ARRI celebrated its 100th anniversary on September 12, 2017. There were many parties and events all over the world in commemoration of the big occasion, starting with the centenary celebration held the night before the opening of the IBC in Amsterdam. There were many congratulatory articles and advertisements in magazines and the media, which served to emphasize just how much of a strong presence ARRI is in the world of film. ARRI was founded in 1917 in Munich, taking its name from the first 2 letters of its founders’ last names: August ARNOLD and Robert RICHTER. In 1920, the company produced their first independent movie, developed their own cameras and lighting equipment, and in 1937, launched a revolutionary invention. It was the ARRIFlex35, a reflex motion picture camera that set the standard for all movie cameras in film shooting.
In the 1950s following WWII, the company took the world by storm with their cameras during a time when television was shooting in film. They began their rental business in 1955, and in 1959 the company expanded into the American market. Since then, ARRI cameras have become indispensible when shooting a movie in the latter half of the 20th century, and have been used in many famous movie productions.
Post 2000, during the height of the digital wave, the company discontinued further development on film cameras with the ARRIFlex 235 in 2003. Their first digital camera, the ARRIFLEX D-20, first appeared on the scene in 2005, and in 2010 ARRI debuted the ideal cinema camera: the ALEXA. Since then, the company has dominated the world cinema market.
Where is ARRI headed from here? It is said that the rapidly expanding Asian market – in particular, China – has had a considerable impact on ARRI’s decision to move in this direction. ‘The next wave is Asia,’ so what are the company’s plans for expansion?
They have revamped their head office in Asia, which is located in Hong Kong, and held an open house on September 25th. We interviewed ARRI’s key players at the company’s Hong Kong office, which will serve as ARRI’s center of operations in Asia from this point onward.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Kenichi TAKAHASHI, Seiji TANAKA