As the 15th CinemaExpo International got underway in Amsterdam today Anders Geertsen,director of distribution at the Danish Film Institute and director of the commercialmodule at the European Digital Cinema Forum, delivered a call to arms to theEuropean industry.

Delivering the convention's firstkeynote address on the subject of digital cinema - a topic which will dominate theevent this year - in a session titled 'Tackling Digital Cinema Head On: Its ImpactOn The Landscape of European Exhibition and Distribution' he objected to theterm 'roll-out'.

'It conveys a notionsomeone will do it for us,' said Geertsen.'It is utterly stupid.'

He explained that Europe andHollywood must work together to devise a European Virtual Print Fee (VPF)model, a system which sees distributors paying a set fee per new filmreleased digitally towards the cost of digital installation incurred byexhibitors, a system already working well in the US.

He emphasised, however, thatalthough 67% of market share in Europe comes from US product while local product, European product andtitles from the rest of the world each represent 11% of the market, thatEuropean distributors must pay their share.

'We must get Europeanproducers, distributors and studios on board. A European VPF model will onlywork if all take part," he said. "It makes no sense for US distributors to footthe bill alone.'

He warned that ifthe European industry did not partake fully in such a scheme then theymight find their own films shut out from their own country's cinemas.

He also called for smallerexhibitors to form consortiums to negotiate deals on their behalf to avoidbeing shut out. Explaining that on average in Europe 12% of theatres generate 60% of the box office and half the theatres(77% of the screens) generate 90% of the box office, he warned thatsingle-screen exhibitors could be in danger.

'When 90% of box officecan be gained from digital screens the majors will most likely stop supplying35mm prints to those without digital equipment,' he said. 'And thosecinemas will go bankrupt.'

Cinema Expo continuesthrough June 29.