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The best thing about the cinema experience for me is that it is UNIQUE and MEMORABLE

For the 17th edition of Big Screen Feature - providing a behind-the-scenes look at the world of cinema exhibition through the eyes of professionals themselves - Laura Fumagalli (Marketing & Events Manager, Arcadia Cinemas) discusses the job itself and the value of the Big Screen.

Describe your typical day at work

For the time being, as of early December 2020, all cinemas in Italy and major international markets, along with the vast majority of cinemas in the US are closed.

Nothing is normal right now. We are facing unprecedented, atypical circumstances in our industry.

If I go back to a “pre-pandemic” working day, I like having breakfast with my family, dropping my son Luca off at school before driving to our ARCADIA Melzo flagship location, which is where our main offices are located. They are right next to our PLF Energy Screen theatre and booth. The fact of actually being on site during both non-opening and, mostly, opening hours has always been crucial for me throughout the years and has the utmost impact on the many facets of my job.

The first daily thing is checking the previous day’s admissions & sales to review movie performance in our cinemas and going through the Cinetel daily bulletin for box office and admissions for the Italian market and often looking at international markets’ figures as well.

Then every day is indeed very different but, to summarise, most days usually hold various meetings, calls and checking-in with a very diverse range of people, including office and cinema staff, distributors, partners, content providers and deliveries, manufacturers, media partners, creatives for special events, the exhibitor’s association and colleagues in Italy and abroad, local community association representatives, schools, journalists and first & foremost, our patrons. I love to personally interact with them through providing special screening introductions to welcome/relate with them in person, getting their feedback in different ways (face-to-face, post screening audience reactions videos, customer service etc.). Our daily focus is providing audiences with the best possible theatrical experience so, for me, it is crucial to be up-to-speed with them and actually get to know as many of them as possible.

The moment you fell in love with the Big Screen?

My family has always been in exhibition, so I was born and grew up in cinemas.

As a child, after school, projection booths in particular or any cinema space have always been my environment. I still remember doing homework beside the film assembling unit and being very much attracted by the film splicer to do my necklaces, bracelets and rings, by using a few empty frames of tails of 35mm film. I counted the days until I could start working in the late 80s/early 90s at Cinema Centrale as an usher, taking phone reservations for the smaller 50 seat theatre and being in the bigger 450 seat auditorium standing towards the back wall, a little aside from the audience and already observing the spectators.

I also had the chance to work at Loews Cineplex/Sony Theatres in NYC many years ago. This was a crucial experience in my carreer as an exhibitor, as it gave me the opportunity to learn about the US exhibition community from the inside. Through the years, my range of devotion to the art of film has obviously grown but considering the above premises I’d pick up two films that best characterise my upbringing: our very own Nuovo Cinema Paradiso and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. I mention these two films because, many years after seeing them, I was fortunate to meet both Mr Tornatore and Mr Harlan of the Kubrick family in Arcadia. Meetings and conversations with such film creatives & film lovers will always have a special place in my heart.

Then, throughout the years I can certainly think of many,many other creatives whose films I would see countless times, sometimes entering in the theatre exactly at the precise moment to see the audience’s reactions and, by the end, being able to remember the exact words of this or that actress/actor’s dialogue.

The best thing about the cinema experience? 

The best thing about the cinema experience for me is that it is UNIQUE and MEMORABLE.

It is unique because, besides being an out-of-home, full dedicated attention, communal experience, all of us - as patrons - are LITTLE in front of the immersive huge screen and great sound, great architectural environment and, last but certainly not least, great story in front of us.

It is memorable because it is impossible, in any other viewing contexts, to reach that kind of genuine appreciation and excitement of truly raving fans. Only the Big Screen gives you those unique experiences that you will remember forever and talk about with your family’s future generations and friends for many years to come.

We look forward to being back in cinemas to support the creative community and offer more unique and memorable film experiences on the Big Screen to both present and future generations of audiences alike.

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