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Brussels—Apr 26, 2013

Cinema Exhibitors Call Onto European Leaders to Recognise and Promote Cinemas in the Digital Age

The International Union of Cinemas (“UNIC”) this week met European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes, representatives of the Culture and Legal Affairs Committees of the European Parliament and other high-ranking EU officials. 

During the meetings UNIC highlighted that cinemas embrace digital innovation and provide a diverse cinema-going experience to film-lovers across Europe. It stressed the need for an exclusive and sustainable theatrical window to enable European films to reach audiences and emphasised that such exclusivity was the only means to finance the wealth of European films that exists today.
 
Commenting on the meetings, Ad J. Weststrate, President of UNIC, said:
“It was particularly important to us to reach out to Vice-President Neelie Kroes after recent comments by her regarding the future of our industry and to highlight the cultural, social and economic contribution that European cinemas make. We were happy to establish some common ground and to hear that VP Kroes acknowledges the importance of an exclusive theatrical window for the well-being of the European cinema sector. DG Connect clearly recognises the entrepreneurial spirit of cinema exhibitors and VP Kroes underlined her desire to promote innovation in the European film industry. We look forward to working with DG Connect on helping it to refine its digital agenda for European cinema.”

During a breakfast meeting at the European Parliament later in the week co-organised with Member of Parliament Helga Trüpel, UNIC met with the Chair of the Committee for Culture and Education, Doris Pack, and other MEPs that lead on cinema policy (Piotr Borys, Marielle Gallo, Silvia Costa, Santiago Fisas Ayxela). The meeting touched on several aspects that are of key relevance to the European film sector, including upcoming free trade negotiations between the EU and the US, access to an increasingly diverse film offer enabled through digital cinema, challenges related to the on-going roll out of digital projection technology and the interdependence of cinema exhibition and other film markets, including Video on Demand.
 
Commented Jan Runge, CEO of UNIC:
“We are very grateful to the European Parliament for its continued support for European cinema. These are critical times for EU film policy-makers who work on a range of dossiers that can make or break the ability of European cinema to thrive: the Cinema Communication, the potential Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the USA, Creative Europe, the Council Recommendation on European Film in a Digital Era, and many more. All the participants of the meeting recognised the important role that cinema theatres play as the flagship of EU film markets, which drives success of films on all other platforms. It will therefore be essential that cinema is promoted and protected by European audiovisual policy in the future.”

In a joint press note with other European film industry associations earlier this week UNIC had called onto the European Commission and the Member States to ensure that audiovisual services be specifically excluded from the negotiation mandate of the European Commission regarding a potential Free Trade Agreement with the USA.

Subsequent meetings with high-ranking officials of the European Commission helped UNIC to further deliver key policy messages that are of importance to European cinema exhibitors.
The outreach exercise followed UNIC’s recent move to become more involved in EU policy making and the establishment of a close working relationship between UNIC, the EU institutions and related European film industry associations in Brussels.

UNIC’s delegation included its President Ad J. Weststrate as well as exhibitors and heads of associations from the Netherlands, France, the UK, Luxembourg, Italy and Denmark.
 
For more information contact:
Jan Runge: jrunge@unic-cinemas.org / +32 2 8809939

About UNIC (International Union of Cinemas): The International Union of Cinemas ('UNIC') represents cinema associations and key cinema operators across 36 European territories, accounting for € 8.5 billion - or $ 9.2 billion - box office revenue and 1.26 billion admissions in 2015.
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UNIC (International Union of Cinemas) Directory page
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