Speisekino / Food & Footage

Format Screening

City Berlin, Germany

ZK/U Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik – Every friday (period May-October) a film curator and a cook get together and combine independent movies and short-films with food relating to the film program or the other way around. Sometimes the relation is simple, e.g. a film from Tanzania combined with East African food, sometimes more sophisticated, e.g. the same drinks are served as in the film or meal from the movie is cooked.

The district of Moabit in Berlin got a newly landscaped park and a cultural institution in the middle of it. In order to draw the local communities’ attention to the park and cultural center, we invented ‘Speisekino’ and included local cooks and films relating to the neighborhood, The park is located overviewing the cities biggest port. During the evenings you see the cranes unloading the ships. It’s very cinematic! We wanted to add another layer by screening outdoors, including this wonderful setting!

We wanted to get people of different backgrounds and ages together. Film and Video is a wonderful tool to create an atmosphere and to inspire thinking, but eating together is by far the best means to create a feeling of togetherness. In the long run, we want to be a local living room, where you meet friends, see outstanding movies and share soul-warming meals, just to see how wonderful the community outside of your private space is.

We’ve been able to create a sense of friday-evening-community. Visitors returning over and over again. People still are surprised about those experimental films and unusual international cuisine served at Speisekino. After cooking for us, some of the cooks have been able to develop their own business. The district of Moabit, has a new, reliable meeting spot.

Location Find the perfect spot

Speisekino can happen wherever you can show movies and cook meals for more than 50 people: in a park, in a building, on a parking lot, in an abandoned industrial ruin. Make sure the neighbors don’t mind the sound of people and movies by inviting them for free meals. What’s more important: the cooking facilities must be according to hygienic standards as demanded by authorities. But maybe a local caterer with a license to serve food, can do the job. You should have shelter from rain, or you make sure that people are fine with staying away in case of rain.

People Power Helping hands

Next to our team of volunteers, we had a) a technician, who would set up the chairs, the beamer and the soundsystem. It was crucial, he would test the film-files before visitors arrived. b) a cook, who would start shopping in the morning, cooking in the afternoon and serving foods in the evening c) an assistant for cleaning: after cooking, the chef is going to be tired. You need someone to fix the mess. d) a curator, who would choose the film, get the rights to screen and provide our technician with the files or rolls to be shown The rest is done by the team: communication of the event, preparing the space, cleaning after the mess…

Things you need Tech Rider

  • Technology: Beamer, Screen, Media Player, Audiosystem, Lights for eating, Lights
  • Furniture: Chairs, Tables for serving the food and drinks
  • Infrastructure: Electricity, toilets + water supply,
  • Cooking + Catering: Cooking facilities, all needed to serve the food: plates, cutlery, etc., Cleaning facitlies.

Funding From Funding to Self-sufficiency

During the first two years, we were able to get funding to pay the basic investements (beamer, cooking facilities and film rights). In addition we took 5 euro per meal and we sold drinks. After the funding had ended, we would sell the food for 7 euros. With guests from between 50 to 100 people, we can get away without a minus. If more people come, we have money to improve our infrastructure. These are arguments for funding institutions:

  • Strengthening social cohesian in the neighborhood
  • Supporting local cooks and infrastructure

Communication Spread the word

We create an annual printed calendar poster with all dates, films and cooks included. In addition, we distributed postcards and posters. We created our own social media community and informing all local cultural magazine with cinema announcements.

Official / Legal Film license and hygienic regulations

Make sure, that the hygienic conditions of your cooking facilities are according to local regulations. If this is impossible: hire a caterer with a license to serve food. He will prepare it in his kitchen and bring it your Speisekino. If you want to sell drinks, make sure to get a license (for catering), if you want to play music, think about the GEMA. But consider keeping it simple! Getting the film licenses is important. It actually doesn’t cost so much. (between 30-90 euros) and if you are running it non-for-profit, you will get better deals with the distributors.

In many cultures food is one of the most relevant factor of social cohesion. Adding a cinematic layer to it produces an interesting hybrid.

Speisekino Moabit