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Recommendations for cinemas


Health is the most important thing. Please consult and follow the health recommendation of the World Health Organization and of your country.

CICAE, the national arthouse cinemas associations and other organisations, like Art House Convergence, BFI, UNIC, EFAD and many others, are all working to gather useful information for all the cinemas which are undergoing the temporary closure. We think that it is important to stay informed, to share the best practices emerging in the sector and to get ready for the reopening.

You can find here below information and material divided into the following categories:







What can exhibitors do while in temporary closure? Key factors in this period are: financial support and fundings, audience engagement and community building, effective and efficient team management.


Saving on internal costs
  • Contact your landlord about rent relief. Research business eviction protections in your city or town.
  • Contact your bank or lender about mortgage or loan payment relief.
Financial Aids, Benefits & Subsidies

Check the national resources for national and regional aids in each country at this link.
Here below useful links you can find information at European level.

Fundraising and Crowdfunding
  • You can start a crowdfunding campaign alone or maybe together with other arthouse cinemas of your city/region/country. For inspiration and ideas, see here.
  • Ask your audience to support the cinema with donations, like the Filmkunstkinos Düsseldorf
  • You can sell gift cards and voucher, for example like the Yorck Kino, or Endstation.
  • If you have a return ticket policy, you can ask your audience to gift full or part of the ticket amount to your cinema/organisation. See BFI example.
  • Idea of communication to send to your audience – Bryn Mawr Film Institute: “Our first priority is the health and safety of our community. Our second priority is making sure our staff has the means to make it through this challenging time, particularly our hourly and part-time staff. All contributions during this closure will go directly to staff compensation. We appreciate your support during these times of uncertainty. You can purchase memberships, gift cards, and make donations online, but we do not recommend purchasing movie tickets or registering for courses until our reopening date is confirmed”.

Audience Engagement and Community Building

For your audience
  • Keep your social media channels active and website updated.
  • Engage filmmakers, professors, and staff to host special virtual happy hours and film conversations as member benefits.
  • Help your constituents navigate TV programming and streaming platforms by providing curated lists and recommendations.
  • Host virtual Q&As and conversations to accompany streaming films.
  • Virtual Screenings could be a way to offer an alternative film programming to your audience and to make some revenue. For some ideas and inspiration see here.
  • MUBI is offering the cinema exhibitors’ audiences a 90 days free access to the platform. Interested cinemas, which are facing closure, can contact: sanam(at) (worldwide); imusumeci(at) (UK only); knewmark(at) (US only).

Useful Tools:

Back to Cinema – social media campaign

In collaboration with German initiative Zurück ins Kino, we are launching the #backtocinema frames, to be used on social media. We would like to stimulate the audience and promote the idea of cinema-going.

You can find for now the visuals in 12 languages: English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovenian and Spanish. We are working to have also the material in other languages.

Please find the material here (for the German version visit this page).

You can also add the frame on your Facebook profile picture, by visiting checking out these links:

Team Communication and Cinema Management

What you can do:

For you and your team/staff
  • Remain in regular communication with staff: clear communications plans to help team members understand workflow and decision making.
  • Check with the national regulations set to support employers and employees during the COVID-19 crisis: legal implications, policies and deadlines change from country to country.
  • Make sure that you communicate with your staff also in relation with possible temporary dismissal and make sure to follow your national policies.
  • Counter stigma by disseminating accurate information about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • If staff need to perform work onsite provide additional supplies to regularly clean workspaces.

Useful Tools:

Online Courses

You can never stop learning. During the forced closure, it might be the right time to devote some of our free time to personal development and learn something new that might be useful both now and in the future.

