TWIC 2021: Marit Sætre Færevåg- CEO, Haugesund Kino

By | September 30, 2021 4:49 pm PDT

This post is part of CJ’s Top Women In Global Cinema 2021 – Redux.

How have your role, position and responsibilities changed since you were first nominated for Top Women In Cinema?

I still hold the same position and enjoy working with my colleagues at Edda Kino and with the Norwegian Film Festival in Haugesund. Since the first nomination in 2016 I have been given the opportunity to work as a board member in various organisations.

How did COVID affect you and your business personally?

The safety of our guests and my team has been a huge responsibility throughout the pandemic. However, looking back, I am grateful and impressed by how smoothly the safety precautions were integrated into our daily routine and acknowledged by the cinemagoers. The health and wellbeing of people as a top priority becomes more evident than ever in a crisis. Thus, the feedback from returning cinemagoers telling us how much it has meant to visit the cinema during these months of social distancing, has given my colleagues and myself a true sense of purpose. Quantitative goals were set aside; our main criteria for measuring success has been the quality of every cinemagoer’s experience.

How did your role, position and responsibilities change (if at all) during the pandemic? Can you tell us a little bit about what your days were like and what you were doing over the past year?

Besides the constant focus on safety measures, cost-control and applications and reports regarding government support, my aim has been to run a living-and-breathing cinema. Apart from two periods of (in total) 13 weeks of lockdown, we have stayed open. Planning two new screens and refurbishments, we have constantly looked ahead, discussing what our audience will appreciate and expect from us in the years to come. Celebrating our 100th anniversary this year, we have even found the time to dive into a bit of nostalgia, with the local museum hosting an exhibition celebrating our own Cinema Paradiso.

Do you think COVID will change the cinema business? If so, how?

Yes and no. Blockbusters need the big screen global box office to be financially successful, but the theatrical window has narrowed. This will affect our priorities and the way we work in various areas. Events and activities that build cinema as a social arena, offering extraordinary experiences, will be even more important than before. And we really must focus on young people, and work to gain and deserve their loyalty as customers. However, the core of what we do – bringing people together to share a story on the big screen – is still the same as when our theatre smelled intensely of herring from fishermen having a break a hundred years ago. And the smell of popcorn is still the smell of having a welldeserved break – and of gold.

How do you believe the cinema industry can recover once audiences are able to visit movie theatres again?

After what many refer to as the narrow tunnel of staying at home for so many months, the ultimate social and widescreen experience of cinema represents so much of what we have all missed. That, combined with a strong line-up of long-awaited titles, I would say give reason for genuine optimism. If our industry, built on heroes defeating all odds, cannot rise despite pandemic setbacks, what can?

What do you like most about working in the cinema industry? What is one of your fondest memories?

The people. And how the stories we share on and off screen make a real difference in bringing us together. Of many fond memories, the first and perhaps strongest is leaving the movie theatre after watching “Ronja Robbers Daughter”, based on the book by Astrid Lindgren, at the age of seven. I will never forget walking down the pavement holding my father’s hand, completely overwhelmed both emotionally and physically by a true cinematic experience.


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