Independent cinemas: dark skies for dark rooms

Independent cinemas in New Aquitaine have seen a 30% drop in attendance for 2022. Weakened by the energy crisis, small cinemas must find ideas to attract new audiences. This is the theme of “6:30 p.m. in New Aquitaine”.

Everything you need to know about the Basque pelota world championships:
2022 Basque Pelota World Championships

The Dorat municipal cinema has 260 seats for 1,700 inhabitants. Each year, this room classified as “Art & Essai” attracted between 10 and 12,000 spectators. But that was before the pandemic.

Its attendance has fallen by 30% over the current year. “The inhabitants have lost the habit of moving around. They prefer to watch family movies on Netflix or on TV”. laments Jean-Paul Lucas, deputy mayor and volunteer for the “Le Dorat Cinéma” association. “Fortunately, we have about fifteen volunteers who keep the machine running, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to survive.”

Spectators who are reluctant to move, and operating costs that explode with the energy crisis. Result: 10,000 euros more to be found for the municipality. You will have to save money, by lowering the heating by two degrees this winter, for example.

“People were told to bring an extra down jacket. Coming in shirtsleeves to the cinema is over. ”

Jean-Pierre Lucas, deputy mayor of Dorat and volunteer of the association “Le Dorat Cinéma”

The situation is the same in all the small independent cinemas in the region, with a few nuances. The All Saints holidays are usually an opportunity to refuel for operators. “The harvest did not take place this year” deplores Elisabeth Deseuvre, a member of the Independent Cinemas of New Aquitaine (CINA) network, and herself the manager of a cinema in Barbezieux in Charente.

Nevertheless, according to her, the small rooms would come out better than the large exploitation, where the losses would be around 40%. “The multiplexes depend on blockbusters, but there have been fewer than usual this fall.”

The economic climate would also work in favor of independent cinemas, where the price of the place is much lower (on average €5.30 for CINA members), even including the cost of travel.

There is a real attachment to the local room. In our cinemas, we talk with our audience, there are discussions at the end of the screenings…

Elisabeth Deseuvre, member of the board of directors of the Independent Cinemas of New Aquitaine

Contrary to popular belief, it is not the youngest who have deserted the rooms, but their parents. “Teenagers, when we have the film they want, they come. On the other hand, we have a real concern with the 40-55 year olds, who have not returned since the Covid. notes the operator.

This observation made, how to attract again towards the dark rooms? “Events are going very well,” notes Elisabeth Deseuvre. “We work with the associations of the territory, there is desire. We want to develop this niche.”

In Dorat, a film festival has existed for about ten years, during which a “Palme d’Orat” is awarded (this year the winner is the film Sixième enfant by director Léopold Legrand). A manga festival has also emerged, and the town has also recently offered “surprise” films.

Jean-Pierre Lucas and Elisabeth Deseuvre are Caroline Huet’s guests in “6:30 p.m. in New Aquitaine” this Wednesday, November 9.

We would love to thank the writer of this article for this remarkable material

Independent cinemas: dark skies for dark rooms