After a one-year stop due to the pandemic, ACE has returned in Bologna for its annual workshop during Il Cinema Ritrovato festival. The event, hosted by MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, was in collaboration with Europa Cinemas. The ACE workshop, moderated by professor Francesco Clerici, was divided in two sessions. The morning one was an opportunity to discuss the re-opening of cinemas and the presence of new platforms, while the afternoon was dedicated to film education.
This year’s workshop focused on what the film archives learned during the pandemic lockdowns, the challenges they have faced and which paths are possible for the future. After the opening remarks from ACE president Sandra Den Hamer, the first part of the morning session, named Re-Opening Cinemas, started with Michal Bregant’s intervention. He highlighted how film archives have an added value during this time since they can offer multiple opportunities. The A Season of Classic Films project was an opportunity for ACE to work on an international scale. The most important aspect is nonetheless finding new ways to communicate with the viewer. Madeleine Probst highlighted how the positive response from the public was the result of a mixture of previews from film festival and classics. For her every cinema should consider introducing repertoire films into the the programming and the rise of new social platforms that are interested in cinema, like TikTok. According to Gianluca Farinelli, the film archives have to keep up with the good work they have always done, but for the quality cinema there will always be an audience. Cineteca di Bologna has implemented streaming opportunities into its offer and Il Cinema Ritrovato – Fuori Sala has proved to be incredibly successful. For Mikko Kuutti and Kirsi Raitaranta, at KAVI the re-opening brought many challenges. The government keeps imposing a 2 meters safety distance while restaurants are opened at full capacity. The one thing that they know for a fact is that classics deserve the big screen and draw large audiences in any case.
For the second part of the morning session, dedicated to the new platforms, Thomas Christensen explained the proposal for a pool of films that can be used for online programming in ACE cinematheques and also that a new copyright directive might open up rights for heritage film usage. Ellen Harrington showed the new online efforts DFF has put out to engage its audience: from podcasts, YouTube videos to live events on Instagram, but also hybrid festivals. Her conclusion is that the hybrid offer creates the opportunity of expanding the audience outside the city limits. Mikko Kuutti and Kirsi Raitaranta took the stage again to talk about Elonet, KAVI’s streaming platform. It has no rights issues since KAVI itself is the rights holder and during the pandemic it was particularly successful, especially for series of films curated by KAVI programmers. Lauren Murphy highlighted one of the most important points of the conversation by saying that the online viewing will never be a complete substitute for the in-person viewing.
The afternoon session of the workshop focused on film education by showcasing some good practices from ACE members. Film education provides people with all the skills they need to participate fully in a society in which visual culture is leading. Those who learn the language of film have learned the language of life. The initiatives illustrated during the meeting concern the younger audience by helping them in their first approach to cinema. The good practices presented during this workshop were CinArts (presented by Cineteca di Bologna); CinEd (presented by Cinemateca Portuguesa); Cinemini Europe (presented by Eye Filmmuseum and DFF) and CCAJ (presented by Cinémathèque française and BFI). The speakers – Nathalie Bourgeois, Simone Fratini, Elisa Giovannelli, Paraskevi Karageorgu, Christine Kopf (moderator), Rui Machado, Adeline Margueron, Mark Reid, Sebastian Rosenow, Florine Wiebenga – focused on the inherent correlation between the dynamics of cinema and of life. One interesting point raised by many of the speakers is the importance of the communication with the children involved, by asking them what they expect and readjusting according to their needs and their knowledge.