A Film Education Project on the Work and Collection of Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Rainer Werner Fassbinder made more than 40 films in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. He is considered one of the outstanding representatives of the New German Cinema who died young in 1982 at the age of 37. The director’s extensive legacy of written material, which passed into the care of the DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum in 2018, is a treasure of recent German film history that needs to be explored from many perspectives. The contributors to the DFF project “Encounter RWF / Discover RWF” are dedicated to this task at the DFF Fassbinder Center, located at the DFF Archive and Study Center in Frankfurt.
The project “Encounter RWF / RWF entdecken” aims at exploring mediation formats that are suitable to make Fassbinder’s films relatable to young people today. Six film education teams consisting of film educators and artists in five European cities (Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Vienna, Paris, and Zurich) work together with schoolchildren, youth groups, and students to explore Fassbinder’s work in the context of relevant social issues. For this purpose, different film formats are being developed that provide innovative, artistic approaches to the Fassbinder collection and its auratic objects.
All six groups will intensively study the diverse collection objects related to Fassbinder’s work during research visits of several days to the archive and study center of the DFF in Frankfurt. The project teams receive extensive research support from the DFF’s Fassbinder experts, Senior Curator Hans-Peter Reichmann and Collection Curator Isabelle Bastian. On the basis of the archive visits, the teams develop their individual mediation formats and projects. A publication, to be released in February 2024, will finally bundle all results of the project and make them accessible in a creative way.
Mediation Projects and Teams
Dr Brigitta Wagner is a German-American film historian and filmmaker. She lives in Berlin, where she teaches at MET Film School and leads film educational projects at Wolf Kino. After studying literature and film at Dartmouth College and being awarded a DAAD scholarship to study film history and theory at the Free University of Berlin, she went on to receive her A.M. and Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Literatures and Film and Visual Studies at Harvard University. From 2008-13, as an assistant professor at Indiana University, she taught film studies with a specialization in German film history. Both in her research and in her artistic practice, Wagner is interested in the relationship between the past and present as well as between place and mediated memory. She is the editor of the anthology DEFA AFTER EAST GERMANY (2014) and the author of the monograph BERLIN REPLAYED: CINEMA AND URBAN NOSTALGIA IN THE POSTWALL ERA (2015). Her feature film ROSEHILL (2015) combines documentary and fictional elements.
Dr Martin Ganguly has been head of the Berlinale’s school project since 2004 and is a university lecturer, author, reviewer, teacher, moderator, consultant, examiner (Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle, i.e. voluntary movie regulation regarding age restrictions) and coach for film pedagogy and in artistic fields at home and abroad for various institutions and publishers. For Matthias-Film he has been screening films at domestic and foreign film festivals and press screenings as a scout, consultant and buyer since 2005. In addition to his teaching degree, the doctor of education and media science also completed studies in directing and acting at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna. Four of his multimedia teaching adaptations received the prestigious European Comenius Medal. From 2013-2020 he was curator/mediator for the Germany-wide project “Seeing Classics – Understanding Films” („Klassiker sehen-Filme verstehen“) of the DFA (German Film Academy) /Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Agency for Civic Education) for the teaching of film history and also works as a freelancer for the DFF and since 2022 for the Wim Wenders Foundation in Berlin/Düsseldorf as well as for several intercultural education projects.
Frankfurt am Main
Barbara Dierksen works as a cultural manager and curator and has developed concepts, exhibitions and film series for the DFF, the Siemens Stiftung, the Goethe Institut München, the Kulturamt Wiesbaden, the HFG Offenbach, among others. She is a film and literature scholar and trained mediator. Since 2014 she has been working at the DFF in the department of film education and mediation, where she develops and implements projects with a focus on film education in the migration society and cultural participation.
Uwe Dierksen studied trombone in Hanover, Hamburg and London, as well as conducting at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Since 1983 he has been a trombonist in the Ensemble Modern (soloist ensemble for contemporary music). Commissioned by ZDF/ Arte and the Murnau Foundation, he writes film music, especially for silent films, as well as theatre music and music for industrial films, including full-length productions such as “Welcome to American Vaudeville” at the Komische Oper Berlin, “MA(I)NHATTA” at the Frankfurt Opera, opera “MINA” at the Frankfurt Opera, premiered at the UFA Film Nights, as well as the most recent composition: music for “Menschen am Sonntag” (“People on Sunday”) by Kurt Siodmak and Billie Wilder; arte broadcast in May 2022, arte mediathek. In the field of music education, he attended several seminars with the English specialists Frazer Trainer and Paul Griffith. For twelve years he has worked intensively at Frankfurt schools and universities in the field of cultural education within the framework of the Altana Kulturstiftung, the Polytechnische Gesellschaft and the Hessian Ministry of Science and Art.
