France's MK2, Hungary's Szimpla Film, Denmark's Nordisk Film and Belgium's Kinepolis Group are supporting a European 'Cinema on demand' film digitisation project entitled Europe's Finest which is being launched this autumn by Cologne-based reelport to digitise and distribute 30-40 European films.

The project, which has been supported by the European Union's MEDIA Programme, will see 35mm prints of films being digitised into a JPG2000 DCI-compliant format in order for them to be screened in cinemas equipped with 2K DLP Cinema systems.

One of the central aims of Europe's Finest will be to conserve cultural film heritage while providing digital cinemas with more content.

According to reelport's managing director Tilman Scheel, the initiative intends 'to establish a digitisation pool for some of Europe's best films to provide cinemas in the future with the opportunity to screen such classics in the highest quality, with more flexibility for programming and at less cost.'

In collaboration with its project partners, distribution companies, European film institutions, archives and cinemas, reelport is currently drawing together a list of titles that reflect the wide demands for digital content.

'We plan to integrate thematic programmes with cineaste rarities as well as portraits of great European directors and/or actors in order to provide audiences with the opportunity to become more intimate with the works of one filmmaker,' Europe's Finest project director Jennifer Jones said.

'Clearly, many films will have to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis as the rights for 'wish' films have already been distributed in several territories.'

Europe's Finest has already attracted the support of such digital cinema service companies as XDC, HoverlorD and Bewegte Bilder for the digitisation of the film prints, and advice on the film selection is being offered by such companies as Nordisk Film, MK2 and SzimplaFilm.

Europa Cinemas, the Kinepolis Group and Prague's KINO AERO will assist the initiative in its mission to distribute the films in digital cinemas.