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The European Audiovisual Observatory hosts Digital Cinema Tango conference Sunday afternoon

The European Audiovisual Observatory hosted a workshop Sunday afternoon, focusing on the theme of financing the digitization of cinema in Europe. The workshop took place form 3p.m. to 4:30p.m. in Salle Bunuel in the Palais des Festivals. The Observatory's director, Wolfgang Closs, elaborated on the reason behind the workshop's theme, titled "Digital Cinema Tango! Getting the right rhythm for the digitization of European cinemas."

Closs explained: "There is a clear problem of synchronisation of movement: the market is now going very fast, but the public policies necessary to support the transition for small cinemas are quite slow, due to complex legal issues. This two-speed process made us think of the ‘slow, slow, quick, quick, slow’ steps of the tango!”

Closs asserts that the digitization of cinema is the industry's biggest debate of the moment. The Observatory's Cinema Analyst, Martin Kanzler started off the dance by looking the overal market trends of 2009. Following his presentation, Elisabetta Brunella of Media Sales provided an analysis of digital roll-out in Europe for 2009.

The Observatory's film funding analyst, Susan Newman, next presented a guide to the public funding currently available for digital roll-out. Francisco Cabrera, Legal Analyst at the Observatory, then focused on the complex legal issues surrounding state aid for digitization by looking at recent national decisions in the field.

A distinguished line-up of speakers, moderated by André Lange, Head of Department at the Observatory, discussed the challenges and threats posed by digital roll-out to European films, as well as their space on cinema screens in Europe.

Other notable speakers at the workshop included Ian Christie, Vice President of Europa Cinemas, and Christine Eloy of Europa Distribution.

Aviva Silver, Head of the MEDIA Programme of the European Union, and Antoine Virenque, President of the European Digital Cinema Forum also spoke to attendees.

The Observatory offered its view on the Cannes Film Market and presented three new cinema-related information products. It was announched that the access-free KORDA database on all sources of public funding for film and audiovisual works in Europe has been totally re-vamped, and the new improved KORDA will be available for consultation on the Observatory’s stand (A6 Riviera) throughout the market. Susan Newman demonstrated the new database on Saturday 15 May.

Francisco Cabrera discussed his new IRIS plus report on the legal aspects of digital cinema roll-out, which was available on the Observatory’s stand. A further issue of IRISplus on product placement will also be published during the Cannes Film Market. 

The content of the panel will be available online tomorrow. Check back tomorrow for more information.

Lauren Ellison 

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