Having now existed for more than a century, ARRI shows no signs of slowing down. Founded in Munich on September 12, 1917 by August Arnold and Robert Richter, the company began by selling film accessories before shooting the Western films “Black Jack” and “The Train Robbers” within a few years of its foundation. After working as cameramen, Arnold and Richter found their true calling: developing their own cameras.
The first of these, the KINARRI 35, was a hand-cranked 35mm model that housed 100 feet of film and was first introduced in 1924. Though initially developed for in-house use, the camera was so popular that ARRI began renting it out to other companies.
“I still find it amazing that this company was founded by two teenagers; they were so young that their parents had to sign the 2 incorporation documents,” says Dr. Jörg Pohlman, one of two Executive Board members at ARRI AG. “First and foremost they were film enthusiasts, driven by a love for visual storytelling and technology. If you walk around ARRI today you’ll see that same enthusiasm and passion — it defines who we are and what we do.” Indeed, the company is still headquartered at the same address on Türkenstrasse.
Executive Board member Franz Kraus adds, “ARRI prides itself on being a long-term professional partner to the global film industry. We have never walked away, instead facing difficult times by redoubling our efforts and increasing investment in R&D. The fact that we offer such varied products and services, covering all sides of the industry, gives us a unique perspective and allows each division to benefit from the expertise of all the others. For example it was our work in digital postproduction that helped us make such a successful transition from film to digital cameras.”