Reopening cinemas: CinéMadart, Tunisia
In this article, we have the feedback of CinéMadart’s team in Tunisia on how was their reopening experience.
Cinemas across the world have slowly started reopening. Curious to know what it feels like to go back to the cinema after months of closure, we have asked some of our members to give us their feedback on the reopening experience.
We have collected the first impressions of: Splendid Cinema in Riga, Latvia; Cinema Zlatna Vrata in Split, Kino Samobor in Samobor and Kino Valli in Pula, in Croatia; Kinodvor in Ljubljana, in Slovenia; Kino Tapiola in Espoo, in Finland; LantarenVenster in Rotterdam and Chassé Cinema in Breda, in the Netherlands; Cinema Rosebud in Reggio Emilia and Beltrade Cinema in Milano, in Italy; CinéMadart in Carthage, Tunisia; Cinéma Le Studio in Aubervilliers, France; Uránia and Béke Art Cinema Screens in Miskolc, Hungary.
CinéMadart, Carthage (Tunisia)
We talked with Kais Zaied, cinema manager of CinéMadart in Carthage
How was the experience of reopening? How did your audience react?
-The experience was quite peculiar. We’ve never closed for such a long period of time. We had long internal discussions with the team to be able to organize for the reopening. It’s a big responsibility in terms of the safety of the team and the audience. The week before the opening was full of excitement and stress. A health protocol was sent to us by the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image. We had to apply all the measures to be able to open the theatre to the public again on June 15. That’s what we did. The reopening day was quite special. It was a bit strange, it was a Monday and for us it was an important event but at the same time a return to something natural. Anyway, on my side I was reluctant. I thought nobody was going to come. However, about twenty spectators came to attend our first 3 sessions. We were very happy. If physical distancing was not de rigueur, I would have kissed each spectator 🙂
On their side, the spectators were reactive. They expressed their joy and solidarity on social networks. There were some very touching messages.
The number of admissions for the first week was not very big but it was not important (we were expecting it) because the idea was mainly to give life back to the theatre and the films and to share that with the audience who came back to the cinema.
What worked out best at reopening your cinema?
What worked best at the reopening was solidarity, first of all between the team members and then the solidarity of the audience. They expressed themselves through social networks or on the spot from the first day of the reopening. Sympathetic messages, attentive gestures during their presence in the hall, their understanding for health safety measures… Solidarity between professionals also through the NAAS network. The NAAS team and the members of the network were very helpful and were present with encouragement and comforting words.
Have there been any unforeseen difficulties around the reopening?
The main difficulties were first of all to ensure that the measures were applied. Then there was the supply of films. We had to find films that would make people want to come back to the cinema. Fortunately, our distributor partners did what was necessary, and we were able to put together some nice programming. Finally, the challenge was to reopen and do communication and promotion while spending as little as possible because the accounts were empty.
How did you implement the security and health guidelines given by the authorities of your country?
For the health security measures, the protocol sent to us by the National Centre du Cinéma et de l’Image was clear. For us, it was essential to apply it rigorously and be ready for the opening. In the auditorium, some of the seats were condemned in order to respect the physical distance. A playful spot was created to explain the sanitary measures to the spectators. The idea was also to make them responsible and to be aware that if a pandemic spreads or another disaster of this kind happens again and we close, it is not at all certain that we could open another time… We are optimistic by nature so we do what is necessary and we do our job with passion, everything will be fine.
Carthage, Tunisi – Tunisia