The number of cinema screens in Sarajevo could more than double by the end of next year if plans to create the city's first multiplex are realised.

Bosnian exhibitor-distributor-producer Forum Film Company, which currently operates three cinemas - Apolo, Tesla and Imperial - in Sarajevo, is planning to convert the former 1,000-seater Kino Dubrovnik into a five-screen complex with restaurants, cafes and a video store by autumn 2002.

An operator of eight cinemas in Sarajevo before the war, Forum saw five of its screens either damaged or destroyed during the hostilities. Kino Dubrovnik was damaged heavily when a bomb came through the building's roof and there haven't been any films shown there since. "The city centre location is ideal because the people in Sarajevo prefer to go out in the evenings in the town", Forum's managing director Enes Cviko explained.

As it is, the local cinema-going population know the Dubrovnik from the pre-war days, and its attractiveness would doubtless be boosted if, as locals suggest, the retailer Benetton takes over and modernises a shopping centre situated next to the cinema. In addition, several night clubs and bars have sprung up in the streets around the complex since the end of the war.

According to Cviko, Forum has 55% of the financing in place for the reconstruction and conversion into a multiplex and will raise the remaining 45% via bank credits or by collaborating with another partner. The latest THX and Dolby equipment will be installed, with one screen having a projector that would be upgradeable later for digital screenings.