Kinodromo is a cinema association showing independent films at the Europa Cinema in Bologna on Mondays and Tuesdays. The association was born from a student occupation movement in 2011, and continues to provide a diverse film programme and offer alternative events at the Loft, Kinodromo’s own event space and bar. Julia Webster spoke to filmmaker, Davide Labanti, and video artist/musician/graphic designer/teacher, Luca Mazza – two of the association’s 40 founding members – about challenges and achievements in the Bologna film scene.
How would you describe Kinodromo in three words?
Luca: Assembly, passion, madness.
How did it all start?
Davide: Kinodromo was born as an association in October 2012, after a year of open assemblies consisting of about 40 people, where we discussed the problems surrounding the audiovisual field in Bologna. This assembly has its origins during the student occupation movement ‘Santa Insolvenza’ which occupied the Arcobaleno Cinema in Bologna on 11th November 2011. As part of international Occupy Everything day, the cinema was taken over and Bolognese artists were called to bring their films in, in order to keep the cinema full. I brought in my films and saw them projected at the cinema with many other Bolognese filmmakers. People stayed there all night to watch the films made by local artists. When the projections finished, the Cineasti Arcobaleno group (Arcobaleno Filmmakers) was born. In our eyes, the occupation had returned a public space to the artists who needed their films to be shown on screen, and we wanted to continue this.
After the occupation experience ended we had a ‘secret meeting’ arranged via phone calls and texts, quite furtively. We decided to have regular open assemblies to discuss problems relating to our common profession. We wanted to revive film production in our region of Italy, Emilia Romagna. 70 people turned up to our first assembly, from young amateur filmmakers to older experienced professionals. From then on we had assemblies once a week for about a year.
Then we heard that a cinema on via Pietralata was about to close, and we offered to take over the screenings for a few evenings a week to show films that were struggling for visibility. We took it on and offered an aperitivo before the films, to which we gradually added performances, concerts, meetings with the directors… anything related to the film that would be screened that evening. Creating this multifaceted event, we’ve managed to attract all kinds of people to the cinema.
What are Kinodromo’s objectives?
Luca:The objective is to facilitate people’s work in the film industry in a number of ways. We want to facilitate film screenings, but also meetings between various creative people and the birth of ideas. As an initial decision, we don’t produce audiovisual content directly as Kinodromo. But it has recently been suggested that we start to approach film production.
How are films chosen?
Davide: I’m not actually involved in this part of Kinodromo. In terms of who chooses the films, we are 40 founding members divided into working groups, one of which is dedicated to the film programme, and anyone is welcome to join it. The films are chosen and then we contact the distributors or the production companies. Last year we reduced the group to about five people, to make the decision process faster, but anyone can bring a film that they know or would like to see, and submit it to the working group. The film is voted, and then taken into account in the context of the city and its potential local impact.
How did the idea of the Loft start?
Davide: After three years at the Europa cinema, we felt the need to find a space where we could meet up and organise our work. For three years we had assemblies in a different social centre because we didn’t have our own space. The new Loft is an AICS circle (Italian Association for Culture and Sport), meaning anyone can come in with a membership card. We are trying to develop the space into a hub for film production, a space available to anyone who needs an office to start working on a project, or a studio for castings. In the mean time we also offer it as a space for events, concerts, DJ sets, presentations, workshops… all sorts!
Why is independent cinema important?
Luca: Cinema is important. Mainstream cinema takes the viewer where it wants, it sells a product that goes beyond cinema: in making the stars, in merchandising… everything behind it. Cinema is an important medium, like music, and so independent voices are crucial if we want to see authentic and varied cinema.
Davide: It’s important because in the last twenty years in Italy, only 15 per cent of films produced are actually shown in cinemas. This is because there’s a duopoly: RAI and Mediaset (the two largest film distributors) decide which films are to be shown. The public is then impoverished, and we don’t know what we’re missing. Cinemas end up with either comedies or great art films, which are good, but they’re all made by the same top twenty or thirty filmmakers. There are so many authors who make good films but have no distribution power. This is, I think, the most important part of what we do. At Kinodromo, we give visibility to films that otherwise might not have an opportunity to be shown in a cinema.
Via San Rocco 16, 40100, Bologna
Entrance is reserved to members (you can purchase a membership card at the entrance for 8€ – includes a discount at the Europa cinema and entrance to other AICS venues in Bologna)
Via Pietralata 55/A, 40100, Bologna