For over 30 years now Filmgalerie 451 has been a home to cinematic art, underground film and new discoveries. Our mission is to unearth quality, rare and exceptional films and to make them available to audiences. Whenever possible, we strive to present a given director’s oeuvre, but are equally happy presenting individual cinematic gems. One of the strengths of the Filmgalerie 451 program is the combination of film production with film distribution, and the networks that has allowed us to establish.
To us, good films are stimulating, touching and gripping. They carry you away to another world and inspire you. It is not a matter of genre; the important thing is a screenwriter or filmmaker’s bearing and personal stamp. In the best of cases, the director reveals something about him- or herself, conveys that to us and finds a form that speaks to us. A good film is mysterious, makes us happy and enriches us. We love bold films that take a political or artistic stance, that show us the world through a lens all their own and surprise us. Our program is conceived so we can share our passion for film and cinema with others.
When we started Filmgalerie 451 we set out to find and select good films on video cassette because normal video rental stores primarily offered straight-to-video releases. Today we strive to maintain and safeguard the status of film and cinema vis-à-vis series and television productions.
In February 2021 Martin Scorcese wrote in Harper's Magazine: “The art of cinema is being systematically devalued, sidelined, demeaned, and reduced to its lowest common denominator, ‘content.’” We are fighting that development alongside Scorcese, and we know we can rely on the good taste of Filmgalerie 451 viewers while doing so.
FILMGALERIE 451 – A LOOK BACK
We have been curating and releasing film programs as Filmgalerie 451 since 1987. We started as students in our video store in Stuttgart. In 1991 the short Am Strand von Merkala (Merkala Beach) was Filmgalerie 451’s first production. That gave rise to the trilogy Paul Bowles – Halbmond (Paul Bowles – Half Moon), which was our first feature film.
At that time growing interest in non-mainstream films at our video store became the basis for us releasing small VHS editions of friends’ and colleagues’ films. That led us to create the label 451 Video. Our first releases were Monika Treut’s Die Jungfrauenmaschine (Virgin Machine) and Christoph Schlingensief’s Das deutsche Kettensägenmassaker (The German Chainsaw Massacre).
In 2001 we at Filmgalerie 451 began producing films by other directors; initially, with Heinz Emigholz (Goff in der Wüste (Goff in the Desert)) and Christoph Schlingensief (Freakstars 3000), and later with Werner Schroeter (Diese Nacht (This Night)), Cynthia Beatt (The Invisible Frame) and other filmmakers.
In 2002 we moved our film production company, video label – which had become a DVD label – and video store to Berlin and began distributing films for the cinema. The first films we distributed were Christoph Hochhäusler’s Milchwald (This Very Moment) and Ulrich Köhler’s Montag kommen die Fenster (Windows on Monday).
The film production company has been our focus since 2003, Stadt als Beute (Berlin Stories), an adaptation of a René Pollesch play by Esther Gronenborn, Miriam Dehne and Irene von Alberti, was our first production in Berlin. We also continue to distribute films and to operate our DVD and VOD label with great enthusiasm in order to provide access to good films.
Irene von Alberti und Frieder Schlaich