The Interior Redesign of the Deutsches Filmmuseum


The Deutsches Filmmuseum (German Film Museum) has been completely renovated and has a new permanent exhibition

Fassade des neuen Filmmuseums bei Nacht Foto: Uwe Dettmar / Quelle: Deutsches FilminstitutDas Kinos im neuen Filmmuseum Foto: Uwe Dettmar / Quelle: Deutsches Filminstitut

The first part of the permanent exhibition entitled “Filmisches Sehen” (Filmic vision) addresses the diversity of visual media in the 18th and 19th centuries and the invention of film. The sections on pre- and early film history demonstrate how filmic perception works and on which traditions it is based. Film technology and history are impressively explained with the aid of the topics visual curiosity, movement, recording, projection, the moving image and cinema. With its circular display cabinets, the exhibition architecture calls to mind devices from the pre-cinema era such as the zoetrope or wheel of life. One particular gem from the historical section of the show is a beautiful magic lantern from the Deutsches Filminstitut (German Film Institute) archive, which has been extensively restored.

Der Filmraum in der Dauerausstellung des Deutschen Filmmuseums, Foto: Uwe Dettmar / Quelle: Deutsches Filminstitut

The second part of the exhibition, entitled “Filmisches Erzählen” (Narration in film), focuses on the underlying principles of cinematic language. The “film room” is a major attraction here. The topics of image, sound, montage and acting are presented in film on four screens each measuring 4 x 2.25 meters. Be it Baloo the Bear dancing across the screen from right to left in “The Jungle Book” and in so doing illustrating the space traversed, be it an exploration of the effect of film music in happy, sad or dramatic scenes from “The Godfather” (1972), the effect of color or the importance of laughter in cinematic history, an installation lasting more than 30 minutes gives visitors a keen insight into how film works.

Film enthusiasts even have the chance to try their own hand at filmmaking at the numerous interactive stations, where they are invited to experiment with different film cuts as well as sound, light and camera perspective. The eight-meter-long green screen passage is a further highlight: Those who dare can stand on the edge of a skyscraper in New York, float through outer space or explore a land of giant insects.

25 years after it first opened, the film institution’s interior is redesigned; the public display areas will grow by 30 % to a total of 2.100 square metres. The third floor, formally used as offices, being the most attractive floor with views of the unique skyline, is now the space for temporary exhibitions.

„Generous spaces for new and original exhibition and education concepts, a visitor-friendly architectural link between the different public spaces, the opening of the institution towards the city as well as an extended programme of services form the key aspects of the new Filmmuseum. Our vision for a centre for film culture and film knowledge, which conforms to the academic standards of our media-age in the 21st century, is now taking shape”, thus Claudia Dillmann, director of the Deutsches Filminstitut – DIF. The long overdue redevelopment and modernisation, including the updating of the projection system and acoustic engineering of the cinema, reflects the rapidly growing popularity of the Deutsches Filmmuseum - since 2006 an institution of the Filminstitut - and boosts its competitiveness.

“The new Filmmuseum will continue the tradition of setting nationwide trends started by the first Kommunale Kino (cinema supported by the council) founded in 1971 and by the cinematic institution, which opened its doors 25 years ago as the first film museum”, thus Hilmar Hoffmann, Advisory Board Chairman of the Deutsches Filminstitut. He thanked the City of Frankfurt, the State of Hesse and the Federal Republic of Germany who, as members of the DFI Advisory Board, provide continued support and financial sponsorship.

"After modernisation, the new Filmmuseum will become a unique place for experiencing and learning – for people interested in culture and for cineastes, for families, children and for young people. As one of the most popular venues it already stands for the international importance of Frankfurt’s Museum Embankment. Particularly the restoration of the historical façade and the subsequent opening of the institution towards the city will only serve to heighten its attractiveness to visitors”, as Prof. Dr. Felix Semmelroth, Councillor for Culture of the City of Frankfurt, put it. He said moreover that this added further impetus to the Museum Embankment, which was currently not only undergoing modernisation and updating to modern safety standards everywhere, but was also expanded by the addition of new buildings and conversions.

“The Deutsches Filminstitut, along with the Deutsches Filmhaus in Wiesbaden and the film classic ‘Metropolis’, rank among the outstanding and internationally acclaimed achievements of the Filmland Hessen (Film State Hesse). In addition to its financial support of these projects, the Federal State in supporting the film festivals LUCAS and ‘goEast’, the internet platform ‘’ and the ‘SchulKinoWochen Hessen’ (Hesse SchoolCinemaWeeks) wishes to demonstrate the wide range of institutions and services currently offered by the State of Hesse in the area of film”, thus Eva Kühne-Hörmann, Hessian State Minister for Science and the Arts. She said further that the Deutsches Filminstitut was making a great contribution in the area of media education for children and young people, thereby fulfilling a vital function in society. At the press conference, the Minister presented the State’s notification of approval of the sum of €2,5 m.


Financing and Sponsorship

The Deutsches Filminstitut as body responsible for the museum, leaseholder and client has undertaken the building measures for a sum of € 12 m; the new permanent exhibition costed another €1.8 m.

The City of Frankfurt (€6.235 m), the State of Hesse (€2.5 m) and the Federal Republic of Germany (€1.54 m, under the second economic stimulus package, sub-programme: extensive redevelopment and energy-efficient renovation of buildings) were the main sponsors of the modernisation of the historic villa on the Museum Embankment. The new permanent exhibition is furthermore financed by additional funds from the City of Frankfurt, the Stiftung Polytechnische Gesellschaft Frankfurt am Main, the State of Hesse, and the City of Eschborn.

Facts and Figures

Investment volume: €12 m
Client: Deutsches Filminstitut – DIF e.V. (also leaseholder and body responsible for the museum)
Sponsors: City of Frankfurt am Main: €6,235 m, State of Hesse: €2,5 m, and Federal Republic of Germany: €1,54 m (second economic stimulus package, sub-programme: extensive redevelopment and energy-efficient renovation of buildings)
Planning: Blocher Blocher Partners (Stuttgart)
Project management: Groß & Partner (Frankfurt am Main)
Submisson of building application: 16th July 2009
Fundraising campaign: Leo Burnett (Frankfurt)
Client’s consultant (pro bono): Hans-Erhard Haverkamp, Frankfurt City Councillor for Planning and Building Control (retired)