  1. ICO: Strategic Audience Development
  2. BFI: Film Education: a user’s guide
For your cinema
  • Carefully annotate your building closing checklist. Make sure multiple staffers have the tools and information they need for data backups, bank deposits, building security, and reopening.
  • Prepare your projectors and servers for an extended shutdown.
  • Check concession stands for perishable items.
  • Cancel all non-essential subscriptions including software, all advertising (print, social media, digital) concessions ordering, and shipping.
  • Adjust your thermostat.
  • Equipment shutdown advice: Cinema Next Guidelines and Advice
  • Equipment upkeep and preparation for reopening: Cinema Technology Tips
Relationship with your suppliers
  • Contact you vendors and suppliers, anticipate changes in demand and respond accordingly.
  • Review existing contracts and check cancellation clauses to ensure that they include protection during epidemics and pandemics.
  • Communicate with your board and key stakeholders about financial risks and liability.
  • Review your insurance policy and contact your insurance provider to determine if your business interruption and liability insurance include any coverage for an outbreak in your community.
  • Remain regular in communication with partners, supplies, and partner organizations.
Relationship with your partners and sponsors
  • Check with your sponsors and partners for new sponsoring and fundraising possibilities.
  • Keep the communication with them and ask them to advocate your case.
Relationship with politicians and authorities
  • Tell the national, regional and local politicians to include cinema in their financial aid measures.
  • Contact your national arthouse cinema association or trade association to follow up with the next steps.
  • Join a national/regional association in case you do not belong to one yet.


Crowdfunding Ideas

Curatorship and film programming ideas for your audience

Film screenings on cities’ walls

Belgium: Le Kinograph launched the project Le Ciné des Confinés to screen films on Bruxelles walls.

Italy: in Rome the initiative #cinemadacasa (cinema from home) is organised by the independent section of Rome Film Fest, Alice nella Città. From 22:00 people are invited to screen classics of cinema on the walls of the buildings in front of theirs.

Germany: in Berlin the initiative #Windowflicks involves also Berlin cinemas who launched the crowdfunding campaign, Fortsetzung: Folgt. Citizens and people interested in having a screening where they live, can make a request on Films to be screened: Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin), Shaun the Sheep, The Artist, Loving Vincent and Cleo.

Drive-in Cinemas

Drive-in cinemas are booming and having a real come back in many countries. Here a list of some drive-in initiatives across the world and some tips on how to start one.


A drive-in cinema will open in a shopping mall.


You can find here a map of the drive-in cinemas in Germany.


Drive-in cinema opens again since 1979.


  • Lithuania’s first drive-in cinema ŽMONĖS Cinema Drive-in opens on 17 April 2020.
  • Vilnius Film Festival – Kino Pavasaris turns the airport into a drive-in cinema: Aerocinema.

United Kingdom

Useful resources

Boxoffice Podcast (18.05.2020): Drive-In Movie Theaters: How the Pandemic is Making an Old-Time Tradition New Again

Truic: How to start a drive-in theatre (US business model)

Virtual Screenings

  • Art Mozi, the Hungarian arthouse cinemas launched the platform:
  • In France, many arthouse cinemas of AFCAE network has started a collaboration with platform Le Toile (which allow the exhibitors to get feedback on takings): AFCAE is currently in the process of establishing a partnership with La Toile in order to publish the films supported by the Association.
  • In Italy some independent cinemas have launched online screenings of films for which they own the right: Cinema Beltrade – Beltrade Sul Sofa, PostModernissimo and Cinema Metropolis – DiStanza, Anteo – Cineteca di Milano.
  • Another Italian initiative: MioCinema is the first Italian joint platform, promoted by MyMovies, Lucky Red and Circuito Cinema, where people can support their local cinemas by watching films online. The audience can buy the tickets directly from their cinemas’ websites. The platform launches on May 18 with the screening of Les Miserables by Ladj Ly.
  • In Slovakia cinemas joined the initiative Kino Doma: from each cinema’s website the audience can buy a ticket for an evening screening, that starts for all participating cinemas at 20:20. Once the ticket has been purchased, a password is given to access Kino Doma platform. You can have a look, for instance, at Kino Usmev to see the programme:
  • In Czech Republic, Aero Kino, Kino Svetozor and Bio Oko offer a similar initiative to the Slovak one, called Moje Kino Live (My Cinema Live)
  • In the States, Kino Lorber has launched Kino Marquee, the virtual screen room to support American independent cinemas.
  • In Poland the arthouse cinema network launches on May 21 the platform Moje e Kino.

