ARRI was founded a century ago by two aspiring cinematographers who appreciated the value of technology in the pursuit of their dreams. The excellent adventure of August Arnold and Robert Richter reads like a good screenplay. There is a dramatic arc, with competition, conflict, struggle against odds, stumbles, success and celebration. Serendipity helped, along with good business sense. They were involved in all fields of film production—from manufacturing cameras, lights, and lenses to managing post and rentals.
The centennial celebration of the connections between cinematography and ARRI is a story about artists and artisans, technique and technology, creativity and tools. Collecting ephemeral images inside a dark box is an intertwined intersection of art and machine. Making these machines is also an art—and it is a remarkable achievement for one family-owned enterprise to have successfully engaged in that pursuit for a hundred years. ARRI is among a handful of equipment companies founded at the birth of cinema that continue to this day.