Hans-Joachim Flebbe, the founder and managing director of Astor Film Lounge and Zoo Palast, has been named as the 2023 recipient of the UNIC Achievement Award. Given each year in recognition of outstanding dedication and service to European cinema exhibition, the award will be presented as part of the CineEurope awards ceremony on June 22nd at the Centre de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB) in Barcelona, Spain.
With a continued passion for and commitment to theatrical presentation, Hans-Joachim Flebbe has dedicated his career to the cinema industry for over 40 years. From his debut in 1972 as a booking officer then programmer at the Apollo Cinema in Hanover, to opening his first cinemas in 1977 with the Kinos am Raschplatz, founding the CinemaxX Group and opening the first CinemaxX cinema in Hanover in March 1991, Flebbe has re-invented the cinema experience with his unique ability to mix technology with tradition. CinemaxX grew to become the number one operator in Germany with at least 38 sites and more than ten locations in Denmark, Switzerland and Turkey. After 20 years as Managing Director and Board member, Hans-Joachim Flebbe left CinemaxX AG at the end of 2008. With a passion for art-house films and the renovation of historical cinemas, he took over several cinemas in 2008, including the Filmpalast Berlin, and converted them into luxury cinemas and founded the Astor Film Lounge chain. Flebbe also renovated and reopened Berlin’s long-established Zoo Palast cinema in 2013, which he still operates today.
Welcoming the announcement of the award, Phil Clapp, the president of UNIC, said, “We are absolutely delighted to honour Hans-Joachim at CineEurope 2023. The award recognizes his incredible passion for the big screen, his outstanding career and his key role in developing both the German and European cinema going experience. On behalf of the UNIC Board and colleagues from across the industry, I would like to congratulate Hans-Joachim for this wonderful achievement.”