Innovation That Matters

The project’s name is a play on Netflix | Photo source Window Flicks

Project brings cinema to backyards

Arts & Entertainment

A German project is screening movies on the sides of buildings to allow neighbours to watch together from their own windows

Spotted: Cinemas, where people sit indoors in close proximity for hours, may be among the last businesses to open up following the coronavirus lockdown. But for those who are missing the movies, German project “Window Flicks” has an answer. The project brings the cinemas to the people by projecting films onto the exteriors of residential buildings, allowing the entire neighbourhood to watch from their windows.

The venture launched in February, as Germany ordered its citizens to self-isolate. Berlin residents can apply to Window Flicks to participate but must live in an area where at least 20 residential units can have an unobstructed view of a large wall. The projector and other equipment are installed in one unit, in a room with a window which faces the “screen”. 

The organisers are offering the screenings for free, and even supply free popcorn, but encourage residents to make donations, which all go towards supporting German independent movie theatres. The films have been provided by arthouse cinema group Yorck, and include the likes of Shaun the Sheep, Loving Vincent, Goodbye Lenin and French Oscar-winner The Artist.

The films are screened with subtitles and without sound, to keep the disruption to a minimum. Despite not asking for official permission, there have been no complaints. Organiser Olaf Karkhoff came up with the idea as a “gift for the city” and a way to allow people to safely share a film experience. “Our idea was to show that people don’t have to be cooped up behind digital screens, they can go and open their windows and watch something together with their neighbourhood,” he said.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, huge numbers of cultural institutions have opened their collections to the world in novel ways. Many of these, such as virtual tours and live-streamed fashion shows could end up revolutionising access to culture.

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