Art Cinema is a public institution active in the field of film art and culture, founded by the City of Rijeka. The core business takes place at Art Cinema Croatia, a theatre in the very centre of Rijeka. First screenings there took place in 1926. The theatre was renamed and opened to the public in December 2008.
At that time City of Rijeka launched the Art Cinema Croatia project with the aim of creating a public space intended for screenings of valuable, contemporary and heritage cinema, and development of film culture. The aim was also to revitalise one of the most beautiful public spaces in the city and one of the most beautiful theatres in Croatia and beyond and save it from decay. The Art Cinema Croatia project has grown into a continuous business, whose characteristics made it a cultural institution with a profiled programme, numerous audience and a clear role. Therefore, in December 2012, pursuant to the decision of the Rijeka City Council, the Art Cinema institution was established.
Art Cinema acts as a platform for the development of audiovisual industry and has accepted the role of a promoter of film culture. Art Cinema is a place not only where films are screened and watched, but also discussed, a place of education, communication and exploration of the art of motion pictures, film reflections and reflections on film.
Art Cinema’s operations are divided into four segments, i.e. four main programmes:
Children and young people activities
Training and mediation
Support to Rijeka’s film production
Our concept is based on artistic relevance, awareness of the cultural institutions’ educational role, their responsibility for the development of culture in general and openness to the needs of the community.
Art Cinema’s film programme is very clearly defined and consists of national and international film heritage, contemporary artistic European and independent production, and training programmes. It is the centre of Rijeka’s screen life – almost all of Rijeka’s film events take place there and it hosts almost all the leading Croatian film festivals whose profiles are diverse, but always strongly art-leaning. Its regular listings include fiction, animated, documentary, experimental, amateur, short and feature films. One of the Institution’s tasks is to maintain a continuous cinematheque programme in order to ensure availability of films of particular historical significance and artistic value and often we host retrospectives dedicated to filmmakers, actors, genres, themes, film directions etc. A special focus is places on European film production, often through organisations of national cinema festivals. The programme also includes experimental films, i.e. art practices challenging the boundaries of film language and form, or connecting the medium of film with other arts. Art Cinema is a happy marriage of cinematheque and art house, annually showing over 600 film titles, hosting around 20 film festivals, 40 events, author cycles, premieres, discussions, book and magazine presentations and countless other events related to film art.
The film programme takes place at Art Cinema Croatia, Summer Art Cinema and Mini Art Cinema.
Programmes for children and young people
Art Cinema is trying to develop film culture in all its aspects. We are particularly trying to design programmes for children and young audience and inspire them to watch, understand and create films. We are continually implementing several projects aiming to inspire an interest in film among children and young people and introduce them to particular elements of film, i.e. media culture. One such example is School at the Cinema, a programme implemented in association with the Rijeka City Department for Education and Croatian Film Clubs’ Association since 2009. This programme is in line with the media culture curriculum for elementary school, and consists of organised film screenings (about 80 a year) and introductory lectures about particular elements of film language. Annually this programme brings about seven thousand schoolchildren to Art Cinema. Special attention in our regular cinema programme is dedicated to a selection of good film titles for children and young people, covering all film genres.
Training and mediation
Next to screenings, these programmes are imperative for our business. We believe a film work deserves a dialogue even after the screening. Creating a dialogue is one of the most important cultural moments and we try to contextualise the scope and expand a film story beyond the screen. These projects are implemented through several projects like Film Club, Art Cinema Lab and Mediatheque.
Mediatheque, a specialised public film library, consists of books, periodicals and audiovisual material. Audiovisual materials expands in two directions: the regular collection of contemporary and art house valuable titles, and development of a heritage collection. The Mediatheque is hence a venue for viewing and renting out films (art house and contemporary art production), film art-related books, and video games. Membership is free for children under the age of 15.
Support to local film production
Screening films by local filmmakers is an important part of our programme through which we significantly expand our audience and inspire in them an interest in film art by fostering a recognisable social network and locations. Also, by providing support to local film production, guaranteeing plenty of space for screening and promotion, we contribute to its strengthening and inclusion of Rijeka-based film professionals into national and international film industry. Art Cinema has thus truly become a centre of film business in Rijeka.
The implementation of such a rich and diverse programme concept demands tight collaboration with a wide range of co-workers – filmmakers, distributers, production companies, associations, film festivals, networks, other cinemas and organisation. We are trying to include the audience, as well as professional community, into our work and development and contribute to the development of our partners. Collaboration is the basic principle of our activity. Our key partners are Croatian Film Clubs’ Association, Croatian Cinematheque, and organisations managing the most important Croatian festivals like Zagreb Film festival, Animafest, Motovun Film Festival and many others. Our partners are also all the Croatian independent cinemas, especially Europa and Tuškanac. However, beside the film community, we also collaborate with many cultural associations and institutions, schools, universities and individuals. In designing programmes we are particularly open to minorities and their communities, aiming to use the film media to open up space for the exploration of culture, identity and representation.
Art Cinema is a member of Europa Cinemas, CICAE and Croatian Independent Cinemas Network.
In 2014, Art Cinema had over 34,000 visitors, marking a continuous audience growth. In its first operational year, 2009, Art Cinema had 19,000 visitors and since then their number has been increasing year after year, which makes the argument that there is no need for a community cinema truly unfounded. The cinema still provides a unique experience of film-watching and this was recognised by the citizens of Rijeka. The audience number becomes even more important in the light of the fact that the Institution’s programme does not include commercial titles, but consists exclusively of the most valuable works from the history of film and recent art film production.