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The Circus Guide to

Independent Cinema in Berlin


The Circus Guide to Independent Cinema in Berlin

The start of the year is a great time for film lovers in Berlin. The weather is cold and the days are quite short, which makes it the perfect moment to head to one of the city’s many fine independent cinemas in the city to catch a movie – whether it’s a new arthouse release, Hollywood blockbuster or classic film.

January is also the month of the British Shorts Film Festival which runs from the 18th to the 24th and is now in its 17th year. The Circus is incredibly proud to be partners of British Shorts and to be sponsors of the Audience Award. We’re really looking forward to the 2024 edition – and you can find out more below. But whether you are in town for the festival or not, here’s our guide to our favourite cinemas, to check out the next time you are in town.

One thing it is important to remember – if you want to see an English-language film in, well, English, you need to look out for the following letters in the cinema programme: OV means that the film is shown in the original version, while OmU means in the original version with (German) subtitles.


Our neighbours on the other side of Weinbergspark, the ACUD art space was founded in 1990 in the crazy days following the fall of the Berlin Wall and has been a place of creative inspiration ever since. It has two cinema screens, showing independent and arthouse films for adults and children alike. There is also a theatre, performance space, streetfood truck, club, bar and more.



A personal favourite of many of The Circus team, you’ll find the Sputnik cinema in Kreuzberg, tucked away in the back courtyard and on the fifth floor of an old industrial building. The setting – including a bar with a view across the city skyline – is stunning, and the programme lives up to it too. You’ll find a nice mix of independent films and also mainstream movies. They also have readings, exhibitions and other events too.



Another cinema close to The Circus, the Hackescher Höfe Filmkino is part of the beautiful complex of courtyards that is also home to the Chameleon Theater, restaurants, boutiques and bars. The cinema is on the fourth floor and is known for its mix of films from around the world. Indeed, it was one of the pioneering cinemas when it comes to bringing Bollywood films to Berlin audiences.



The neighbourhood independent cinema for Friedrichshain, Intimes is not only a great choice for those looking for films in the original language – with a nice mix of Hollywood, British mainstream and independent movies on the programme – but it also has a pub where they serve craft beer from their own brewery. What’s not to like?



Just a short walk up the hill from The Circus and into Prenzlauer Berg, the Lichtblick is one of the smallest cinemas in the city. With only 32 seats it offers an intimate and unique film-going experience. On the programme you’ll find a mix of new releases from around the world (often in the original language) as well as late-night showing of classic movies. Casablanca at midnight, anyone?



On Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, just down the street from The Circus, you’ll find one of Berlin’s most famous independent cinemas. Built at the height of the silent movie era and once the premiere film theatre in East Germany, the history of the building is reflected in the programme. You’ll find new releases, silent movie classics (sometimes with live orchestra), festivals throughout the year and special events – for example, they recently had back-to-back screenings of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy… a movie marathon!



As proud sponsors of the Audience Award, we are especially looking forward to the 2024 edition of British Shorts Film Festival. This short film festival that showcases the best in UK filmmaking talent is in its 17th edition and we’ve watched it go from strength to strength over the years. As well as the films there is also an accompanying programme of concerts, workshops and exhibitions throughout the festival, which runs from the 18th to the 24th January.

We are especially excited about the fact that the British Shorts team have reserved five exclusive spots for their film making creative workshop being held on Saturday 20th January, with a special screening set for Monday 22nd to see all the creative films that were made. You can find out more on our events page.



If you are not joining us in Berlin this January, then never fear… there are a number of great film festivals in Berlin taking place throughout the year. February sees the big daddy of them all, the Berlinale, where the stars grace the red carpet and the award winners make the news around the world. We’ll have our own special guide to the festival on our Experience Berlin blog in the coming weeks. 

April and May is time for Alfilm, bringing to Berlin movies from across the Arabic world, while the end of May is time for Xposed – Berlin’s Queer Film Festival. The Jewish Film Festival of Berlin and Brandenburg takes place each June, while in September it is time for Fantasy Filmfest. And this is just scratching the surface – you can find a comprehensive round-up of all the film festivals taking place in Berlin over the course of the year on the city’s official website.