Skip to content

The Development of Camera Technology and Film Art in German Cinematography

35th International Film History Conference

17/18 – 19 /20 November 2022

Announcement and Call for Papers

The camera is both a technical device and an artistic centerpiece of film production. Driven by the dream of capturing moving images that could be viewed again in the future, the technical development of the film camera and all associated technologies (such as film stock, lighting, and digitalization) is a process which started with the first moving images and is still developing today.
Technical innovations enable and inspire new aesthetic developments, and vice-versa. Accompanying this, political developments such as the First and Second World War have also strongly influenced and inspired changes in filming techniques.
German cinematography has long been highly regarded and has influenced filmmakers worldwide, with established German filmmakers traveling abroad and helping to professionalize film production and young filmmakers from other countries perfecting their skills in German studios.
One intertwined aspect is the fate of immigrants and exiles and their influence on their respective countries of exile: for example, Karl Freund, one of the most influential cinematographers of Weimar cinema (DER LETZTE MANN, VARIETÉ) won two Oscars and his technical inventions and innovations had a strong influence on the development of camera work on television in the 1950s. Heinrich Gärtner, whose camera work in entertainment films in Germany in the 1920s was quite popular, developed an important camera school in Franco-Spain as Enrique Guerner – despite intervention from Nazi Germany. Eugen Schüfftan innovated widely used camera techniques in the 1920s and photographed, while in exile in France, some masterpieces of “poetic realism”, but had problems finding work in the USA, because as an exile the cinematographer’s union ASC denied him membership. Otto Heller from Prague worked with Karel Lamač, among others, in Germany in the 1930s, before he went into exile in England in 1939.
Further development of the camera as an artistic tool has been driven in the late 20th and 21st century by the creative minds and technical experimentation of e.g. Guido Seeber, Bruno Mondi (Agfacolor), Michael Ballhaus, Gisela Tuchtenhagen, Roland Dressel, Judith Kaufmann and many others.

cinefest and the 2022 CineGraph Film Conference will explore the wide range of connections and interactions between technology, aesthetics, and politics in the panorama of the 20th and 21st century.

Possible topics at the conference:

  • developments in studio cameras, hand-held cameras, digital
  • Effects of camera techniques on team composition
  • Introduction to sound film: technical and aesthetic effects
  • Camera aesthetics (lighting, zoom↔camera movement, b/w↔color, Nouvelle Vague)
  • Documentary: camera / sound recording / format / video / digital
  • Image formats (CinemaScope etc.): artistic and work-related problems and benefits
  • the cameras effect on work relations – director – scenography – production
  • changes from cinematographer →director / →producer
  • Working in the studio, exterior shots, original locations
  • Apprenticeship / studies, social position
  • Careers of individual cameramen and women
  • Influence of immigrant cameramen on film noir etc.
  • Self-image of cameramen and women, interactivity with other arts, position in the team

Any further suggestions are welcome.

Presentations are limited to ca. 20 minutes, followed by a discussion. Conference languages are German or English (no live translation available). Presenters will receive a free accreditation to the conference, which also entitles them to attend festival film screenings from 17-21 November 2022, as well as the festival catalogue.
As always, we will do our best to support presenters from out of town with a travel fund.
You are welcome to send suggestions for presentations in the form of an abstract (about 1500 characters) and a short biography to Deadline is the 1st of June 2022.

In preparation for both the conference and festival, an internal viewing colloquium will take place in Berlin from May 12-15, 2022 (daily 9:30 am – approx. 6:00 pm, Sunday until approx. 5:00 pm) at the Zeughauskino of the German Historical Museum (May 12, 14, 15) and at the Bundesarchiv (May 13).
A detailed program will be available in middle/end of April and a copy can be sent upon request (
If you are interested in participating, please write to
A participation fee of 20 Euros will be charged to help cover associated expenses.

