The Slovenia Times

Year One



Kino Šiška, a cinema auditorium which underwent a transformation into the centre of Urban Culture started with many doubts and fears. Was it needed at all? Would it steal the audience of other similar institutions? And most of all - can it continue to thrive, after the obvious initial and much advertised hype? This question somehow made sense, as the launch was really intense in attractive events.

Summary statistics from the first year show the Centre held 321 events, among them 123 concerts, many full (12 completely sold out). 1,300 people on the stage - a third from Slovenia - and 57,000 in the audience, most of them aged between 18 and 46 years. Theatre, intermedia performancs, dance, exhibition, film, video, press conferences, celebrations. Laibach, Jan Garbarek, Mudhoney, Nouvelle Vague, Megadeth, Tindersticks, Tiger Lillies and so on. A good half of the events the results of co-productions. 60 percent self-sufficient, the rest covered by the Ljubljana Municipality, which is regarded as a solid score comparing to similar institutions.

Simon Kardum, the General Manager of the Centre says the statistics certainly disprove the theory that the Centre isn't needed. It has become "a player on the scene attracting a varied audience. It has filled certain niches with its decent capacity and equipment." Big enough and at the same time and small enough, Kino Šiška occupies the boundary between a club and a concert hall. Any visitor to Ljubljana's clubs cannot deny that no other institution has suffered since the establishment of the Centre. After all, its programming team has introduced a series of artists, which are not among the "regulars" in the town.

The reputation of Kino Šiška evidently reaches echoes beyond the country's borders as many guests from the neighbourhood seem to have become regulars at the more exclusive events. Nitzer Ebb, who performed in March, gathered a bigger audience from Croatia than from Slovenia itself.

The magic ingredients

After attending a concert at Kino Šiška it is clear the Centre benefits from its unique architecture. The cylindrical, declined auditorium ending with a wide stage contributes to great communication between performer and audience. And even a sold-out event leaves enough space for comfortable standing and movement in the hall. While the place itself does part of the job, the programming effort is still essential to success. Not just anyone can take advantage of Kino Šiška: "We are not a mailbox. We have established ourselves as event producers, meaning that the selection process is done in many ways," says Kardum, well aware that they have embarked on a long and important journey to make the most of the asset with which they have been entrusted. "We all should strive to make an effort, which will last several years, that is to profile its contents and present them to the audience. "

The Future

Kino Šiška's team has proven it can keep up the pace. While year two of Kino Šiška will incude a number of anticipated events for this autumn, its production team doesn't hide its ambition to bring events to even larger places. Such is the co-production of Nick Cave's Grinderman in Križanke, but the ambition goes even further, all the way to the newly built Stožice giant. An important addition marking the first anniversary is the Kiosk, a stand offering magazines, comic books and other stuff for culture-hungry folks who flock to this impressive new Centre.

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