Audience Development & Innovation Lab 2017 Sofia

16th– 19th March 2017: Building Relationships & Designing Experiences


  1. Thirty seven cinema professionals from nineteen different countries gather at G8 Cinema, as part of Sofia International Film Festival in Bulgaria for four intense days of reflections, practical workshops, discussions and inspirational case studies with a focus on dynamic new approaches to audience development.
  2. The focus will be on designing cinema going experiences that resonate with audiences and to building sustainable and responsive relationships in a context of ever increasing abundance of content and platforms. We will also explore the potential for more fine-tuned and granular ways of getting to know audiences and reaching out to new communities; and how such insights might lead to more responsive communication strategies and deeper audience engagement. Getting the balance between responding to what audiences tell you they think they want and developing curatorial brands that audiences trust is a growing area for debate which presents challenges and opportunities for the sector.

    As Bobby Allen (MUBI) recently put it at the UK’s This Way Up Conference: "No algorithm has ever laughed or cried at a film or put a film poster up on its wall – film watching is a human experience." Talking of human experience, the lab will offer insights in developing our biggest asset,our people and their capacity to lead and collaborate within organisations and beyond.
  3. Headline topics will include:
    · Building relationships; from community design and brand-building to customer relationship management
    · Leading the dance with data; covering a range of approaches to audience data capture, benchmarking and evaluation and practical ways of using data-driven insights to inform and improve your practice
    · Designing expected and unexpected experiences for existing and new audiences; navigating the “abundance” of content and multiplicity of platforms through curation and editorialisation and taking “cultural risks”with audiences
    · Developing people’s capacity to lead and collaborate within your organisation and beyond; from your staff and partners to younger generations of creatives and audiences
    Learning about/from the Bulgarian context; exploring the challenges and opportunities for small cinemas in a small country, dominated by big market players
  4. Follow our progress here on Storify and join in the conversation on Twitter #ECSoLab2017
  5. Our Sofia Lab participants are starting to arrive!
  6. Festival pass and goody bag ahoy! Excited for the Lab by day and movies by night. 🎥 🍷#sofia #sofiaiff #ECSoLab2017
    Festival pass and goody bag ahoy! Excited for the Lab by day and movies by night. 🎥 🍷#sofia #sofiaiff #ECSoLab2017
  7. Thursday 16th March
  8. Sofia Lab 2017 kick-off: opening welcome, workshop leaders presentation, rules & values and launch of the post of the day award.
  9. Learning about the impressive 550 seat Kino International in Berlin #ECSoLab2017
    Learning about the impressive 550 seat Kino International in Berlin #ECSoLab2017
  10. Georgi Ivanov and Christo Dermandijev from Lucky Kino give an overview on the Bulgarian exhibition and distribution market