Karl Winter (13.9.1949 – 18.2.2022)
Our colleague, friend and companion for many long years, Karl Winter passed away unexpectedly in the early hours of February 18th. Following his own cinema projects and initiatives as well as a position at the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek, he worked as a managing clerk at Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art (Friends of the German Film Archive until 2008) from 1987 to 2012 and yet was far more than that: Karl was the heart and soul of the distribution department. Every year after the Berlinale, he brought the films that screened at the Forum to cinemas with passion and conviction. In so doing, he never forgot older films in the collection, short experimental works or the unknown titles he conjured up. His most important means of communication was the telephone. Some may still remember how he would sit in his office in the front window of Welserstraße 25, telephone receiver in his hand, index cards all around him and the 16mm projector behind him for rapid screenings as necessary. In many, many personal conversations, he heard about the difficulties, but also the successes of the cinema landscape. None of this changed when we moved to Potsdamer Platz: he listened, gave advice, offered sympathy when things didn’t work out and shared the joy of cinema owners and filmmakers when events went well. Through his experience, knowledge and ideas, he was involved in the programming of hundreds of regional arthouse and repertory cinemas and film clubs over his 25 years of service. He was always there for us too, also long after his retirement. Karl personified everything about cinema: collective thinking, shared experience and showing solidarity in one’s actions.
Karl Winter is a huge part of our history and we will always remember him. We’re hugely sad and deeply affected by his loss. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.