Operator Spotlight: Behind the Screens: Benedikte Schuitema and Fram Kino - Pioneers in Cinema Innovation and Community Engagement

April 2, 2024
The DX Team
Read in Swedish
Sweden Icon

Cinema: Fram Kino

Location: Bodø, Norway

Cinema Operator: Benedikte Schuitema

Number of Weekly Screenings: Between 50 & 60

Yearly Admissions: 110K a year (pre pandemic - 2019), 106K in 2023

Started Using DX: Fram Kino was the very first DX client (all is revealed below!) but I personally, have been familiar with DX technology since about 13-14 years old, since my first day working at the cinema in around 2009 - I still remember sitting in the ticket booth selling tickets using the old systems that were before the new POS. I would probably still know my way around navigating that system if I were given the chance! 

What’s your favourite part of working with DX?

Getting to input, feedback and help shape developments at DX. Having my opinion heard as a client-operator, and knowing I can impact and influence change, is really valuable not just to me, but also to the industry and to DX. 

It’s meaningful to be asked directly, and regularly, “What can we improve? What do you need?”. As someone who has a long-standing relationship with the company, and being part of Fram Kino which was the first DX client and instrumental in the early days, I know that what I have to say holds a lot of worth. It’s collaborative teamwork, and I value that transparency in our interactions.

Fram Kino might not have other cinema competitors in our city, but we do face other competition for our audience’s time and money, and it’s good to have an industry partner we can have open and honest conversations with about these challenges, who understands. For sure things that work well for us will work for other cinemas too, so it's good to be able to lay our cards on the table and share knowledge. 

The support from DX is great, everyone is so eager to help us, and make sure we understand the tools and make it easy for us. The software itself is so smooth and easy to use because it is all connected, and you can access it from anywhere. 

Being born into an industry…

So, I’m actually a ‘cinema baby’! I grew up in Fram Kino as a child, and started officially working there in 2007, so 17 years ago. I started part-time because I was still studying, then as I got older I took on other jobs and worked them around my cinema hours. I was a candy girl on the kiosk, I was helping in different areas. So I’ve been around the cinema forever. 

(Benedikte in the early 2010s working at the kiosk)

In my 20s I took a step away from the cinema because I wanted some perspective.  I wanted ‘normal’ hours, but also wanted the team at the cinema to see my value - not just take me for granted because I’d always been there.

It’s a challenge when you work with family (Erik Jorgenson, the owner of Fram Kino, is Benedikte's step-father). I wanted to carve my own path and make the point that I had brought so much knowledge and experience to the table, that they would notice it when I wasn’t there - sometimes you need to create the space for that realization to happen.

It was a useful break for those reasons.

Eventually I was offered the role of Marketing Manager at Fram Kino, this was 2019 so it made sense with the direction of the industry to have someone with new ideas in that position. The break had made me realise that cinema is really where I wanted to be, and the team saw the value I could bring, so of course I came back. 

This was the first full-time hire the cinema had made in 30 years, so it was very challenging but also very exciting and motivating. I was making changes to processes that had been in place for ages, and learning a role on my own, and so there were some challenging moments, but there was also a lot of freedom to make my own path. It was a real growth moment in my career.

Now I’m the Marketing and Sales Manager, but also Staff Manager and Kiosk Operations Manager, so many roles in one! Staff and Kiosk management is in my blood because I’ve been involved in it for so long, I understand how it works, and the employees appreciate that I have experienced being in their positions myself too. I love having an on-the-ground relationship with my employees, not just working behind a desk. And we all communicate well, so when I give feedback to DX, it also includes feedback from our team. 

Being close to my team also gets me the buy in for things I want to try on the marketing and events side. Sometimes I still do occasional Kiosk shifts, and am present during events because I love to meet our audiences and talk with them, to get their feedback and reactions.

Benedikte spends time interacting with the audience and being present at events 

Because I wear so many hats in the business, there isn’t necessary a ‘typical week’ for me, but in general it looks like this:

Monday I check-in on all aspects of the business. How did we do? How is my team? What are the numbers looking like? Did anything special happen? I place the stock orders and then plan my day by day - what’s happening at Fram Kino, in the city, any special events we need to know about or prepare for, etc.

Tuesday to Thursday I work across Marketing activities, which vary from week to week depending on what we have planned - it could be making marketing materials, having meetings with partners, preparing for an event, updating our website, inputting everything required into the DX system, briefing my team and getting them motivated for the week ahead - this is very important! 

