The International Arthouse Cinema Association is calling for support after Creative Europe – Media cut funding for the only international training for arthouse cinemas. In 2004, the association established an international training course for young cinema professionals from Europe and many other countries to strengthen and build their skills, develop new ideas and create new business models for the cinema of the future in an ever-changing media world.
For the period 2023-2025, the Media program of the European Union has withdrawn its support for this initiative.
According to the association, "Without the main funder, the training course will not be able to be continued. And this at a time when cinema urgently needs new impulses for the future after three years of the pandemic and rising energy costs."
The CICAE has issued a call for action, which is published here in its entirety:
"The business model of cinemas is evolving, as is the behavior of its audience. Events, program diversity and new marketing strategies are becoming just as important as investments in digital and ecological modernization.
"All of this is embodied in the Arthouse Cinema Training, which has trained and further educated almost 1,000 cinema operators and film professionals over the years so that they can successfully establish the cinema as a permanent place of encounter in the neighborhood in a rapidly changing society," the association adds in their press release.
"Professionalism, innovation and networking are the keys to the necessary change in our industry. Through the Arthouse Cinema Training, a network of alumni has been created to foster the ideas of the European Union and the Media network in their everyday work, such as increasing audiences' interest in and knowledge of European films and audiovisual work, and promoting competitiveness, scalability, cooperation, innovation, and sustainability in the European audiovisual sector.
"The training program remains the only international training scheme that is specifically, explicitly and individually tailored to the needs of the independent exhibition industry. Unlike other market participants, such as creatives and producers, there are neither targeted national training programs nor many opportunities for international meetings for the arthouse exhibition industry.
"With the discontinuation of EU funding, there is a serious risk of losing a painstakingly built network and support structures developed over many years, which strengthened the role of arthouse cinemas, and which contributed to the dissemination and visibility of the diversity of European filmmaking.
"In her State of the Union address in September, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, declared 2023 to be the European Year of Competences. These are exactly the competences we need for European cinema because the shortage of skilled workers is also affecting movie theatres.
"We need a new generation of courageous cinema operators who also trust in the power of cinema and will stand up for film and art diversity, and thus also for democratic values in Europe.
"We need the Arthouse Cinema Training to continue having exhibitors doing the essential work of showcasing and creating visibility for a rich, beautiful and daring European cinema."