When the Filminitiative Würzburg and thus the International Film Weekend was founded in 1974, the cinematic situation in Würzburg was in many ways quite different than it is today: There were more than 10 cinemas in the hands of just two major cinema operators, including one that was very similar to a programmed movie theatre, the City Cinema at Barbarossaplatz. What was lacking at that time, however, were the cinema owners and distributors who wanted start of their films with special features such as the invitation of directors and interaction with the filmmakers as then directors played only a minor role to the normal moviegoer.
In the beginning, the so-called Weekend of the International Film of the Filminitiative Würzburg eV , focused on a weekend for the first time, provided an insight into the unknown, international cinema scene. The university town offered a chance to use multilingualism on a ground level and get films from abroad that had not yet found their way to distributors. Added to this was the opportunity for film lovers to get to know the filmmakers behind the productions and discuss their films with them. This sort of interaction with the public at that time was still a pronounced rarity.
But, the change in Würzburg’s cinema landscape particularly shook the film festival. On one hand, there were the cinemas themselves, the growing demand for quality in projection, mostly above all in terms of sound, the demand for more convenience and concentration of the halls, as it was last changed into the multiplexes. So they screened first for three days in the City Cinema. It was started in 1974 with just 12 films and 1,000 visitors. The interest in guests filmmakers and the program grew quickly and so soon had to move from the small niche cinema in the larger Lichtspiele, which however, had to give way to turn into a bank building in 1977 after just one year of being with the festival. The film festival then in 1978 set stone at its long lasting main venue, the Corso Cinema Center . At first it played there only in one hall and later in all three halls for four days. Since the 1990s, other changed venues have been added, such as the Theater Hobbit stage or the Bockshorn . One of these two venues was forced to become the only location in 2010: After the Corso Cinema Center which had fallen victim to the wrecking ball, so then the film-makers moved into several screens at Cinemaxx, During this time, there was the only deviation since the foundation: The usual January date had to be postponed to the two weeks before Easter. In 2013, the film festival moved back to the last weekend in January and has been cooperating successfully since then with the Central Programmkino , which has now been renamed Central Central in Bürgerbräu since its relocation in 2016 . There, the film initiative drew two other venues, which they themselves converted into cinemas, namely the so-called “Kellerkino” (Cellar Cinema) in Bürgerbräu and the hall of the VCC Vogel Convention Center .
Things changed, technology developed, way films operate changed but the structure of the Filminitiative Würzburg has changed very little. Developed from a student impulse, working people have always fought to make it work. Of course, students are always short, but their passion for film and festival organising can last for many years. Since all participate voluntarily, one hardly notices something on the wear and tear of the ocassion – with new volunteers signing up every now and then. At least that is our dream and our work ethos. In fact, if you love cinema and want to be a part of it, let us know because running a festival of this scale always requires more people moreover now because of the three venues, which belong to the festival, it always needs new cinema loving volunteers with time and energy: Feel free to drop us a a line at email@example.com or contact or personally during the event at Central in Bürgerbräu .