Travelling Cinema in Europe

Travelling Cinema in Europe

Cinémathèque Municipale de Luxembourg Universität Trier KINtop
Luxembourg / Trier
Vom - Bis
06.09.2007 - 08.09.2007
Brigitte Braun

International Conference

Travelling Cinema in Europe

Luxembourg, 6 – 8 September 2007

An Event of Luxembourg and Greater Region European Capital of Culture,
Hosted by Cinémathèque Municipale de Luxembourg and Trier University,
Curated by Martin Loiperdinger in cooperation with KINtop

Before and during the emergence of permanent film venues, a variety of travelling enterprises offered film shows in different places of public entertainment all over Europe. The big ‘Picture Palaces’ of renowned showman families were among the main attractions of fairground amusement before the First World War. Smaller companies performed their film shows in town-halls, music-halls, hotels and cafes, or gave even benefit shows in hospitals and asylums. Film trade was a free international business from the beginning, and, thanks to the well-established European railway system, bridging wide distances and crossing borders was not a problem for travelling cinemas at all. Travelling cinemas formed an important branch of European entertainment business between 1896 and the Great War, and thus prepared the ground for the success story of cinema as the new mass medium of the century.

In contrast to its formative potential and importance before the First World War, travelling cinema still is one of the dark areas in media history. Usually, nothing more seems to be left than letters to city administrations, a few programme sheets, sometimes adverts and reports in the local press. Only recently has research on travelling cinema made an enormous step forward, in Britain, through the restoration and exploration of the Mitchell & Kenyon collection by the British Film Institute and the National Fairground Archive. It became clear that travelling cinemas played an important part in communicating the local, besides attracting audiences with fantastic films and views from abroad. Local films and other local and regional extras of the show (as lecturing in local vernacular etc.) have been crucial for box-office results.

Encouraged by this splendid research done in Britain, we would like to know much more on travelling cinemas and travelling cinema culture in other European countries. Papers may focus on the regional or local aspects and impact of travelling film shows, on long-distance and border-crossing itineraries of ‘Picture Palaces’, on showman families who run travelling enterprises, on film programming, on live performances, on business strategies etc.

The proceedings of the conference will be published, in English, in KINtop Schriften.

Abstracts of 1 – 2 pages should be submitted to:

Deadline: 1 February 2007



Prof. Dr. Martin Loiperdinger
Universität Trier
FB II - Medienwissenschaft
54286 Trier

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