Interactive activities for your audience

Workshops for children and teenagers

  • Cinémas du Palais in Créteil organize online workshops for the young audiences. They have had a “stop-motion” workshop for which the results have been published on their YouTube channel. They have continued with a “storyboard” workshop on their Facebook Page.
  • In Chile, Centro de Cine y Creación publishes on their Instagram channel a children story every day at 5 pm, presented by different people.

Quizzes & Contests

  • Cinémas Chaplin in Paris organizes “blind test quizzes” every weekend by challenging their audience to recognize film music and dialogues from films. The inscriptions run through their Facebook Page.
  • Arsenal Cinema in Tübingen, Germany initiated a Film Poster Challenge for their audience, askign them to adapt their favourite film posters to Corona times to post them at the cinema.
  • Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast, UK has started #WeAreQFT, a series of short interviews with members of the cinema team, filmmakers, partners and audience members where they recommend 5 films for the lockdown period and they answer questions about the QFT and their experiences and memories in relation to cinema and going. The blog serves the community and the articles get shared regularly on social media.
  • Cinéma Liberty from Monsempron-Libos organises an online game, #MonCinocheALaMaison, proposing their audience to create videos based on film excerpts and photos related to cinema. Several videos have already been posted on their Facebook page.

Partnership with actors of the film industry

  • Film festival: Ideas like the one from Göteborg Film Festival can be taken as example: the festival will screen films on the platform Draken Film. Half of the income will be given to Swedish independent cinemas.
  • VoD: MUBI is offering the cinema exhibitors’ audiences a 90-day-free access to the platform. Interested cinemas, which are facing closure, can contact: (worldwide); (UK only); (US only).


Several initiatives already started among cinema exhibitors who are exchanging ideas, opinions and tips to face this critical situation.

Forums for exhibitors

Global Initiatives
German Initiatives
  • Facebook group of German exhibitors
  • Zurück ins Kino” (literally, Back in the cinema): a group of cinema owners and exhibitors decided to launch a platform to collect ideas and tips on how to be close to the audience, even if social distancing now is the rule. On the platforms, the cinemas’ projects and initiatives will be posted and promoted as inspiration for other exhibitors willing to offer something to the audience and keep their love for cinemas alive.
UK Initiatives

Webinars and online roundtables

Celluloid Junkie Cinema Summit

CJCinemaSummit: a weekly appointment for cinema exhibitors and operators of the world, organised by Celluloid Junkie (pre-registration needed).

Boxoffice Pro

Each week, Boxoffice Pro offers live sessions on the hot topics of the film industry facing the COVID crisis: each session is attended by a wide range of industry professionals and executives from across Europe and America. Live Session Boxoffice Pro

Live events in French are available here.

Other initiatives for cinemas

  • Gartenbaukino and Stadtkino Wien have launched a “challenge” to connect with other cinemas facing the same situation of closure: the #curtainrace (you can see how the race works on Gartenbaukino page). If you would like to participate in the “fastest curtain race”, you can access the instructions and material here. Don’t forget to tag Gartenbaukino and Stadtkino Wien on facebook and instagram.

If you know of other groups, initiatives, forums, send us an email to info[at] We will add it to the list.


You can find useful resources and information on reopening strategies at this page (work in progress).

Online Courses

Be ready to go back to your cinema fully prepared:

  1. Art Cinema = Action + Management – CICAE organises this year the 17th edition of the training programme addressed to arthouse exhibitors and cinema professionals. Applications open until May 15. Apply now!
  2. ICO: Strategic Audience Development
  3. BFI: Film Education: a user’s guide
  4. Next Wave: applications open until May 31


Further resources are available also here:

  • AG Kino Gilde – Information gathered by the German arthouse cinema association regarding resources, best practices and measures taken by German Federal Government and the Länder to support arthouse cinemas during COVID-19 situation.
  • Art House Convergence – resources and information gathered by the American network for cinema exhibitors
  • EFAD – the European Film Agencies list of measures taken by EFAD members to mitigate the situation
  • European Audiovisual Observatory – measures taken by EU countries for the audiovisual sector
  • Independent Cinema Office – An evolving list of the support & resources which are available to cinemas and people working within the exhibition industry (for UK cinema exhibitors)
  • The Bigger Picture – some resources that venues and exhibitors might find useful in this ever-changing situation
  • UNIC

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