Alexandra Rens from Cinema Paradiso (Spain)
Alexandra Rens, Cinema Paradiso, Ibiza (Spain)
What is the name of the exact location here?
It is the Baluard de Sant Pere in Dalt Vila, the Old Town of Ibiza.
It is a fantastic setting you have got here for outdoor cinema, could you explain us a little bit about the location and what it is that your company does?
We are Cinema Paradiso Ibiza and we are an outdoor cinema, which goes to different places on the island. We have a private concept where we set up in villas, as small, intimate outdoor cinemas, and then we have the public outdoor cinemas like here. We go to different beaches and squares in Ibiza, but this has to be our favourite place to set it up. We are here every Thursday, in the middle of Dalt Vila. It is very special to set up a cinema on UNESCO heritage between the old city walls. We like it a lot, obviously. The acoustics are very nice.
What was it that drew you to this location?
When we first came to the island four years ago, we started talking with the local government about our plans. We wanted to bring a cultural addition to the island, so we looked at a couple of different locations with them and this one was immediately one of our favourites. It works very well, it is close to many restaurants etc., so people can go for a drink or they can have some dinner and then go to see a movie afterwards.
You mentioned that the business has been up for four years. Going back to the initial Start-Up period, what were the biggest challenges that you faced when you were setting up the business? And why did you go into this industry?
Well, the biggest first challenges were all the permits and convincing people of our concept. Today you see a set-up where we have chairs, but normally we use beanbags. We do a lot of decoration and we do a lot for the atmosphere. There are the really comfortable beanbags of our own design, there are little tables, and we have candles and lots of lighting. We wanted to create the most ideal setting to watch a movie. Very relaxed under the stars, with a lot of atmosphere. It is very romantic and a stylish cinema, which is very comfortable with blankets and everything. You can order something to drink, we make fresh popcorn and we have some fresh snacks. We had this idea in mind, but we had nothing to show, so we had to really convince people of what we wanted to do. That was a bit hard, especially for the first shows. We were telling people “You have to come, it’s something very unique on the island.” That was definitely a challenge. And then all the people who came were super surprised. We were as well surprised by the turnout. It is very unique for the island, because as you know, Ibiza is very much a party island and this is something different. In the beginning it was a challenge to convince people to do something else and to go to the cinema. They said “What? I’m on Ibiza, I’m not gonna watch a movie” and we said “Why not?” This is such a special place, it is a beautiful island and it is very nice to be outside and make use of this gorgeous space we have here.
Going back four years, you had the option to purchase any number of screens or other solutions. What was it that drew you to an AIRSCREEN and particularly to the product you have now?
We looked into a lot of different options, but AIRSCREEN has been around for a long time and is a bit German quality as well. We saw some videos and pictures and the one that really convinced me was one in the snow, because it is very durable. You also have a very clear video about how to set it up and it is a complete package. We bought the complete outdoor cinema set-up and it comes with everything, like perfect cases and a good manual. It is literally buying an outdoor cinema, it is not just the screen. It has good customer service as well and we have a personal relationship with AIRSCREEN, what we are very content with.
If you had to explain it to somebody, what is the best thing about your AIRSCREEN system and why did you chose to have the airtight and not the classic version with the running blower?
What we really like is that it is very durable and strong material and it is easy to set up. I have to admit that at the first time we thought, “How does this work?” and needed to read the manual and had some technical guys helping us. But once you get the hang of it, it is very easy. We had some very extreme weather conditions like very strong wind, but the screen stayed up. Everyone thought we had to cancel but we were convinced we could do it and in the end it worked out fine. I was a bit nervous sometimes, but it definitely worked out well.
What is your favourite film to show at an outdoor cinema?
I have to say, the one I really liked was Casa Blanca, which we did here as well. We had this whole setting with the black and white classic on the big screen, the great acoustics and the old city walls with the lights and candles. For me this was a complete picture, I really liked that one. The first show we did here was very special as well. It was a Mexican movie and there were many local people. We had been working on the concept for a while and were always in a local bar behind our laptops and invited everyone there. It was very nice to see everyone showing up and supporting us, that was very special.
And what is the best thing about working in the outdoor cinema industry? Four years is quite a long time, what makes you want to keep doing it?
The thing that I like the most is that we are not selling a movie or selling a ticket, we are selling an experience. As I said, Casa Blanca was one of my favourites and someone came up to me and said “I watched Casa Blanca in your outdoor cinema last year and I don’t like the movie, but I will never forget the setting and how I was in the beanbag with my boyfriend, that really made it special for me”. Of course we choose the ones that we like for our shows, but a movie is always personal, you do not need to love it. You are creating a memory. People go there with their friends, their families or their loved ones and they will always remember how they were here and saw a movie underneath the stars, outdoor on Ibiza.
If you could describe an outdoor cinema in three words, what would those three words be?
I believe that we offer the total package, a whole experience. Normally, I would say “movie under the stars”.
Coming to the end of this season now, what is the future for your company?
We are definitely going to stay here, it is going really well. We worked a lot with the local government this year. The shows that we do at the beach are very special, because those are three events. People come, have a picnic and a bottle of wine, they put their blankets out and there were candles. It was amazing to see. It was actually the beach close to our house and I was walking home thinking “I can’t believe we did this”. So we want to continue these three events with the local government, they were very pleased with it as well. We hope that we are on this location here for another season, but we are at other venues as well, like a couple of hotels for example. Actually, we have lots of plans, we also want to got to another country one day. Ideally, when it is winter here, we go somewhere else where it is summer. And we are thinking about something like a drive-in in winter.
Quickly back to the AIRSCREEN, in terms of set up time and durability, what is so good about having an AIRSCREEN, when it comes to taking it to all these different locations?
It is very mobile. As I said, we do squares, we do beaches and we use this location here. For our cinema, including all the beanbags, we have a big van, but the screen literally fits into our car, which is very easy. With the speakers and speaker stands it is as mobile as a cinema can be. And everything is very easy to set up. I love it that the screen is very high, so even if you are standing all the way at the back, you can still see it. It is the perfect size for us.
For somebody who is launching their own business, what would be your tips and what should they watch out for in the outdoor cinema industry?
I think the best tip would be “Just do it”, because that is what we did. We are from Holland and obviously you cannot do outdoor cinema there, because the weather is not that great. Imagine when we were telling our families and friends that we were going to do something different and that we had this new adventure in mind. We told them that we wanted to start an outdoor cinema in Spain they asked “What? Where in Spain?” and when we said Ibiza everyone thought that it was so random. I had never been here before, but we just did it. What else can you do? We did a bit of research before, but the best advice would be to just do it.
Do you have any feedback for AIRSCREEN or are there improvements you would like to see?
Not really, we are very content. We just need to have more screens to have even more cinemas, maybe one for the drive-in. That would be a bigger one, size does matter!