Hans-Joachim Flebbe, Founder and Managing Director of Astor Film Lounge and Zoo Palast, has been named as the 2023 recipient of the UNIC Achievement Award, given each year in recognition of outstanding dedication and service to European cinema exhibition. The Award will be presented as part of the CineEurope Awards Ceremony on Thursday 22 June at the Centre de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB) in Barcelona, Spain.
Hans-Joachim Flebbe has dedicated his career to the cinema industry for over 40 years, with a continued passion for and commitment to the highest standards of theatrical presentation.
From his debut in 1972 as a booking officer then programmer at the Apollo Cinema in Hanover, to opening his first cinemas in 1977 with the Kinos am Raschplatz, founding the CinemaxX Group and opening the first CinemaxX cinema in Hanover in March 1991, Flebbe has re invented the cinema experience several times, with an unique ability to mix technology with tradition.
CinemaxX grew to be number one operator in Germany with at least 38 sites and more than ten locations in Denmark, Switzerland and Turkey. CinemaxX went public on the stock exchange in 1998. After 20 years as Managing Director and Board member, Hans-Joachim Flebbe left CinemaxX AG at the end of 2008.
Hans-Joachim’s passion has always been around art-house films and the renovation of historical cinemas. In 2008, he took over several cinemas including the Filmpalast Berlin, and converted them into luxury lounge cinemas, founding the ASTOR Film Lounge chain and developing an innovative premium cinema offer. Flebbe also renovated and reopened Berlin’s long-established Zoo Palast cinema in 2013, which he still operates to this day.
Today, the premium cinemas of the ASTOR Group are present in other major German cities, with Germany’s most traditional “Grand Cinema” – the Zoo Palast in Berlin – and the ASTOR Grand Cinema in Hanover (which was the first CinemaxX in 1991) also being part of the group.
Welcoming the announcement of the Award, Phil Clapp, President of UNIC said:
“We are absolutely delighted to honour Hans-Joachim at CineEurope 2023. The award recognises his incredible passion for the Big Screen, his outstanding career and his key role in developing both the German and European cinema-going experience.
On behalf of the UNIC Board and colleagues from across the industry, I would like to congratulate Hans-Joachim for this wonderful achievement.”
CineEurope 2023 will take place from 19-22 June at the Centre Convencions Internacional Barcelona (CCIB) in Barcelona, Spain. CineEurope is the longest-running and most successful European convention and trade show for major, regional, and independent cinema professionals. CineEurope will feature exclusive screenings and product presentations of upcoming films, sponsored events, timely and informative seminars and the CineEurope Trade Show. CineEurope is the Official Convention of the Union Internationale des Cinémas/International Union of Cinemas (UNIC).
The Union Internationale des Cinémas/International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) represents the interests of cinema trade associations and cinema operators covering 39 countries in Europe and neighbouring regions.
About Film Expo Group
The Film Expo Group is the premier organizer of events in the motion picture industry. The Film Expo Group produces CineEurope, held in Barcelona; ShowEast, held in Miami; and CineAsia, held in Bangkok.