Call for Proposals: Digital Innovation Award

4 MAY 2012

Invitation for digital entrepreneurs and developers to pitch innovative digital marketing solutions to cinema industry leaders at CineEurope 2012 in Barcelona and compete to win the “Cinema: Digital Innovation Award.”

CineEurope is the largest and most important film and cinema industry conference in Europe and attended by leading cinema exhibitors and film distributors from around the world. It takes place from 18 – 20 June in Barcelona. The “Cinema: Digital Innovation Award” is an award set up by the International Union of Cinemas for digital entrepreneurs and developers to showcase their talents to the industry at the event – and to win a cash prize of € 5000.

Candidates are invited to submit radical project proposals on how film theatres/ cinemas can better engage with cinema-going audiences using digital technology, social networking, data mashing, location-based services and smartphone applications.

Three finalists will attend the conference in Barcelona as guests of UNIC, the International Union of Cinemas, with all travel, hotel and conference passes paid. They will have the chance to present their innovative solutions to film industry decision makers and potential investors in a special key conference session, and the winner will receive € 5,000 to develop the solution further. However, the biggest reward is obviously to pitch your idea to a room full of potential clients and investors!

The initial deadline for applications is tight, being 31 May 2012, but as you will see further below, we are at this stage only looking for summary proposals.

Who might apply?
Do you love going to see a film at your local cinema? Do you also understand how cutting-edge digital technology can help organisations connect with audiences? Then this is for you. The contest is open to digital agencies, communications experts, interface designers, software and app developers, researchers, students and generally everybody who has the vision and skills to help cinemas succeed reach new audiences in a digitally-networked world. Organisations and individuals can apply.

Why did we establish the award?
The Internet, social media and the growing use of smartphones increasingly influence our lifestyle and entertainment choices. A Facebook post or a smart social media application on your phone can, for example, be as influential in determining what you will do on a Wednesday evening as a good review in the newspaper.

We want to support the cinema exhibition sector in developing new ways to engage their audiences and wish to build a bridge between the worlds of digital communications and cinema exhibition. If you have an idea on how film theatres/ cinemas could better engage with cinema-going audiences outside the screening room using digital technology, social networking, data mashing, location-based services and smartphone applications then take part in our competition.

Ten key audience engagement challenges:
Applicants are invited to submit project proposals that address one or more of the following audience engagement challenges.

  1. Sharing the cinema experience with others through digital communications in new and exciting ways;
  2. Removing barriers and making life easier for the customer in any aspect of the cinema visit;
  3. Making the decision as to which film to watch easier;
  4. Using existing data and metadata around films and cinemas (e.g. cinema showtimes, etc.) to create new tools, platforms and services for customers;
  5. Making all aspects of the cinema experience and journey, from pre-cinema to in-cinema and finally post-cinema, more enjoyable/ valuable;
  6. Positioning cinemas as the physical entertainment hub in a digitally-connected world: Using social media and location-based services to creating cinema events for people to participate in by reaching out into the digital sphere;
  7. Discovering untapped demand and putting the customer more in control of the experience;
  8. Creating a more immersive and entertaining experience for the customer;
  9. Creating new and innovative links between film theatres, local media, social networks and local businesses that audiences may be interested in before or after the cinema visit; and
  10. Enhancing the overall value of the cinema experience from the perspective of the customer.

What we expect from you?
This is a competition of ideas. You do not have to develop a prototype or a functional software application. Rather you are asked to submit a brief yet convincing project proposal. This should not take longer than one or two days to prepare. While there is no set format, we ask that your initial proposal is sent to us over not more than four pages of text. We also ask that it covers the following points:

  • What is the solution and/or service that you propose about and why is it an innovative concept? Have you done research to ensure that the solution is truly ground breaking?
  • Which of the key digital audience engagement challenges does your proposal address and how can it help answer it/ them in a practical way? Explain.
  • Please explain the commercial potential of the solution, and the potential reach.
  • Approximate costs.
  • How can the project be realised in practice? What difficulties could arise?
  • Union Internationale des Cinémas / International Union of Cinemas (UNIC)
  • 10 – 11 Avenue des Arts, 1210 Brussels, Belgium
  • Email: award(at)
  • Include a sketch, image, diagram, scheme or any other visualisation of your project, which should show either the end product or illustrate the organisational model/ process underlying your project idea. This will help us to better appreciate your proposal.
  • You may separately attach a profile of yourself/your organisation.

Submit your proposal in English by e-mail to award(at) by 31 May 2012. You will be sent an e-mail confirming we have received your application within 2 days.

What happens then?

  • We have assembled a panel of experts chaired by industry and audience expert Peter Buckingham, and comprising representatives from the cinema sector, technologists and marketers. They will pre-select up to three proposals from those submitted and successful candidates will hear back from us by 10 June 2012.
  • 3 shortlisted candidates will be invited to pitch their project proposal as part of a conference-session at CineEurope in Barcelona on 20 June 2012 in front of hundreds of cinema owners, investors and experts. Travel, accommodation and registration fees for the convention will be covered.
  • The availability of the candidate on 20 June is necessary in order to be shortlisted.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be asked to give a presentation to the audience and an expert panel, followed by a short Q&A session. They will be mentored before by Peter Buckingham on how to best do this.
  • The winner will receive a cash-prize of € 5,000. All shortlisted candidates will receive the opportunity to network with CineEurope visitors, which represent key decision-makers of the international cinema industry.

Why should you apply?
To engage directly with key players of the industry, including potential investors – present your project in front of the biggest and most prestigious stakeholders of European cinema exhibition. If they like your idea, your project might become reality.

To create a buzz – benefit from extensive media coverage in specialised cinema magazines and dissemination through UNIC’s network of national exhibitors’ associations and major cinema chains covering Europe, Russia, Turkey and Israel.

To win a prize – € 5,000 seed investment for you to make a start and attract further finance, as well as assistance with the development of your prototype.

To go to Barcelona – be the guest of UNIC at the CineEurope convention held from June 18 to June 20, 2012 in El Centro de Convenciones Internacional de Barcelona, minutes away from one of Barcelona’s most beautiful beaches. If you want, you could even extend your stay in Barcelona to experience the city’s biggest summer party, the Festival de Sant Joan, on the weekend after CineEurope.

About UNIC
The Union Internationale des Cinémas/ Interantional Union of Cinemas (UNIC) is an international association representing the interests of cinema exhibitors in the EU, Russia, Turkey and Israel. We are passionate about seeing films on the big screen and promote the social, cultural and economic value of cinemas in Europe and internationally. Find out more about us on

About CineEurope 2012
CineEurope is the only European convention and trade show dedicated to the needs of the movie theatre industry. Each year, over 1,500 cinema exhibition and distribution professionals from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) come to CineEurope to view the latest major cinema releases and extensive product reels, gain valuable industry information at educational seminars, find new products, services and technologies and network with peers at fun-filled special events.