Nathalie Bourgeois, after studying literature, worked on film shoots, also at the Avant-scène cinéma, and then at the Cinémathèque française where she created an educational department. Since its launch in 1995, she has directed an international film education program, “Le Cinéma, cent ans de jeunesse”, in collaboration with Alain Bergala as artistic advisor and numerous cultural partners; She also participates to the pedagogical direction of the “Exploring CCAJ” project for the DFF. Nathalie has contributed to the coordination or writing of books on cinema, in particular the Atelier Cinéma collection for children and teenagers (Cinémathèque française and Actes sud Jr). She’s a speaker for the master of didactics of the image of the University Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3 and a pedagogical adviser on the program of education to the European cinema CinEd.
Michaël Dacheux grew up in Mont-de-Marsan in the Landes region in the 1980s. After studying cinema and working as an assistant on several shoots, he made his first medium-length film in 2008 “Commune présence” which was selected for the FID Marseille. His next film, a medium-length fiction film still produced by bathysphere, returns to his hometown to take the measure of the passing of time. The film won awards in Brive and at the Chéries-Chéris festival. Then, it’s “L’Amour debout”, first feature film, shot during one year, one weekend per month, produced by Perspective Films and supported by the Film en cours Prize of the Belfort festival. The film was presented at the Cannes Film Festival at the ACID, released in January 2019, and was shown in different festivals (Ghent, Porto, New York, Palermo…). Michaël Dacheux is also involved in several actions of education to the cinema, in particular with the Cinema, cent ans de jeunesse, and teaches at Paris 7 and Paris 8.
Alejandro Bachmann is a film worker with a focus on mediating and writing about film as well as compiling film programmes. 2010-2019 Research assistant, later head of the department “Mediation, Research and Publications” at the Austrian Film Museum. Mentor of the Berlinale Talents Short Film Station. Since April 2021 Visiting Professor for Film History and Media Theory at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne.
Alex Gerbaulet lives in Berlin and works as a filmmaker, producer and film facilitator. Her artistic works oscillate between documentary style and essay, activist impulses and fictionalised reflection. Among other things, they examine the representability of reality and memory. Her current films, some of which have won multiple awards, include SCHICHT (2015), DIE SCHLÄFERIN (2018), as well as TIEFENSCHÄRFE (2017) and SONNE UNTER TAGE (2022), both together with Mareike Bernien. She has many years of teaching experience at home and abroad and is repeatedly active as a curator for film festivals such as the Kassel Dokfest, the European Media Art Festival Osnabrück or the Duisburg Film Week. In 2020-21 she was a fellow in the Berlin funding programme Künstlerische Forschung/gkfd. Since 2014 she has been part of the production platform pong film in Berlin, where she took over the management together with Caroline Kirberg in 2022.
Stefan Huber studied German philology in Vienna and Barcelona. From 2002 to 2006 he created the programme “filmfilter” on Orange 94.0, the free radio in Vienna, and since 2001 he has regularly reported on Austrian film festivals on the radio. Since 2012 he is responsible for mediation events at the Austrian Film Museum, where he is employed as a film mediator since 2013 and since 2019 as head of the department. Current focus: Intercultural film education; film education for children aged 3-6. In addition, various activities in juries and as a moderator.
Stefanie Schlüter is a film mediator and researcher living in Zurich and Berlin. Her work focuses on the mediation of experimental and artists’ films as well as curating from the archive. She has worked for many years with the Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, for which she has developed and realised mediation concepts. Since 2016, she has been organising the film series “Großes Kino, Kleines Kino” (Big Cinema, Small Cinema) together with the filmmakers of the “Arsenal Filmatelier” group. As part of the project “Living Archive -Archivarbeit als künstlerische und kuratorische Praxis der Gegenwart” (Living Archive – Archival Work as an Artistic and Curatorial Practice of the Present), she carried out a participatory mediation project in the Arsenal archive in 2011-2013. In 2007-2009 she worked in the independent research project “Art of Mediation – From the Archives of Film Mediation” (www.kunst-der-vermittlung.de). She is currently a research assistant at the Seminar for Film Studies at the University of Zurich.
