33rd International Film History Conference

20 – 22 November 2020

When it comes to football, the Netherlands and Germany are seen to be old rivals, but in terms of film studies, the neighbors have seldom been seen together. This juxtaposition offers us the opportunity to look into the connections between them in film history, including production, people involved and how films were received. As always, this comparative balance between clichés and reality, is an important part of the XVII. cinefest – International Festival of German Film Heritage.
Due to the popularity of German films in the Netherlands as early as the 1910s, many copies of early German cinema have survived in Collections such as that of distributor Jean Desmet, preserved by the EYE Film Museum. Through film collections like Huis Doorn, we have a more detailed picture of the exile of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Also important were the close connections between avant-garde and documentary filmmakers in Berlin and Amsterdam (Joris Ivens, Hans Richter, Walther Ruttmann) around 1930.
In the 1920s and 30s, many Dutch filmmakers worked in German studios or produced German-Dutch co-productions. Popular German Stars such as Adele Sandrock, Lil Dagover and Ilse Werner had roots in the Netherlands and its colonies. Dutch celebrities romped around in the studios in Berlin and Babelsberg (Truus van Aalten, Johannes Heesters, Lien Deyers, Frits van Dongen). For some filmmakers, Amsterdam was a first stop in their exile from Germany, e.g. for Richard Oswald with BLEEKE BET, Hermann Kosterlitz/Henry Koster with DE KRIBBEBIJTER and Detlef Sierck/Douglas Sirk with BOEFJE. A majority of the films were made in Cinetone Studios (which became the Ufa film studios in Amsterdam during the Second World War). Director Ludwig Berger made one of the best Dutch films with ERGENS IN NEDERLAND – completed one month before the German invasion in 1940 and survived the German occupation in Amsterdam. German producer Rudi Meyer was also a key figure in Dutch film production between the 1930s and 60s.
Similarities in the relationship of Dutch and Czechoslovak film production under German occupation will also be looked into at the festival. One example of this happened during World War II, when Disney fans Hitler and Goebbels wanted to have their own German cartoon production and used production studios and staff in Prague and Amsterdam to produce German cartoons.
After the war, life in the Netherlands under German occupation was the subject of numerous feature films, although both the method of depiction and perspective changed over the years.
In the 1960’s, many of the people who created and influenced New German Cinema were Dutch, including producers Rob Houwer and Laurens Straub, and cinematographers Robby Müller and Gérard Vandenberg. Actors like Renée Soutendijk and Chiem van Houweninge became stars in West German film and television. Dutch documentary filmmakers such as Joris Ivens and Joop Huisken and actress Cox Habbema also worked in the GDR.

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The 33rd 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 online on November 19, 2020. During the event, the winners of the Willy Haas-Award will be presented. The lectures of the conference take place online from 20 – 22 November 2020, from 9:30 – 16:00. To attend the conference a registration is necessary.

Presentations are limited to ca. 20 minutes, followed by a discussion. Conference languages are German or English (no live translation available).
Due to the restrictions imposed by coronavirus containment measures, the conference will take place online this year.

Following the conference, presentations will be published in a book published by text+kritik in Fall 2021.

Concept: Hans-Michael Bock, Swenja Schiemann, Erika Wottrich
Advisors: Petra Rauschenbach, Ivo Blom, Rommy Albers, Jörg Schöning
Organization: Erika Wottrich, Swenja Schiemann
Coordination Bundesarchiv: Daniela Tamm
Technical support George Riley