Kinematografi Osijek Ltd.
100 years of bringing culture close to people
Kinematografi Osijek Ltd. is a privately owned film screening company with a history that spans more than 100 years. The group aims to promote the production of innovative and diverse films, with a particular emphasis on European cinematography. The company owns 2 cinemas, ‘Europa’ and ‘Urania’, and is a member in several specialised European networks: Europa Cinemas, CICAE, Europe Loves Cinema Network and Kino mreža (a Croatian network of independent cinemas). Alongside their regular programme, they organise special programs, festivals and cycles. The enterprise currently has 12 employees and is particularly proud of its successful work alongside the local community, especially with children and young adults in primary and secondary schools, students, academics and special groups and non-governmental organisations.
Today it seems as if everything is going well, but only few years ago the situation in the company was so different that it was forced to temporarily close both cinemas.
The company had to deal with several major changes in 2011. Two modern multiplex cinemas were opened in the city of Osijek as part of the two new shopping centres. This began to reduce the number of regular viewers at ‘Europa’ and ‘Urania’. Kinematografi Osijek Ltd. was not only faced with difficult and disloyal competition from both of the new multiplex cinemas, but also had to fight the lack of understanding coming from the local, regional and national authorities, as well as internal weaknesses in the company.
“All of our regular activities had been obstructed, so we decided to close both cinemas. The very existence of our company was under financial threat. We knew that we needed a new strategy to overcome all these challenges. Our company needed a new mission and vision, as well as a completely new structure for financing our plans”, explains Ms. Marijana Bošnjak, CEO of Kinematografi Osijek Ltd.
Internationalisation as the key to success
The management team decided to look outside the borders of Croatia for help. They successfully applied to become a member of several influential specialised European cinema networks, expanding their international network and embarking on international projects. They realised that international networking brings new and important knowledge to the organisation and undoubtedly enhances their national and international reputation. Redefining the company’s current mission and vision has set it on a completely new trajectory and led to new projects which have been successful implemented on a local, regional, national and international level. There were, of course, some obstacles which were not easy to overcome. First of all, there was a slight resistance amongst the remaining staff members who had foreign language barriers and lacked confidence in the expected result. The company’s CEO organised several intensive meetings and conferences in the cinema with international partners from all networks which were a success! Their positive attitude towards the aspirations, ideas and plans of the CEO was a strong motivator for the staff and they were finally won over to support the efforts made by the company’s CEO and accept the challenge to embark on a new course.
After going international, everything was better
As result of their internationalisation, the company reopened their cinema ‘Urania’ on 17.10.2013. This cinema now has more than 70,000 admissions per year and provides richer cultural content with a tailor-made programme of new content, including workshops, panels, concerts, performances and new media. All of their adult-education programmes (e.g. Parlez-vous-Francaise, Film in Residence, DocuArt) became very popular and saw an increased number of participants.
Educating the audience by shaping the programme to their needs
‘Business Academy’ is an example of a film programme that shows the power of entrepreneurial skills and competencies, and is visited by many entrepreneurs and Economics students. There are also many programmes which were started together with the University of Economics, Cultural Management and Academy for Art and Craft.
The company still believes that the implementation of multicultural, intermodal, interdisciplinary and ethical projects which encourage tolerant behaviour and creativity is a great way to contribute to audience development and will lead the organisation to success in the future.