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Last modified: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

IU symposium and film festival to host filmmakers and cultural politicians from the former GDR

April 20, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington will host an international symposium and film festival, "Making History ReVisible: East German Cinema after Unification," this Thursday through Sunday (April 22-25).

Summer in Berlin

"Summer in Berlin"

Print-Quality Photo

The event is the grand finale of a four-month teaching, outreach and research initiative -- Indiana University DEFA Project: Remembering 1989-90 through East German Films of the Transition -- which began in January.

Faculty, university students of all levels and high school students from across the state have been rediscovering the last films of the East German DEFA Film Studios (1946-1992) made in the tumultuous period of political, social and cultural upheavel surrounding the end of the Cold War.

IU students have run the WENDE FLICKS series, a traveling retrospective from the DEFA Film Library, throughout the semester and have steadily drawn audiences between 100 to 200 people for these films that were largely neglected by East and West German audiences at the time of their release.

The screenings have led to dialogues of great curiosity and openness over the films of Ulrich Weiss, Dieter Schumann, Helke Misselwitz, Peter Welz, Heiner Carow and others, according to IU DEFA project director Brigitta Wagner.

This weekend's symposium and film festival will feature panels and films that chart the development of an East German cinema after the fall of the Berlin Wall and also ask larger questions about the integration of the past into the archives of the future -- through cultural politics, education, the academy and current film industrial practice.

The five film screenings will be free. Advance tickets are suggested and can be obtained by sending an e-mail to All films will have English subtitles.

You Are Not Alone

"You Are Not Alone"

Print-Quality Photo

Participants will include prolific screenwriter Wolfgang Kohlhaase, the recipient of the Berlin Film Festival's 2010 Honorary Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement, fimmaker Peter Kahane, and the production duo of Katrin Schloesser and Frank Loeprich of the critically successful Oe-Filmproduktion. Also participating will be cultural politicians Thomas Krueger, president of the Bundeszentrale fuer politische Bildung; Helmut Morsbach, managing director of the DEFA Foundation; film journalist Knut Elstermann of RadioEins, and a several top U.S. scholars of German cinema.

The week of special events began with the visit of young American filmmaker, video artist and Harvard professor Amie Siegel, who screened her film DDR/DDR in Bloomington before taking the film to the Museum of Modern Art in New York the following day.

Three German films will have their Indiana premiere: Sommer vorm Balkon (Summer in Berlin, 2005), Whisky mit Wodka (Whiskey with Vodka, 2009) and Du bist nicht allein (You Are Not Alone, 2007), which also will have its U.S. premiere in Bloomington.

Audiences also will have the chance to see Peter Kahane's Die Architekten (The Architects, 1990) and the GDR cult film Solo Sunny (1980).

Events begin with a reception Thursday (April 22), 6 to 8 p.m., at the Faculty Club at the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. All film screenings will take place in the School of Fine Arts building, 1201 E. Seventh St. A complete schedule can be found online at

Sponsors and partners include the DEFA Foundation (Berlin), Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany, DAAD, German Academic Exchange Service, FilmLand Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, German Films, DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts.

IU sponsors include New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities: New Perspectives, West European Studies, College Arts and Humanities Institute, Office of the Vice President of International Affairs, IU Libraries, Germanic Studies, Institute of German Studies, Cultural Studies, Communication and Culture, International Studies, Gender Studies, Russian and East European Institute and the Office of Service-Learning. Community partners include the Buskirk-Chumley Theater; FARM Restaurant; Ryder Magazine and Finch's Brasserie.