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Jon Vickers
Indiana University Cinema

Last modified: Wednesday, October 5, 2011

German filmmaker Monika Treut to spend two months teaching, curating films at IU Bloomington

Oct. 6, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Acclaimed German filmmaker Monika Treut is in residency at Indiana University Bloomington through the end of October, where she's teaching an interdisciplinary graduate seminar with Assistant Professor Brigitta Wagner.

Monika Treut

Monika Treut as a woman, left, and as a man, right

Print-Quality Photo

While at IU Bloomington, Treut will attend numerous classes across campus; present one of the IU Cinema's Jorgensen Lectures (Oct. 21); show a retrospective of her work (Oct. 22 to 24); and, with Wagner and her students, curate an evening of rare shorts from the historical film collection of the Kinsey Institute for Research on Sex, Gender and Reproduction (Oct. 25).

The Kinsey collection documents the erotic film fantasies of cultures from about a century ago.

"These films reveal a wealth of information about cultural mores, amateur filmmaking practice and the politics and aesthetics of voyeurism throughout film history," said Wagner, an assistant professor in the Department of Germanic Studies and adjunct assistant professor of film studies in the Department of Communications and Culture at IU Bloomington. "Our task as a group in the next weeks will be to put together a diverse program of shorts that will open the Kinsey's archival holdings -- and the possibilities for research on these films -- to a broader public."

The residency came about through a collaboration between the Department of Germanic Studies, the Kinsey Institute and the IU Cinema. It was made possible through the support of the New York-based Max Kade Foundation, an organization that supports the academic study of German culture in the United States.

"The Max Kade professorship in Germanic Studies is such a special opportunity to bring transatlantic dialogue with the German-speaking world to Bloomington," said Wagner, who serves as director of IU's DEFA project. "Treut's much-respected, fearless work on gender and feminism, as well as her commitment to independent filmmaking, are ideal for collaboration with the Kinsey Institute and Indiana University's vibrant new film culture."

Treut's documentary and fiction films have been shown at prominent festivals around the world in Berlin, Toronto, Cannes, Thessaloniki and Hong Kong, among other places. She runs an independent production company, Hyena Films, in Hamburg, Germany.

Wrote Sight and Sound magazine: "Treut's transgressive brand of filmmaking is a much needed intervention in the arena of sexual politics. Her misbehaving women are a vital form of resistance."

Treut's retrospective includes the films My Father Is Coming, Gendernauts, Seduction: A Cruel Woman, the award-winning Warrior of Light, Virgin Machine, Jump Cut: A Travel Diary and Tigerwomen Grow Wings. It is supported at IU Bloomington by the Department of Communication and Culture, the East Asian Studies Center, the Department of Gender Studies, the Department of Germanic Studies, the Institute of German Studies, the IU Cinema, the Kinsey Institute, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Office of LGBT Support Services, as well as the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany (Chicago).

The screenings will showcase a range of Treut's documentary and fiction work in Germany, the U.S., Brazil and Taiwan, and production students across the Bloomington campus will have the opportunity to attend a workshop with the filmmaker.

"Monika is a filmmaker whose curiosity about the world seems to increase rather than wane the longer she makes films," Wagner said. "She's truly engaged in the world, in politics, in educating spectators about a variety of lifestyles, social struggles and gender dynamics and diversity."