Enhance your program: Ideas for the European Arthouse Cinema Day


In the realm of cinema, arthouse films are often celebrated for their unique storytelling, unconventional narratives, and artistic flair. Events such as the European Arthouse Cinema Day offer the oportunity to enrich the regular program with achived films, classics and special screenings.

About the European Arthouse Cinema Day

The CICAE organises the European Arthouse Cinema Day, in association with the Europa Cinemas network and co-funded by Creative Europe's MEDIA programme. Since 2016 more than 700 cinemas in over 40 countries have participated in the event, offering magnificent programming including previews, films for young audiences, and classics from the history of European cinema.


Put together an exceptional thematic program

Programming isn't just about picking films to screen. By putting together a thematic program you can help audiences understand your vision and guide them through their arthouse experience.

Thematic programming in cinema refers to the practice of curating and scheduling a series of films that share common themes, subjects, or motifs. These thematic film selections are organized to provide viewers with a cohesive and meaningful cinematic experience, often highlighting specific topics, genres, or cultural ideas for deeper exploration and understanding.

A thematic program not only offers a direct benefit to the people attending the film but also to your marketing.

    Ideas for thematic programming

    • Get in contact with your national distributors: You can ask for possibilities to arrange previews & premieres of European movies that day. A premier with possible presentation of producer, actors or contributors will attract new audiences and gains additional reach trough increased external impact.
    • Suprise screenings: Make the experience special by keeping the screening a secret.
    • Create local actions to elevate the cinema experience.
    • Why always show full length films? Short films help drive audiences to experience more than one film in one visit. Imagine showing short films 24/7 on one screen and offer audiences to drop in all day. The possibilities are endless: Short film programs can range from professional to rather smaller productions, disposed of specific European regions to thematic selections to presenting the work of a particular director. 
    • Why always show new releases? Dive into your archive and select European classic movies or retrospectives of certain directors. A great opportunity to show the deep roots of art cinema culture in Europe.
    • Awarded films attract audiences: Presenting European winners of the Venice film festival, Sarajevo film festival or Cannes will gain more interest in the films.
    • Nominated films also attract audiences: the LUX Audience Award regularly announces its shortlist a couple of months before the European Arthouse Cinema Day. A perfect timing to explore possibilities and program them in your arthouse cinema. This year, the list of nominees for the LUX Award 2024 is composed by: "20,000 Species of Bees" by Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren (Spain, 2023), "Fallen Leaves" by Aki Kaurismäki (Finland, 2023), "On the Adamant" by Nicolas Philibert (France, Japan, 2023), "Smoke Sauna Sisterhood" by Anna Hints (Estonia, France, Iceland, 2023) and "The Teacher's Louge" by Ilker Çatak (Germany, 2023).

      Connect with the arthouse cinema community

      Arthouse cinemas are more than just venues to watch films; they're community hubs that bring like-minded individuals together. Watching a film with these groups cultivates a sense of belonging and shared experience among cinema-goers: 

      • Drive young audiences to the cinema: Children and young people can be receptive to the concept of European art-cinema culture. An event like the European Arthouse Cinema Day offer great opportunities to inspire and engage young audiences in the longterm. 
      • Ask prominent personalities from your area about their favorite movie. They can present it and create a story around the movie. This can also be done by the cinema team. 
      • Give your audience a voice: Let your cinema target group vote for the films screened on the day of the event. You can give a first selection and use digital channels to spread the information
      • Choose a theme and screen films related to it. You can even find a slogan for it! 

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      Sandra Hüller, European Arthouse Cinema Day Ambassador about the importance of community. 

      Spark conversations

      Finally, programming isn't just about selecting films; it's about fostering meaningful conversations. A curated experience guides viewers through unique storytelling themes and engages the community. 

      By exploring previews, short films, classics, and award-winning works, you can enrich your offerings and attract diverse audiences. This event also fosters engagement with young viewers, local personalities, and film enthusiasts, sparking conversations and creating a shared cinematic experience. 

      Embrace thematic programming to make the European Arthouse Cinema Day unforgettablea and make sure you offer possibilities for the audience to start a conversation through local actions or on social media.


      Profilphoto Valentin Jassin

      Valentin Jassin CICAE

      Valentin is administrative and finance assistant at the CICAE since April 2022. He is also the French referent of the team and thus participates in our relationships with our French-speaking correspondents.Educated in cinema in Paris between the rue Champollion and the big networks, he worked as a projectionist in many cinemas and was trained in arthouse cinema management in Lyon through a master’s degree at the university and in the Cinémas Lumière. more from the author

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