In her opening remarks, UNIC CEO Laura Houlgatte highlighted the crucial role cinemas play in the film value-chain and communities, along with the power of the Big Screen to provide the unique, shared, immersive experience and escapism that audiences are craving.
The keynote debate that followed focused on the latest developments in the sector and involved Anna Marsh (CEO, StudioCanal) and Christof Papousek (CFO and Co-Owner, Cineplexx), alongside moderator Phil Clapp (President, UNIC/CEO, UKCA).
The first day of the event also included a series of “quick fire” sessions on different topics of interest to the group. The first session brought everyone to France and showcased the “back to the cinema campaign” launched by the Fédération Nationale des Cinémas Français. The following session focused on the Irish Film Institute and their accessibility initiative, for which they received the 2020 Europa Cinemas Innovation Award. This was followed by a special presentation on UNIC’s recent and upcoming publications, during which we also launched our 2020 Annual Report.
The road to recovery and what more can be done in terms of national support, programming and marketing for cinemas of all sizes and locations was discussed in a panel debate moderated by Julien Marcel (CEO, The Boxoffice Company) and involving experts from across the cinema landscape, namely: Lucy Jones (Executive Director, Comscore UK and Ireland), Christine Berg (Managing Director, HDF Kino), Eric Meyniel (International Content Director, Kinepolis), Doron Kurz (Commercial Director, Pathé Netherlands) and Metka Daris (Managing Director, Kinodvor).
The day concluded with a success story from Spain – the release of the Spanish production Padre no Hay Más que Uno 2, which highlighted the importance of new content in the recovery process.
The second day of the event kicked off with a session moderated by Patrick von Sychowski (Editor, Celluloid Junkie) that reflected on the impact of COVID-19 on cinema technology and the opportunities that had come out of this crisis. The session featured Charlotte Jones (Associate Director, Cinema, Omdia Informa Tech), Roland Jones (Executive Director of Technical Services, Vue International) and Mike Bradbury (Head of Cinema Technology, ODEON Cinemas Group) and ended with an amazing piece from Arcadia Cinemas, reminding everyone about the magic of the Big Screen.
The session was followed by a presentation from Oliver Delaney (European Cinema Development Director, The Coca-Cola Company) on recent developments within the UNIC/Coca-Cola Circular Economy Group, during which the winners of the “Brief Cases” project - the group’s new initiative on sustainability in cinemas launched in partnership with two leading universities in the UK - were announced.
Diversity is high on UNIC’s agenda and, therefore, it was explored from different angles in a special panel debate bringing key industry leaders Lizzie Banks (Festival Producer, Oska Bright Film Festival), Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen (CEO, NOVO Cinemas), Marcello Paolillo (Project Manager, Locarno Under 30 Project), Lotte Sodemann Sørensen (HR Director, Nordisk Film A/S) and Anthony Andrews (Co-Founder and Creative Director, We Are Parable). The panel was moderated by Sharon Reid (Director of Marketing & Partnerships, Cinema First) and looked into what has been achieved and what more can be done in terms of promoting diversity and inclusion across the industry.
The last session of the event – moderated by Independent Consultant Jan Runge - was focused on re-inventing audience engagement in 2020. Together with Sarah Lewthwaite (Chief Client Officer, Movio), Daniel Sibbers (Head of Marketing, Yorck Kinogruppe) and Tomasz Jagiello (CEO, Helios Cinema), it explored recent learnings, as well as new trends and developments in cinema marketing and customer experience.
All in all, it was two engaging afternoons that brought us together and provided a space to share our passion for the Big Screen experience and our hopes for the future of our sector.
We cannot wait for the 2021 edition of the UNIC Cinema Days, which hopefully will take place in person in Brussels!