Behind the scenes with the man behind the screens… We talk to the founder and managing director of The AIRSCREEN Company.
Well, I run the company, so my responsibilities pretty much cover everything. But I do have great colleagues that keep a lot of details away from me. Or do you mean me as a dad? That’s another story. My kids might tell you something about my role!
What is your background?
I was born in 1971 and grew up a small town in northern Germany. Two of my uncles were cinema owners. So, there is movie-DNA in my blood I guess.
My life changed forever when my uncle met Günter Ganzevoort, the inventor of the world’s first inflatable movie screen at a cinema convention. With this world novelty, we started organising open-air cinema events all around northern Germany.
After I finished my university career in Germany and Spain with a master’s in international business studies, we professionalised the company, built around the AIRSCREEN product.
Now AIRSCREEN is a world-renowned brand for high quality inflatable movie screens made in Germany. It helped that movie premieres and film festivals used (and use) our products. Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford – so many actors and directors have stood in front of an AIRSCREEN to present their films.
Give us an idea of your daily routine
I am pretty much like an electron whose position in space is hard to describe. Heisenberg might help. Sometimes in the office building in Münster, working in our warehouse, in the factories, at our clients’ events, with the family in Berlin… Thank God I have a special rail pass that covers all this!
Any upcoming exciting projects?
Many things! Right now, we are in our peak season and again AIRSCREENS are the ‘must have’ product for this summer. We will employ more people by the end of this year.
Great events are coming up like an open-air movie premier on the Montjuic in Barcelona and a friend and AIRSCREEN user in southern France will be setting up a screen in a Roman amphitheatre. I love when architecture and the event match! A customer in Singapore wants to organise the biggest crowd ever for an outdoor movie event with multiple AIRSCREENS and Michael Moore will be screening films on a gigantic AIRSCREEN at the shores of Lake Michigan by the end of July. There is amazing stuff coming up in many parts of the world.
What are your main challenges?
To keep cool. Work theoretically never ends, we work all around the Earth in over 130 countries. But of course we have many partners who support us with AIRSCREEN rental and sales. Personally, you have to find a balance between work and the other things in life that are valuable like family, time to relax and holidays. If you don’t step back sometimes, I think your body will suffer in the long run. For sure, your family would.
I sometimes try to take a longer break to get new inspiration and a different perspective. What always helps is a bicycle trip. I do this typically once a year where I take let’s say 14 days off and go (alone) with my bike to a distant point in Europe. If there are Alps in between me and my goal, even better. These are memorable experiences that help me to feel nature and life as such. I love it! And of course in the slower season (November to February) I typically take some time off with the family. We enjoy being by the sea. Looking at an ocean is the best meditation.
Give us a stressful situation that you’ve overcome
Well, some years ago we set-up a giant screen (100ft or 30m wide) at the birthplace of James Dean in Indiana, USA. It became stressful because a hurricane came our way. We had to quickly deflate the AIRSCREEN and secure it on the ground with steel ropes. Then we hid in a truck and it felt a bit like when Judy Garland got sucked up by the wind hose in “The Wizzard of Oz”. The truck was shaking, and I thought: “This is the end!”. But when the sky suddenly turned from green to blue again, we found ourselves still on the airfield where the event took place. Thank God our improvised tie for the AIRSCREEN did the job, so nothing was destroyed or harmed. The next day, the show went on.
How does your team work together?
My employees are like friends to me. Most important in any kind of relationship is mutual respect. If we reach a goal, we celebrate together. I let them participate on the company’s success with bonuses, so we all can feel proud and happy in what we are doing.
What are you most proud of?
We installed the world’s largest AIRSCREEN on St. Mark’s Square in Venice for a movie premier during the film festival. When (baby) Maddox on Angelina Jolie’s arm boxed against the AIRSCREEN (and hopefully felt the strength of the frame) that was a situation I cannot forget and yes, it made me proud.
Generally I feel pride that we inspire people in many parts of the world to get creative with cinema, showing great films on giant screens under the stars. Inflate an AIRSCREEN, put up some sound and a projector and be the director of your own cinema. To see those hundreds or even thousands of guests coming to an open air event makes me deeply happy.
Please tell us why you love your job
I can’t think of much nicer work. We only work with great people who live for the arts, who love movies and outdoor cinema. These folks are just amazing and keep on developing new event ideas with our products. It never gets boring, and I am looking nearly 30 years back! Not a single day!
About The AIRSCREEN Company
The AIRSCREEN Company has developed and sold inflatable movie screens for much more than a decade and offers a worldwide service partner and rental network. The company hit the world record for the largest inflatable cinema screen on Earth (130ft width) and continues to amaze customers in over 130 countries with its innovation.
The AIRSCREEN Company is situated in Münster, Germany, in between Dortmund and Bremen, and its screen are made in Germany.
The AIRSCREEN Company GmbH & Co. KG
+49 170 77 55 969