During the two-year project period, Dr Manuel Zahn will accompany Encounter RWF from a research-reflective perspective and moderate regular exchange formats between the mediation teams.
Dr Manuel Zahn is Professor of Aesthetic Education at the University of Cologne. His fields of work are philosophy of education, film education, art education and aesthetic education in digital and global transformation dynamics, postcolonial theory and aesthetic education. Latest publications: Visual Associations. Image Constellations and Movements of Thought in Art, Philosophy and Science (2018, co-edited), Education in the Age of the Screen. Possibilities and Transformations in Technology (2019, Co-Ed.), Transmissions. On the Politics of Relations (2021, co-ed.) and Microformats. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Current Phenomena in Digital Media Cultures (2021, co-ed.). Further information at: kunst.uni-koeln.de/zahn/
In addition to the teams of the individual mediation projects, further scholars and artists also visit the collection at the DFF Archive and Study Center. In each case, the focus is on a specific research question that is intended to add diverse perspectives to the project and enrich the mediation work.
Fassbinder and Queer Perspectives
Jan Künemund works as a film author and curator in Berlin. In addition to documentary film, queer cinema is a focus of his activities, first practically (press and text work for Edition Salzgeber 2006-15, editor of the magazine “sissy”), then also theoretically (dissertation project and teaching at the Institute for Media, Theatre and Popular Culture at the University of Hildesheim 2015-21). The connection resulted in activities as a film critic (Spiegel.de, Tagesspiegel, Freitag and others), curator (Berlinale Forum since 2019, Duisburger Filmwoche 2019-21) and script editor and writer (“Lichtes Meer”, 2015). Most recently, he co-edited the “sissy” anthology “Queer Cinema Now” (2022), a film series of the same name will take place at Berlin’s Arsenal cinema in July/August, and he has also been a member of the short film selection committee of the Kassel Documentary and Video Festival since 2022.
Looking at Fassbinder and the Collection from the Perspective of the Global South
Jyoti Mistry is a professor of film at the University of Gothenburg and works on film as a form of research and film as a form of artistic practice. In her academic work, she analyses the function and use of archives as an example of rethinking colonial images through decolonised film practices. She is the lead researcher for a BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) research project investigating image practices. For the EYE- Film Museum, Mistry initiated the artistic research project “Places to play. Practice, Research, Pedagogy”, in which film material from colonial times in the archives of the Film Museum was critically examined. Her artistic works have been shown at festivals in Toronto, Winterthur, Rotterdam and Durban and in exhibitions at the Kunsthaus Zürich, the Museum der Moderne Salzburg and the Kunsthalle Wien. She has been artist in residence at the Dutch Film Academy in Amsterdam and at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and was a jury member at the International Short Film Festival of the 68th Berlinale.
Experts at the DFF Archive and Study Center
Hans-Peter Reichmann is curatorial director of the DFF Fassbinder Center and former head of collections at the DFF. He studied German language and literature, film studies and sociology at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. He has been the initiator, project manager and curator of numerous exhibitions as well as the responsible editor of related publications. He conceived and realized, among others, exhibitions on post-war German film, film architecture, film costume as well as on Marlene Dietrich, Curd Jürgens, Maria Schell, Romy Schneider, Sir Ken Adam, Stanley Kubrick, Klaus Kinski and several exhibitions on Rainer Werner Fassbinder, most recently “Methode Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Eine Retrospektive” 2021/22 at the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn.
Isabelle Bastian studied film studies and journalism at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. She has been a staff member of the DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum since 2011. She oversees the collections and co-curated exhibitions on Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Volker Schlöndorff, Charlie Chaplin, Curd Jürgens and Barbara Baum, among others. For the exhibition accompanying publications “Maximilian Schell” (2019) and “Methode Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Eine Retrospektive” (Rainer Werner Fassbinder Method. A Retrospective) (2021) she acted as editor, author and publisher, also for publications on modern cinema and Hollywood cinema.