Nîmes: the Semaphore notes a “real increase in attendance” since the start of the school year

Despite the difficulties, the works or the price of energy, Jean-Sylvain Minsenn, director of independent cinema, remains optimistic.

“The Semaphore is recovering, like all the rest of the operation, but a little better than the others”welcomes Jean-Sylvain Minsenn, the director of independent cinema. “From September, we noticed a real increase in attendance and above all, the most important thing for us, the return of people who had subscription cards and who had not come for two years”, he continues. Between the beginning of the year and the fall, the drop in attendance exceeds 20% compared to 2019. The national average is closer to 35%.

In recent weeks, sessions for “Simone, the trip of the century“, Golden Palm “Without filter” or the film of Louis Garrel “The Innocent” have refueled again. “We were a little surprised to tell people that it was almost full, to have to open the second box… We had lost the habit”smiles Jean-Sylvain Minsenn.

The summer was also satisfying, and not just because of the heat wave. “It’s also a problem of supply. Many Cannes films have been released in the process, it’s a good lesson for distributors”according to Jean-Sylvain Minsenn, who wants to be optimistic for the future. “Attendance at debate evenings has picked up again. Movie and snack sessions for children are working well”he continues, tired of the anxiety-provoking speeches. “You only have one life, you have to raise your head, look at the sky, go to the cinema or to the show”he exclaims

That’s what schools do. In December, every morning, the cinema was full of children. “It saved us when we reopened. The teachers were delighted to come back to the city with the children. It was also a commitment on their part to reinvest in cultural places.”

There remains the delicate question of the work of the future convention center, “a sacred thorn”. Discussions have taken place with the City. Sophie Roulle, the cultural assistant, is following the file closely. “It is also essential for theaters and museums. The public in the city center is not enough to bring cultural venues to life, you have to open outwards but you have to be accessible”emphasizes Jean-Sylvain Minsenn, welcoming that new traffic signs indicate the direction of the Semaphore.

Another major problem is the rise in energy prices. The electricity bill will triple in January. Management knows it is walking on eggshells, given the context. But the Semaphore will certainly have to increase its prices during the winter.

Despite everything, the dynamism remains. Young people have joined the team and brought freshness, particularly in terms of communication on social networks. The cafeteria is now open all day, offers a new catering offer. “We would like to open the place even more, with board games, newspapers”explains Jean-Sylvain Minsenn, who prefers user-friendliness to the “premium” formulas that certain large networks wish to set up, but with prices that would exceed 20 € per seat.

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Nîmes: the Semaphore notes a “real increase in attendance” since the start of the school year