Film theatres in Barcelona, Spain and Liege, Belgium were presented with the inaugural Europa Cinemas awards for the quality and diversity of their programming and for in-house activities for young audiences.

The winners were the 9-screen, Barcelona-based Cinemas Verdi and Verdi Park, run by Enrique Perez Font and the 4-screen, Churchill and Le Parc Cinemas in Liege managed by Jean-Marie Hermand.

The awards were made in Paris at the annual conference (Nov 22-24) of Europa Cinemas, a Media Plus-backed programme that co-ordinates a network of some 1,200 screens and provides financial support for the theatrical circulation of European and Mediterranean films outside their countries of origin.

"Actors, producers and distributors are used to being rewarded because their work is very visible, but exhibitors should also receive rewards because the success of European cinema depends on them," said Claude-Eric Poiroux, Europa Cinemas director general. "These two awards distinguish certain cinemas whose relevance may be more in terms of activities than audience numbers."