City of Zagreb to Take Over Europa Cinema on June 1

By 23 April 2019

ZAGREB, April 23, 2019 - The Zagreb city authorities have decided to close down the city's most successful independent cinema, Europa Cinema, despite the lack of a renovation plan and a strong legal basis for the extension of the lease contract held by the Zagreb Film Festival organisation, the cinema's press service said on Tuesday, noting that the cinema would be returned to the city's possession and further management on June 1, but that the leaseholder would continue its legal battle for the cinema.

Recalling that they had asked the city authorities to allow the cinema to continue operating until the start of renovation work and that their request was turned down, as well as that they had proposed their own renovation plans for a number of years, the Zagreb Film Festival and the Propeler Film d.o.o. company said that on June 1 the management of the cinema building would have to be transferred to the city.

The Kino Europa press service also noted that over the past ten years the Zagreb Film Festival and the Propeler Film d.o.o. company had raised the cinema's status to one of the European cinemas with the best programme and that the 120,000 people who had seen its programmes in 2018 testified to its status of an unavoidable place on Zagreb's cultural map.

"The case of Kino Europa is only one in a number of disturbingly similar cases where the city authorities, by ignoring the will of citizens and professionals' demands, are systematically destroying the city's cultural scene. That is why until June 1 we will launch a number of activities to draw the public's attention to the ongoing destruction of culture in Zagreb," the Kino Europa press service said.

The cinema, which turns 94 years old this month has been extremely successful over the last ten years, holding over 14,000 projections with over one million visitors. In 2016, it won the European Best Cinema Award.

The Zagreb city authorities recently decided not to renew the Zagreb Film Festival's lease contract for the cinema, citing plans to renovate the cinema building, located in downtown Zagreb.

More than 2,000 people gathered outside the cinema on April 6 to show support for the cinema’s management.

The management has said that the City is using the guise of renovation to get rid of the cinema’s current management and bring a new tenant in.

The Office of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić has said the cinema will remain an art cinema after the necessary renovation.

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