The Universum Filmtheater is located in the heart of the city of Braunschweig in Lower Saxony. It was founded in 2008 by six members of the local film festival after the reconstruction of an inner-city cinema which existed from 1954 until 2006. It reopened in 2009 as a modern 2-screen arthouse cinema providing space for a maximum of 287 guests and a bistro. The staff consists of the managing director Volker Kufahl, two full time employees, three part-timers and several temporary workers. The Universum Filmtheater is the only arthouse cinema in town and exists independently of the only other cinema in Braunschweig, which is a multiplex.
The program consists mainly of European feature films, documentaries and short films. Alongside Universum provides several curated film series or special events with guests and partners. By covering various topics such as politics, art or environmentalism in documentaries the cinema manages to reach very different audiences and grow the patronage of the cinema. As often as possible Universum presents feature films in the presence of the directors or actors who discuss their work with the audience afterwards. Also, Universum hosts the annual Braunschweig International Film Festival.
A very popular film series amongst the younger audience is “Sound on Screen” an event which takes place almost every month. It consists of musical documentaries covering an extensive bandwidth of different musical genres and an accompanying culture program with concerts, readings or art exhibitions in a local club.
Thanks to a continually growing audience, the varied program and numerous awards by the federal government and the regional state of Lower-Saxony for its annual programs, the Universum Filmtheater takes an important role in the cultural landscape of the region.