Concept: Hans-Michael Bock, Swenja Schiemann, Erika Wottrich
Consulting: Petra Rauschenbach, Axel Block, Jan Distelmeyer, Malte Hagener, Martin Jehle, Thomas Brandlmeier, Robert Fischer, Michael Neubauer
Organization: Erika Wottrich, Swenja Schiemann
Coordination Bundesarchiv: Daniela Tamm
Technical support: George Riley

Go West!
Eastern European Filmmakers in Western Europe

34th International Film History Conference

19 – 21 November 2021
Metropolis Cinema and online

Frühlingsstimmen (AT 1933, Paul Fejos) - Source: Deutsche Kinemathek

The 34th International Film History Conference is an integral part of cinefest, where the topics of the festival will be explored in presentations and discussions. The Conference Opening will take place on November 18, 2021 in the Metropolis Cinema. During the event, the winners of the Willy Haas-Award will be presented. The congress lectures will take place from 19-21 November 2021, from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. each day, also at the Metropolis Cinema, as well as online as a live stream.
Prior accreditation is required for participation.
At 5pm starts the film program at Metropolis cinema.

At cinefest the “2G” rules apply! This means that only vaccinated (Geimpfte) and recovered (Genesene) people are allowed to attend.
Please bring proof of full Corona vaccination or recovery along with your ID/passport when attending the congress on-site.

In recent decades, the fate of Eastern and Central European, Jewish filmmakers who, while working in the German speaking film industry were driven into exile by the Nazi’s racism, has been relatively well researched – not in the least through CineGraph and cinefest. But in addition there are countless filmmakers of all trades from Eastern and Central Europe who worked in Western Europe in the 20th century; whose careers have been far less researched. They migrated not only in reaction to political upheavals (from the “October Revolution” up to the end of the Prague Spring), but also to improve their professional opportunities. Their careers and experiences in the west spanned a diverse spectrum of both success and failure.
One example, Latvian actress Marija Leiko travelled from Riga (then Russian Empire) to Germany, where she became a star in silent film. As sound films became the market standard, her film career ended and she returned to Riga. During the Stalinist terror, she was shot by the NKVD in 1938 (rehabilitated in 1957). Her partner Janis Guters (Johannes Guter), with whom she had come to Berlin, in 1917, directed numerous films in Weimar cinema. He remained in Nazi Germany and ended his film career with a series of “Tran und Helle” propaganda shorts. He died in the GDR in 1962.
After the founding of the Soviet Union, numerous Polish and Ukrainian filmmakers (from the Russian Tsarist Empire) were faced with the choice of either continuing to work under the strong influence of Moscow or go West.
After 1917, Russian set designer and film architect Andrej Andrejev decorated numerous important films in Berlin (THE 3 PENNY OPERA), London, and Paris. After having worked closely with the German occupation company Continental (LE CORBEAU) during World War II, he no longer received commissions in France and went to England (THE MAN BETWEEN) and the Federal Republic of Germany (MADELEINE UND DER LEGIONÄR).
The careers of Czechoslovak filmmakers – e.g. director Karel Anton, producer Miloš Havel, writer & director František Čáp, director Stanislav Barabas or cinematographer Igor Luther – can be used to analyze the film situation under different political conditions between the German Reich, Czechoslovakia, the “Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia” and the Federal Republic of Germany.
The DEFA Stiftung is restoring the oeuvre of Slatan Dudov, including about 10 films, which – just like his career in the Weimar Republic, in France, and in the GDR – will be a focus at cinefest.
At cinefestand the conference we are researching numerous “fractured” careers of filmmakers from Eastern and Central Europe to Western Europe and will present an interesting in-depth cross-section of such largely forgotten filmmakers.


The live stream of the lectures online will take place simultaneously at the times indicated in the program

Keine Veranstaltung gefunden

Concept: Hans-Michael Bock, Swenja Schiemann, Erika Wottrich
Consulting: Petra Rauschenbach, Ralf Schenk, Milan Klepikov, Tereza Czesany Dvořáková, Reká Gulyas
Organization: Erika Wottrich, Swenja Schiemann
Coordination Bundesarchiv: Daniela Tamm
Technical support: George Riley        

error: Content is protected !!