UNIC Cinema Days 2019

On 28 and 29 October more than 180 colleagues from across the cinema industry joined us in Brussels for our annual Cinema Days. Two days of insightful panel discussions, interactive workshops and networking provided the framework for a highly successful 6th edition.

The first day off the event kicked off with a fascinating keynote debate on key industry trends involving Louise Vesth (Film Producer) and Peter Fornstam (Founder & Managing Director of Svenska Bio and Chairman of the Swedish Exhibitors’ Association), moderated by Phil Clapp (CEO, UK Cinema Association and President, UNIC).

This was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Sarah Lewthwaite (Managing Director, Senior Vice President EMEA Region at Movio) exploring the relationship between cinemas and tech giants and how win-win partnerships between the two can be ensured. The conversation was opened by Marine Suttle (SVP, Chief Product Officer, The Boxoffice Company) who set the scene for the panel. Then, the stage welcomed Derren Sequeira (Entertainment Lead, Facebook UK), Michael Zouzou (Chief Digital Officer, Les Cinémas Pathé Gaumont), Klaus Odegaard (VP, Nordisk Film Distribution), Kate Gerova (Group Director Marketing and Brand, Curzon) and Dana Ritter (Product Manager Google Assistant, Google) who provided the ingredients for a thought provoking discussion.

The second panel of the day focused on premium experiences and explored how, with audience expectations becoming more demanding and diverse than ever, cinema operators can curate premium experiences to meet and exceed them. Moderated by Patrick von Sychowski (Editor, Celluloid Junkie) the discussion brought together Crispin Lilly (CEO, Everyman Group), Hendrik ten Napel (Manager Product & Format, Pathé Netherlands), Heather Walker (Director of Operations, Royal Opera House) and Ann Jansen (CMO, Kinepolis). The scene was set by Christopher Widauer (Head of Digital Development, Vienna State Opera) who explained what premium means in his sector.

Traditionally, the first day ended with a dinner reception & after-party drinks in the heart of Brussels that lasted well into the night. The next morning, participants gathered for the second day of the event that provided them with additional opportunities to deepen their conversations on the latest trends in the industry. The day started with a series of quickfire presentations on a wide range of topics:

  • The power of people in business
    Dee Vassili, Executive Director - Group HR, Vue International 
    Monica Chadha, Independent Director
  • UNIC Women’s Cinema Leadership Programme
    Edna Epelbaum, CEO of Cinevital, Cinepel, Cinemont, Quinnie; President of the Swiss Cinema Operators' Association; Vice-President of UNIC
    Sharon Reid, Director of Marketing and Partnerships, Cinema First Limited
    Lucia Anglade, Operational Director in charge of Pathé Brand Implementation, Les Cinémas Pathé Gaumont
  • Making cinema-going more accessible
    Rick Williams, Managing Director, Freeney Williams
  • How to Design a Cinema Auditorium
    Rolv Gjestland, Adviser in Cinema Design and Technology, Film & Kino
  • Untapped audiences – The German case
    Kim Ludolf Koch, CEO, Cineplex Germany
  • Europa Cinemas Innovation Prize Winner
    Kristof Jonckheere, General Manager, BUDA Arts Center 


Afterwards, participants were invited to join one of two parallel industry labs on cinema marketing and technology each exploring current trends and business opportunities through a series of expert talks and collaborative exercises.

The Marketing Lab was kicked off by Independent Advisor Jan Runge, who presented the outcomes of the two previous marketing meetings. The day continued with a series of rotating and interactive workshops exploring themes such

  • Sustainability
    Moderated by Prill Brewin & Sarah Girling, The Blue Stocking Partnership
  • Untapped Audiences
    Moderated by Sarah Lewthwaite, Movio & Deliah-Victoria Kyburz, Deliverse
  • Cinema advertisement - how to tailor it?
    Moderated by Frank Senger & Stefan Kuhlow, WerbeWeischer
  • What can we learn from other sectors?
    Moderated by Patrick von Sychowski & Helen Budge, Celluloid Junkie
  • Event Cinema Marketing
    Moderated by Jan Runge, Independent Advisor & Michelle Stevens, CineEvents


The Technology Lab began with an open conversation on new approaches to investment in cinema technology, moderated by Phil Clapp.  This was followed by two presentations – one focusing on cinema technology and sustainability (by Jan Daem, Barco) and the second exploring the Digital Cinema Picture Levels Project (by Roland Jones, Vue International). Then, EDCF Board members - Matt Jahans from Harkness Screens, Tammo Buhren from zweiB and Oleg Berezin from Nevafilm & RACO – moderated a brainstorming exercise on the EDCF problem resolution forum. The Lab then concluded with a series of collaborative workshops

  • Immersive sound
    Moderated by Jan Rasmussen, Nordisk Film Cinemas
  • Quality assurance
    Moderated by Adam Macdonald & Maarten Krzesinski, GDC Technology
  • Aspect ratios
    Moderated by Matt Jahans, Harkness Screens


We very much look forward to seeing everyone next year for another successful event. The dates for UNIC Cinema Days 2020 will be announced soon - stay tuned! 

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