atmos. Christian Langhammer, managing partner of the exhibition and distribution group (www.constantinfilm.at) lauded “the unrivaled cinematic experience” of Dolby’s revolutionary sound platform. “As leading innovators…Cineplexx is always focused on being the first in introducing the latest technologies to the market. To date, Dolby Atmos is the most modern and innovative sound system.” Pan-European integrator, sales and service company dcinex (www.dcinex.com) will equip auditorium 7 at the Donau Plex in Vienna in conjunction with an upgrade to a JBL speaker system. At the same time, D-Box motion seats will be installed there and in another screen.
IMAX Adds Across Europe
In addition to upgrading its Donau Plex 13 to Dolby Atmos, the Cineplexx flagship in Vienna, Austria, will also become home of a new IMAX auditorium. Headed by Andrew Cripps, president, IMAX Europe Middle East and Africa, the announcement is part of a five-theatre expansion that the large-format provider signed with existing customers. Pathé Theatres alone will add three to its multiplex circuit across The Netherlands, including The Hague and Tilburg. Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group will add an IMAX theatre in time for the 2014 opening of 11-plex at MK Dons football Stadium in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.
Moviegoers Make a Passbook
Within 50 days of launching sales via Apple’s wallet application, moviegoers have already purchased more than 50,000 tickets via Passbook. Pan-European Kinepolis Group launched the program on Sept. 19 in Belgium, France and Spain. Guests “appreciate the user-friendliness of the Passbook app as well as the scanning speed at the point of entrance,” the Kinepolis press office reported about the ability to store digital copies of tickets, membership cards, loyalty cards and discount vouchers on the iPhone. While Android devices have been able to scan barcodes from e-mails since July 2012 as well, they will soon offer the ability to purchase as well.
Nevafilm Packs Digital KIT
Leveraging its “global experience, software and technology,” KIT Digital Content Solutions will prepare and distribute d-cinema content for Nevafilm in Russia, including DCP duplication. “With an excellent distribution network in place, Nevafilm is perfectly aligned to deliver superior distribution services throughout all of Russia,” noted Alan Christensen, director of d-cinema at KIT. “We endeavor to drive down production costs and time to market whilst maintaining the highest level of service, professionalism and security.”
For over ten years, KIT has been “a trusted partner for major content owners and digital platform operators” such as Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, Disney/ABC, Associated Press and Vodafone. This includes digital cinema, home entertainment, and clip distribution for the web, tablets and smartphones.