UltraStar Cinemas, one of Southern California’s largest privately-owned movie theater groups, has formed a public-private partnership with the Xiamen Culture and Art Center and Xiamen University of Technology to create an organization dedicated to education and training in digital cinema management.
Together, they will establish the XMUT UltraStar Academy of Digital Cinema Management with a multi-disciplinary curriculum developed jointly by all three entities. The curriculum will be offered at the Xiamen University of Technology, a public university, under the major of Digital Cinema Management beginning in 2012.
“The Academy of Digital Cinema Management aims to equip Chinese workers with the understanding, experience, and skill set necessary to operate digital cinemas as high quality, profitable businesses,” said Terry Guo, Executive President of XMUT College of Digital Arts.
The curriculum will incorporate Chinese business, employment, and cultural standards in order to create an effective synthesis of management practices used in China and by UltraStar’s U.S. locations. Instruction and hands-on experience will be provided by Chinese educators and UltraStar representatives in areas such as: digital cinema design and construction; cinema management principles; cinema marketing techniques; booking and buying of content; digital equipment usage and maintenance; digital content alternatives; concessions management; human resources; and customer service.
“Chinese audiences represent a tremendous market for digital cinema and the associated exhibition of alternative content,” said John Ellison, COO and co-founder, UltraStar Cinemas. “This partnership combines the resources of one of China’s leading cultural institutions, the talents of a highly-respected technical university, and our 40-year experience as one of North America’s most innovative and successful exhibitors.”
“By establishing a network of digital cinemas across China, we believe we can serve an important cultural purpose and create successful businesses incorporating leading-edge technology for the 21st century," said Tony Gaston, Manager of UltraStar Asia’s operations. "The digital medium will allow network locations to exhibit the wide array of entertainment and educational content now available to audiences and ‘fine tune’ programming to meet the specific demand of culturally diverse populations across China.”
“Box office has grown rapidly in recent years, and in the first quarter of this year, our cultural output increased by 37%,” said Xu Xiang Ming, Vice Director of the Xiamen Culture and Arts Center. “In China, we still have to fully develop the infrastructure necessary to receive and exhibit and digital content. The advent of digital cinema also requires individuals trained in digital cinema management and operations. We are thrilled to partner with UltraStar, the world’s first exhibitor to go all-digital, to create a course of instruction that will expose Chinese students to all aspects of the business and prepare them for leadership roles in this industry.”
UltraStar Cinemas is recognized industry-wide as the first adopter of digital cinema technology almost a decade ago and currently operates as one of the few all-digital circuits in the world. In June 2002, UltraStar completed the largest installation of digital projectors in the industry. In December 2005, UltraStar became the first theater group in the world to install digital projectors on 100% of its screens. UltraStar’s founders have successfully established international cinemas, such as Xtreme Cinemas in Mexico, and plan to leverage their experience in worldwide theatrical digital presentation in China.
About Xiamen Culture and Art Center
The Xiamen Culture and Art Center is a large public cultural facility serving as a center of culture, tourism, and leisure. It is the largest public cultural area in Xiamen and the Fujian Province and also one of the largest, most comprehensive culture and art centers in China. The Xiamen Culture and Art Center consists of the Xiamen Library, Xiamen Museum, Xiamen Art Museum, Xiamen Science and Technology Museum, and facilities such as a performing arts center, conference center, amphitheater, visitor service center, cultural mall, and catering center.
About Xiamen University of Technology
Xiamen University of Technology (XMUT), established simultaneously with Xiamen Economic Zone, is a provincial public university, offering a wide array of degree programs at undergraduate levels. It was built and developed under the joint efforts of Xiamen Municipal Government and Fujian Principal Government. Currently, XMUT has a total enrollment of over 14,000 students. Over 11,000 are full-time undergraduate students and 3-year associate degree students. The University has a full-time faculty of more than 700 and comprises 16 departments which offer 24 bachelor’s degree programs.