NewsPress Releases


CineEurope 2019, Barcelona: 19 June 2019 - The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the European cinema trade grouping, today launched the third edition of its Women’s Cinema Leadership Programme, a 12-month mentoring programme for women in cinema exhibition.

Following the success of the first two rounds of the programme, initially launched at CineEurope 2017, this year’s edition will see eight talented female European cinema professionals receiving one-to-one support and development advice from outstanding women executives from across the cinema landscape, recognised for their leadership and business success.

This edition will also for the first time see the initiative expand its reach, welcoming mentees from UNIC’s Partnership Programme - itself composed of key players from across the cinema sector and beyond - to include participants from 14 different companies across 10 territories.

The programme remains UNIC’s flagship initiative to address the need to encourage and empower female professionals in order for the industry to realise its full potential. The 2019/20 edition welcomes the following key female leaders and rising female professionals from across the cinema exhibition landscape:


Sofie Braet (Cinionic, Belgium), Nathalie Cieutat (Les Cinémas Pathé Gaumont, France), Helena Eklund (Filmstaden, Sweden), Cathy Huis in ‘t Veld-Esser (Gofilex B.V., The Netherlands), Petra Rockenfeller (AG Kino & Lichtburg Filmpalast, Germany), Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen (Novo Cinemas, UAE), Eva Maria Valles Novel (Cinesa, Spain), Olga Zinyakova (KARO Cinema Chain, Russia).


Angeliki Angelidou (Cineplexx, Greece), Sévrine Breil (Les Cinémas Pathé Gaumont, France), Susanne Fläxl (Cineplex Neufahrn, Germany), Anna Grunert (Helios, Poland), Louise McKenzie (Webedia Movies Pro, UK), Alessandra Pavan Bernacchi (IMAX, UK), Rochelle Shanthakumar (Odeon Cinemas Group, UK), Hanna Szczepkowska (Arsenal Cinema, Germany).

Welcoming this latest edition of the programme, UNIC CEO Laura Houlgatte commented:

“It’s with great pride that we at UNIC are continuing our committed efforts towards promoting more gender-balanced leadership within the industry.

The success of the first two editions of the UNIC Women’s Cinema Leadership Programme reflects not only the dedication of our inspiring mentors and mentees but also the continued need for discussions surrounding equal opportunities across the sector.

We set out with the key long-term objective of broadening the talent pool for leadership in cinema exhibition, in the hope that the mentees of today would become the mentors of tomorrow.

We’re delighted to be joined by such a fantastic group of industry professionals for this year’s edition and very much look forward to what the next 12 months have in store.”

Please download the full press release here.

UNIC: Survival of cinemas at stake

Brussels: 5 August 2020 – The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the body representing cinema trade...

Investing in Europe’s next generation by investing in culture

As the EU has started discussing the proposed recovery plan, 99 organisations from across Europe’s cultural...

Time to put words into action! Europe’s cultural and creative sectors call for ambitious EU budgetary measures to get through the COVID-19 crisis

Europe’s cultural and creative sectors were among the first and hardest hit by the unprecedented COVID-19...