September in St. Petersburg: Kino Expo convenes for 15th annual confab
The Kino Expo International Convention & Trade Fair was started back in 1999, in the foyer of the historic Leningrad Cinema in St. Petersburg. Now celebrating its 15th year, Kino Expo is the world’s third-largest international exhibition of cinema equipment and annual international film industry convention, with a focus on the markets of Russia and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries, where over 300 million people live. The 2013 show takes place Sept. 15-19 at the LenExpo exhibition complex in St. Petersburg.
Kino Expo contributed much to Russian/CIS film exhibition business growth. Fifteen years ago, there were only a few modern cinemas in Russia, and annual box office was less than US$1 million. Today, there are more than 1,100 cinemas with over 3,250 screens in Russia (not counting the CIS countries), which is about a 20% increase from last year.
Russia/CIS is one of the world’s leading markets in terms of box office, the digital-cinema rollout and new multiplex construction. The number of d-cinema/3D screens in Russia is about 70% of all screens in operation, while the number of d-cinema screens in CIS countries (not including Russia) almost doubled to about 400 over the past year. There is no doubt that this year Russian box office will again well exceed US$1 billion for the fourth consecutive year, which keeps Russia advancing in Europe’s top five and the world’s top 10 largest cinema markets.
This continued growth makes Kino Expo one of the most important international events for both major studios and equipment vendors. Russia and the CIS are one of the most lucrative cinema markets in the world, and will remain so for many years ahead, as new cinemas are being opened in smaller towns all over Russia and CIS countries.
According to Dmitri Kazuto, Kino Expo general manager and CEO of Kinoalliance, the Russian Cinema Exhibitors’ Association, “Kino Expo 2013 is again by all means a record-breaking show. Trade fair growth is very substantial, and international participation is again unprecedented. We expect over 25 international companies to take part in the exhibition. Besides trade show exhibitors, there are international partners, and their contribution is also unprecedented. They are The Coca-Cola Company, Christie, NEC, Doremi, XpanD, IMAX, Dolby, Texas Instruments DLP Cinema, MasterImage, dcinex, Highlands Technologies Solutions and Rentrak. The local sponsors include Nevafilm, Asia Cinema and Kinoproject, to name but a few. 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 ninth consecutive year.
“As for the films, as always there will be spectacular presentations and screenings of new major studio releases by 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios, Sony Pictures Releasing, Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures (the latter two represented by the local sub-distributors, Central Partnership and Karo Premiere, respectively). A lot of local and independent content will also be presented. The most anticipated Russian blockbuster Stalingrad by the director Fyodor Bondarchuk, to be released by Sony Pictures, is expected to be screened at Kino Expo on Sept. 19.
“The educational program will feature a Coca-Cola concession conference and panel discussion; Kino Expo University, a series of technical and marketing presentations by equipment vendors; the international conference ‘Cinema Exhibition Business’ and a new conference on film production. Russia is one of the world’s leaders in film production. However, the share of local films in theatrical exhibition, which used to be about 30% in 2007, has since dropped to less than 20%. This is a major concern for our government and all of the cinema industry.”
Kazuto continues, “It has been a very difficult year for the Russian cinema industry and local cinema exhibitors’ association Kinoalliance. Since July 2012 and up until now, we had to confront the Ministry of Culture and some of the Parliament members’ initiatives to introduce legally binding screening quotas on local films and limiting VAT breaks on cinema tickets for local films only. Led by Kinoalliance, the Russian cinema industry spoke out unanimously against these measures, which, if accepted, would have a deep negative impact. It is noteworthy that supporters of screening quotas for local films referred to positive European experience in this field. Our colleagues from UNIC made it clear in an open statement that there were no legally binding screening quotas in any UNIC territories.”
Kazuto notes, “The Russian government’s concern over the continuing decline of local films’ market share is understandable, especially in view of the fact that it is the Russian government that sponsors most of the local film production. However, it is absolutely clear that putting more economic pressure on cinemas will not lead to increasing attendance for local films. It is expected that Russian films will make a strong comeback in cinemas this fall and over the holiday season. Kino Expo’s screening lineup clearly has a focus on the Russian product!”
Kino Expo welcomes the global film business community to attend its 15th-anniversary Edition in St. Petersburg in September. For more information, visit www.kinoexpo.ru/eng.