Film Europe: European Cinema between Imagination and Reality in the Fascist Era (1939-1945)

CfP Workshop "Film Europe: European Cinema between Imagination and Reality in the Fascist Era (1939-1945)"

German Historical Institute, Rome
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14.10.2024 - 16.10.2024
Maria Fritsche, Dept. of Modern History and Society, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

We are pleased to announce a workshop hosted by the German Historical Institute in Rome dedicated to exploring the rich and complex landscape of European film production, distribution and exhibition during the period of European Fascism from 1933 to 1945.

Please use this online form to submit your abstract (max 300 words), brief biography and contact details by the submission deadline 12 April 2024:

CfP Workshop "Film Europe: European Cinema between Imagination and Reality in the Fascist Era (1939-1945)"

A perennial problem in the history of cinema, “Film Europe” has remained a constant theme since the 1920s, both in practical, economic and political terms, and as a response to the cultural challenges of what “European cinema” is or should be. A decisive moment in the history of “Film Europe” as an idea and organizational effort was the establishment of the International Film Chamber (Internationale Filmkammer, IFK). Launched in 1935 to bolster a European film bloc to combat the international dominance of American films, the IFK resurfaced in 1941 under German and Italian control and swiftly became a tool for the expansion of these national industries. Membership included representatives of the film and commercial branches of various European and international countries. The IFK warrants further examination given that it served as a consultative body for European film industries and led discussions on production, exhibition, and distribution. Questions around the circulation of Nazi cinema are likewise intricately linked to the IFK: given the growing dominance of the German film industry and market at this time, IFK negotiations often revolved around the dissemination of German productions and questions of film import into the Reich. Our findings will therefore also provide the foundations for a large-scale future research project entitled “Nazi Film in Transit”.

We invite scholars from around the world to reevaluate the history and legacy of the IFK, its vision of “Film Europe” and its significance for the export and import of Nazi cinema. Our goal is to provide a platform for scholars to share research to develop our understanding of this period in European film history, as well as its significance for the pre- and post-war film industries and their socio-political contexts. We welcome comparative research into the activities and aspirations of various member states of the IFK, as well as into the international networks of film production and distribution that it facilitated. Our focus encompasses the national cinemas and film industries of the following countries in the 1930s and 40s: Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Yugoslavia; as well as the political, economic, or cultural histories of Film Europe in a broader perspective.

Focusing on the period 1933-45, submission topics might include (but are not limited to):
Transnational collaborations and exchanges within the European film industry
Censorship, regulation, and state intervention
Experiences of filmmakers, actors, and technicians
Film distribution and exhibition networks
Propaganda and ideology in European cinema
National cinemas and transnational influences
Technological innovations and production constraints
Star and celebrity culture

We plan to publish a selection of papers in a special issue of a leading academic journal or edited volume.

Kasten, J., Lang, F. & Stiasny, P. (eds) (2021), Ufa international. Ein deutscher Filmkonzern mit globalen Ambitionen. Edition Text+Kritik.
Maltby, R. & Higson, A. (eds) (1999), Film Europe and Film America : cinema, commerce and cultural exchange,1920-1939 (1999). University of Exeter Press.
Martin, B.G. (2011 rev.), ‘European Cinema for Europe!’ The International Film Chamber, 1935–42. In: Vande Winkel, R.., Welch, D. (eds), Cinema and the Swastika. Palgrave Macmillan.
Martin, B.G (2016), The Nazi-Fascist New Order for European Culture (2016). Harvard University Press.
Skopal, P. & Vande Winkel, R. (eds) (2021). Film Professionals in Nazi-Occupied Europe. Mediation Between the National-Socialist Cultural “New Order” and Local Structures, Springer.
Vande Winkel, R. & Welch, D. (eds) (2011 rev.). Cinema and the Swastika : the international expansion of Third Reich cinema, Palgrave Macmillan.

The workshop will be hosted by the German Historical Institute in Rome.
Registration is free and includes lunches, refreshments and a closing dinner. A research trip to the Cinecittà studios–visited by members of the International Film Chamber during their meeting in Rome in 1942–is also planned. Participants must cover their own costs of travel and accommodation; rooms at a nearby hotel will be available for a reduced price of 135 EUR per night (double-rooms only). We aim to offer a contribution toward travel and accommodation costs of scholars with limited or no institutional funding.

Organizing committee
Emily Dreyfus (Film University Babelsberg, Germany)
Maria Fritsche (NTNU, Norway)
Benjamin Martin (Uppsala University, Sweden)
Fabian Schmidt (Film University Babelsberg, Germany)
Roel Vande Winkel (KU Leuven - LUCA School of Arts, Belgium)

This conference is sponsored and co-hosted by
The German Historical Institute in Rome
NOS-HS Workshop Series “Cinema, War and Citizenship at the Periphery. Cinemas and their audiences in the Nordic countries, 1935-1950”
The Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam (ZZF)

Please use this online form to submit your abstract (max 300 words), brief biography and contact details by the submission deadline 12 April 2024:
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