Not every cinema in Belarus can boast having authentic American popcorn, Danish snacks, and Finnish candy, but Belarus’s Silver Screen is no ordinary cinema.
Silver Screen is a network of cinemas in the country which is reinventing the big screen experience.
It launched six years ago when its founders found a niche that could be filled in the local market – back then all cinemas were state managed by one operator. This of course, influenced the pricing and quality of service but, most importantly, the user experience.
Ilona Tkacheva, Finance Director of Silver Screen who leads the cinema’s development strategy and Alexey Malaychuk, the cinema’s co-founder wanted to completely change how locals thought about movie night.
A new cinema experience
“We wanted to bring a new kind of cinema to the Belarusian audience”, says Mr Malaychuk. “The kind that wouldn’t just bring film screenings, but would give our people a whole new experience.”
With help from Latvian and American experts, Silver Screen opened its first cinema in Minsk’s largest shopping centre in 2014, creating a lot of noise in the city. Not only did it stand out because of its never-seen-before features such as a self-service snack bar and American popcorn, it was also the first multi-cinema complex in the capital.
With a young business in a niche market, Silver Screen knew they needed support and advice for sustainable growth. In search of the competencies they needed, Alexey and Ilona Tkacheva, Silver Screen’s Finance Director, approached the EBRD in 2018.
The EBRD’s Women in Business programme, which in Belarus is supported by Sweden, the European Union and the Small Business Impact Fund (Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the USA) matched Silver Screen with a consultant for guidance on strategic and sustainable development.
Thanks to their joint efforts and having acquired the understanding of the market challenges and opportunities, Silver Screen began experimenting with new ideas such as ScreenX – the world’s first multi-projection theatre technology that expands select scenes of feature films to the left and right walls of the room, allowing the audience to go beyond the frame of the traditional movie screen.