Friday is all about preparing for the weekend, making sure the operations checklists are complete (cleaning, production, etc) so everything is in place. I also schedule socials, marketing materials, email customers, check the front of house, the kiosk, my team, and make sure the cinema is in top shape. 

As I have both a very creative side to my role, as well as a business and numbers-oriented side, I tend to switch between depending on the day and my mood. If I’m not feeling creative, I focus on operations and sales, work on the kiosk, but if I feel inspired creatively, it’s a good day for working on marketing content and events, etc. 

An innovative cinema pioneer, and a slice of cinema history…

Fram Kino  is one of the oldest private cinemas in Norway, from 1908, and has operated continuously since then, even during world war 2. In fact the only time it has ever shut down was during the pandemic. 

Erik Jørgensen is the fourth generation of the Jørgensen family to run the cinema since it was built, and he is a cinema industry pioneer, always looking to innovate and try new things. We were the first cinema in Europe with an RGB laser projector, for example. And he would never make a big deal about this, but it’s so important and inspiring for me. 

Erik also established KinoAlliansen (the Alliance of Cinemas) to build a stronger industry, help cinemas have larger negotiating power, etc. So he’s always been a really forward-thinking figure. 

I feel very proud to be part of the Fram Kino story and have my voice heard, and proud that I was trusted to come in and make the changes necessary and be respected for that. 

Snapshots of Fram Kino from 1908 to 1951. It continued to operate through WW2

The special relationship between Fram Kino and DX

Erik was part of the very beginning of DX with (DX founder) Tore Martin Hansenback back in 1989. At the time, Fram Kino was going through renovations and Erik wanted to upgrade our ticket system to an electronic one - the latest technological innovation in our industry. 

The only option at that time was a very expensive, complex German tool called Ticket. So Erik contacted a local computer company, Nordlandsdata  in Bodo, for help. Tore Martin Hansen, DX’ founder who worked at Nordlandsdata at the time, agreed to build a new technology for Fram cinema, working closely with Erik’s input in 1989.

Eventually this new digital ticketing solution was adopted by other cinemas in Norway where there was a great appetite for it. 

Tore and Jan, his colleague from Nordlandsdata who’d also worked on the ticketing solution, both left to found DX and continue developing innovative digital solutions for the cinema industry!

Even in my 17 years there have been really big technological changes. It wasn’t that long ago that digital projections became the norm, but I remember the old reels being delivered. It’s not as ancient as people think! I also remember when most of our tickets were sold at the kiosk, and now everything is online. Kiosk-bought tickets now are maybe 2% or 3% of the total ticket sales!

So I’ve seen a lot of BIG changes, but also seen a lot of people not being able to deal with all the new technological developments. 

Big changes but also big challenges…

I think the main challenge in the whole industry, not just us, is getting young people back into the cinema. The pandemic hit young people during the crucial years of their social habit formation. Cinemagoing is part of that, and they missed out. 

We need to help young people see the value of coming to the cinema. 

With Bodo about to be European Capital of Culture, one of the main topics on the agenda is how to encourage young people to stay in our city, and not leave. This all ties together with attracting younger audiences to the cinema, which is something really important to me. I invited some school kids in for a chat, in exchange for watching a film, just to have a really honest conversation about how they feel about going to the cinema. 

I’m keen to implement actions, not just talking about, but actually working with them to establish change. 

The feedback I get is that young people don’t think about the cinema. It’s not that they don’t want to go - if their parents prompt them, or pay for it, they go. It’s just not on their radar as a first choice activity. 

What DX features do you use the most?

I don't think there’s a single feature that i haven't used at some point, but the three things I use every day are: 

  • DX Reporting
  • DX POS
  • DX Website

 These are basically open on my computer at all times.

I use the film scheduler timeline, event site, reporting site and product sites a lot.

I love the product site and all its functions and its what I’ve worked with most through the years. In addition to our two cashier points, we have a ticket machine and self service cashier, so I keep up to date with these functions. I also keep an eye on the Ebillett-app to make sure everything is good.

Any final thoughts?

I could talk about DX, Fram Kino, and the cinema industry etc forever. I'm very passionate! I really am proud to be an ambassador for DX, but also to see that I’m making an impact on the Norwegian cinema industry, and I love working at the heart of an innovative cinema with a real legacy and history.

Share This Article

Stay ahead! Monthly industry insights straight into your inbox

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Stay Ahead Blog
Read in Swedish
Sweden Icon