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UNIC Cinema Days 24 and 25 November

UNIC was delighted to welcome almost 150 colleagues to Brussels for the second time this year, for our Cinema Days event on 24 and 25 November. The two-day event brought together experts from all over Europe to network, discuss challenges and provide insights on a wide range of topics as part of a busy schedule.

For those involved in the UNIC Women’s Cinema leadership programme, the day kicked off a little earlier with an internal meeting at the UNIC offices at 12.00. The programme connects 11 senior female industry executives with up and coming female leaders from across the exhibition sector and it was great to see everyone meet in person on Thursday.

Meanwhile over at Palace Cinema, participants began to arrive for a welcome coffee before the keynote debate kicked off with our own Guillaume Branders (Senior Industry Relations Manager, UNIC) setting the scene. The debate was then moderated by Phil Clapp (CEO, UK Cinema Association & President, UNIC) with excellent additions and insights offered be Steve Knibbs (Group MD and Deputy CEO, Vue International) and Pedro Ferrari (Head of Strategy, Acquisitions and Management Control, NOS Lusomundo Audiovisuais).

Following this debate, Marc de Quervain (Director of Client Services, Showtime Analytics) set the scene and provided interesting findings from a recent study by Showtime on latent demand before the ‘Feeding the Big Screen' panel began. Eric Meyniel (Chief Box Office Officer, Kinepolis Group) moderated a fascinating panel with Nevena Brašanac (Programming Manager SEE, Cineplexx Serbia), Eva Rekettyei (Programme Director, Yelmo Cines), Claire Beswick (Founder, The Living Room Cinema) and Willem Pruijssers (Owner and CEO, Dutch FilmWorks). The group offered observations and insights on how cinemas can fill the ‘content gap’ and face the various programming challenges faced by cinema operators today.

The topic of discussion then turned to sustainability with a quickfire session on ‘Accelerating the Path to Net Zero’. This saw a remote presentation by Koen Saels (Customer Sustainability Strategy & Stewardship Director Europe, The Coca-Cola Company), followed by a stimulating talk by Neil Ross Russell (Managing Director, Net Zero Now) which discussed how cinemas can make moves to achieve their industry carbon neutral goals.

The attendees then enjoyed dinner and drinks at Brasserie de la Presse before the sun set on day one of our Cinema Days event.

The next day participants arrived at the Radisson Collection, Grand Place Brussels for day two and got off to a great start with a virtual quickfire session headed by Julien Marcel (CEO, The Boxoffice Company) which examined how we can reinvent the cinema industry. Following this, attendees enjoyed a presentation by Lucia Recalde (Deputy Director and Head of Unit Audiovisual Industry and Media Support Programmes, DG Connect) to discuss the work of European Commission Media Unit, DG Connect. Attendees then watched a video about the UNIC Women’s Cinema Leadership Programme, before hearing from Vista and Imax who are Champions of the Programme.

After this, a panel on methods and ideas to deal with rising costs and supply-chain issues began, with Kim Ludolf Koch (General Manager, Cineplex) setting the scene and providing concrete facts and figures. This was then followed by a presentation by Juliette Vigoureux (Cinema Consultant, The Shift Project) on how cinemas can move towards more sustainable energy models. After these presentations, Laura Houlgatte (CEO, UNIC) then welcomed the panel of Jan Rasmussen (Head of Screen Technology, Nordisk Film Cinemas), Juliette Vigoureux (Cinema Consultant, The Shift Project) and Christine Berg (President, HDF KINO e.V.) to the stage to continue to discuss how to handle rising costs in exhibition.

We then took a look at the impact of National Cinema Days in various countries as Lucy Jones (Executive Director, Comscore), joined by Eric Marti (General Manager, Comscore France), presented a quickfire session on the topic.

Afterwards attendees enjoyed a well-earned coffee break before breaking into two separate groups to participate in the industry labs – Cinema Marketing and Cinema Technology.

The marketing lab – this year in partnership with the Creative Europe MEDIA Programme - began with a discussion between Clarissa Bergh (Managing Director, Lillehammer Kino) and Greta D’Este-Donelan (Director, Generation Media), moderated by Helen Budge (Managing Editor, Celluloid Junkie), which provided participants with an overview of marketing possibilities and strategies in cinema. Attendees then began to rotate between the different workshops, each focusing on their own unique concepts. Topics covered were: Physical vs Digital (Michelle Stevens, Commercial Director, Powster) Cinema and Language Minorities (Nevena Brašanac, Programming Manager SEE, Cineplexx Serbia and Boglárka Nagy, General Delegate, CICAE), Beyond Films (Linn Fingalsson, Manage, EMEA Marketing, Imax and Sarah Hofmann, Development & Real Estate Manager, UCI Multiplex), Data Analytics (Malcolm Macmillan, Managing Director, The Boxoffice Company), Filling the Gap (Lucy Jones, Executive Director, Comscore and Blerina Pashollari, Cinema Manager & Digital Marketing Manager, Mastercine) and Promotion, Promotion, Promotion (Sharon Reid, Director of Marketing and Partnerships, Cinema First).

Across the way, Guillaume Branders (Senior Industry Relations Manager, UNIC) introduced the Technology lab and attendees enjoyed a range of discussions moderated by Mike Bradbury (Head of Cinema Technology, Odeon Cinemas Group), Jan Petersen (Group Director of Cinema Technology, Vue International), Jan Rasmussen (Head of Screen Technology, Nordisk Cinema Group), Jan Harmsen Director of Cinema Technology, Kinopolis) and Benjamin Dauhrer (CTO/CMO, CINECITTA Multiplexkino). The Technology Lab was made possible with the support of members of the UNIC Partnership Programme as well as colleagues from the EDCF and ICTA.

With a networking lunch halfway through the labs, the day flew by and it was soon time for group feedback and closing remarks from Laura Houlgatte (CEO UNIC) and Guillaume Branders (Senior Industry Relations Manager, UNIC).

Overall, the two days were a superb opportunity for all of those involved in cinema to get together and share innovative, insightful ideas and we are so pleased with how the event went. UNIC would like to once again thank all of our members and partners for their continued support, as well as the sponsors of the event – Christie, Cinionic, CocaCola, Comscore, Creative Europe MEDIA, GDC, Imax, Movio, Showtime Analytics, Vista Group -  who all helped to make Cinema Days possible.

We hope to see you all again in Barcelona on 19-22 June 2023 at CineEurope – save the date now!

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