Bahnemann Back On Board

About a year ago, after 95 years as successful partners, the Stahl family, descendants of c0-founder Robert Richter, acquired all the Arnold family’s shares in ARRI. As of August 2013, Arnold & Richter Cine Technik GmbH has a new Board of Directors consisting of only three members: Chairman Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Bullinger, Dr. Walter Stahl, and Volker W. Bahnemann

Hans-Jörg Bullinger is President of the Fraunhofer Society, which consists of 60 institutes conducting applied research in Germany, employing 22,093 people, with an annual research budget of about €1.65 billion. He is also Professor of Industrial Science and Technology Management at the University of Stuttgart.

Dr. Walter Stahl (Phd. Law) has been in active management and on the boards of Arnold & Richter and other family enterprises.

Volker Bahnemann was President and CEO of ARRI Inc  (the USA subsidiary of the ARRI Group) for 32 years. In April 2010, Volker surprised the industry by announcing that he was stepping down after 48 years with ARRI. Although he never repeated the famous line “I’ll be back,” I was sure he would soon be recruited for a worthy cause.

Volker joined the company at age 16 as an apprentice in the factory on Tuerkenstrasse. In 1962 he came to NY as a service technician for ARRI’s US distributor, became Service Manager, was promoted to VP of Marketing in 1971 and later President of the company, a division of Berkey Photo, Inc.

In 1978, with the support of Arnold & Richter, Volker established Arriflex Corporation (ARRI Inc.) as a wholly owned subsidiary, the first expansion of the Munich-based company outside of Germany.

These early days were interesting and challenging. His companies’ products were competing with technologies serving Hollywood’s long-standing, established way of shooting. To meet these demands and expanding film production worldwide, new products were required. Volker was responsible for the concept and development of many important filmmaking technologies that had a major impact on the way films were shot and many were recognized by the Academy with Scientific and Technical Awards.

In 1974, he was the youngest Associate Member of the American Society of Cinematographers, building relationships with cinematographers, assistants, camera crews, studio executives and producers—friendships that continue to this day. He became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1977 and served on the Scientific and Technical committee for many years.

In 1996, the Academy presented Volker with the John A. Bonner Award. In 2002, S.M.P.T.E. honored him with the Fuji Gold Medal Award and CineGear bestowed the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award.

During the end phase of analog he helped guide ARRI into the digital age, introducing the ArriLaser and ArriScan in the Americas and initiating their “Blue Herring” digital camera research project with Lockheed Martin.

On a personal note, Volker has been a mentor to many. A grant in his name encourages student productions at New York University. He helped launch my career, has been a constant mentor, and encouraged the launch of “Film and Digital Times.” He was the force behind the film “Cinematographer Style,” which investigated not only the styles of 110 prominent cinematographers, but also endeavored to demonstrate the digital environment of film. Few individuals in our industry have had such a profound influence:

From Arriflex 35-2B and 16S cameras to successfully navigating the challenging transition from silver to silicon, it’s good to see Volker back “On Board”.


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