Campus - 14.08.2016 - 00:00 

Summer in St.Gallen: Sustainable enjoyment of films in the solar cinema

Generating awareness of solar energy and enjoying films together in the open air– these are only two of the objectives of the solar cinema in St.Gallen. The HSG film is again being shown in the supporting programme this year. Student reporter Sophie Kwisda conducted some research into how the idea of the itinerant cinema evolved and what possible developments will emerge in the future.

15 August 2016. This year’s solar cinema kicked off on 11 August with the film "Madame Mallory und der Duft von Curry" (original title: "The Hundred-Foot Journey"). The mixed audience also included some HSG students. Viktoria Heuer, a student at the Master’s Level, attended the event "because of the unique location by the Three Ponds and because the idea of sustainable action is inspiring". Karla Kopf, a PhD student, was spontaneously captivated by the ambiance of the open-air cinema when out for a walk on a balmy summer’s evening. HSG alumnus Michael Portmann had already been to the solar cinema before: "With its carefully selected films, the solar cinema ideally fits the atmosphere of its locations."

Generating awareness of solar energy
The solar cinema project is primarily intended to generate awareness of solar energy and increase people’s interest in making use of it. At the same time, it also draws people’s attention to the activities of the Solar St.Gallen Cooperative. The idea of the solar cinema evolved from the partnership between the Solar St.Gallen Cooperative and the founder of the project, Christof Seiler.

This summer, the solar cinema is celebrating its fifth anniversary and can look back on an eventful development history with pride. In the first year, the silver screen was still suspended from trees and the sound was provided by only one loudspeaker. Now the audience is offered a professional screen and good sound quality. A varied range of food and drinks is also on offer. Since admission is free, however, this could only be achieved with the help of aid monies, sponsorship funds, collections and private bookings for the itinerant cinema. Accordingly, the achievements of the solar cinema are primarily the result of the honorary commitment of the six-strong committee team and the numerous volunteers.

Sustainable existence thanks to honorary commitment
"Doing something good for the community and the environment and promoting sensitivity to societal issue" – this is the motivation of the committee team to drive the project forward all the year round. The positive feedback from visitors and the support provided by the City and the Canton of St.Gallen help generate the necessary energy for this expensive and time-consuming project. A timely start of preparations in September enables the team to find something suitable for every taste and from every genre from among more than 70 films and to book a suitable location for the films to be shown. In the run-up to the events, only details have to be dealt with and the batteries of the solar cinema must be charged with sunlight for about six hours. When the show starts, energy is only tapped from sustainable resources.

The exclusive use of sustainable resources will not change in future, either. In the next few years, the team aims to create more atmosphere with a social programme. This will provide local artists with an additional platform. The vision of a larger screen could be realised with the help of additional donations.

This month, the solar cinema will open its gates on the weekend of 25-27 August. Before the show, the itinerant cinema will invite the public to a culinary prelude. In the event of bad weather, the film will be shown in the Open Church.

Sophie Kwisda is studying International Management (CEMS) and Marketing at the HSG.

Photo: Solarkino St.Gallen

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