Verena von Stackelberg is a brave woman with a burning passion for film. Opening her very own cinema was her idea for a while and when she stumbled across the perfect venue on Weserstrasse, she jumped at the opportunity. After years of hard work WOLF Kino is now open to the public. We spoke with Verena about her vision, the cinema scene and her favourite film of all times…
iHeartBerlin Verena, first congratulations on this great project. Could you explain what cinema means to you?
Verena von Stackelberg Cinema is the place where films become alive. You can really dive into a film in the cinema. It’s an entirely different experience than watching a film alone at home. In addition to the visual experience of seeing a film, experiencing it on a big screen also has a physical element. You are simply moved in different ways when watching films in a dark room full of people. The mood is much more captivating here. To me the cinema is a place of communal energy and always an enriching experience.
Screening room now
- Photo: Uli Kohl
Screening room before
iHB It is still a big step from loving cinema to wanting to open your own. How did this idea come about?
VvS I worked at Curzon Cinemas in London for 10 years. I began as an usher during my studies and later worked as special events and film programmer. I witnessed how the digitazation of cinemas was changing the whole landscape of showing and watching films, and I thought I only live once, I need to take this chance now and use these new possibilities. Originally I wanted to open a tiny cinema, but when I got some business advisers onto the project it quickly became clear that it’s never going to be able to finance itself if it’s this small. So I began planning it bigger, then found this amazing venue, an investor and it all started.
- Photo: Uli Kohl
photo: Marjorie Brunet Plaza
iHB What kind of place are you imagining WOLF will be? What films will hit your screens?
VvS I want to show great films. Those that play in other cinemas, but also those that worked well in festivals, but aren’t fit for a commercial run. I want to pick up films and give them enough time and space to have a career. We also want to show films from the neighbourhood and do projects with kids from Berlin. I can imagine giving kids a timeslot and they can choose a film, do the advertisement and see how it is to run a cinema.
We also have a flexible room, where we can project on the ceiling, the walls and change the set up depending on the films.
We want to make a new kind of cinema, a place for films and people who love film.
iHB Do you have any favourite films you’re particularly looking forward to screening?
VvS I have many favourites, but if I had to pick one it would be Tale of Tales by Yuri Norstein. It’s a 27 minute animation from Russia that I’ve easily watched 30 times or more. It has been named Best Animation of All Times over the years and every time I watch it I discover something new in it.
iHB Now that WOLF is open to the public, what are you imagining?
VvS An ideal evening would be one where all kinds of different people leave the cinema happy and content with the films they just saw, especially those who thought they’d never watch a film like this. I want it to become a cinema the audience trusts and just goes to watch whatever is on. Followed by lively conversations in the café-bar with the filmmakers or dinners or concerts.
WOLF is definitely worth a visit. The space financed by Crowdfunding is gorgeous and the program a fine selection of rarely screened jewels. Check out the program and book tickets on the WOLF Website.