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Dates: 19-21 September 2022
Location: Potsdam, Germany
Organizers: Dr. Lea Wohl von Haselberg (Film University Babelsberg), Dr. Claudia Sandberg (University of Melbourne), Lucy Pizaña (Film University Babelsberg)
Submission Deadline: 1 May 2022
Jewish culture and history exist in continuous movements, temporary locations, and frequent transits. Multilingualism is as much part of it as the experience of migration. While Jews emigrated from Spain and Portugal to Central and South Americas early as the fifteenth century escaping the Spanish Inquisition, mass emigration waves occurred some three hundred years later. In the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century exposed to anti-Semitic pogroms, suffering poverty and starvation, Jewish communities formerly situated in Central Europe decided to look for new opportunities in the South. Undeniably the biggest threat to European Jewry was National Socialism. Persecuted by the Nazi regime, they arrived in Latin American countries in great numbers from the 1920s onwards. Well educated, creative, politically outspoken, impoverished, and traumatized, the newly arrived immigrants became an important part of local cultures and communities. These dynamics were disrupted yet again in the wake of dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s in Latin America: Alongside others who had to flee political and cultural repression, many Jewish intellectuals and artists returned to Europe.
Oscillating around the numerous stops between the two continents, film is an important medium that gives expression to Jewish life, memories and experiences of migration, trauma, resistance, and resilience. In Argentina or Mexico, artists whose parents sought refuge from the calamities of the Holocaust redrew their family’s movements inspired by objects, photos, stories, or songs. Utilizing experimental, narrative and documentary formats, Jewish filmmakers investigate the legacy of Nazism and link traumas of the Holocaust and of repressive regimes across space and time. Filmmakers for who Jewishness involves making real and imaginary connections between Europe and Latin America include Narcisa Hirsch, Daniel Burman, Ariel and Rodrigo Dorfman, Alejandro Springall, and Guita Schyfter. Directors such as Peter Lilienthal, Jeanine Meerapfel or Alejandro Jodorowsky, who were born or grew up in Uruguay, Argentina, or Chile, have become mediators of a transnational film culture in Europe.
Within a growing body of projects and publications that conceptualizes Jewish Latin American cinema, our project zooms in on Jewish filmmaking that bridges Latin America with Europe – an important direction that has not been given much scholarly consideration yet. Our workshop, to take place in September 2022, aims to map Jewish film as transcultural and cross-continental mediator. We want to know about their representatives, trace their journeys and intercontinental stops; the way history and experiences shaped their themes and aesthetics and their status in national cinemas. We consider thematic and formal connections across different films and want to learn about collaborative projects. We are also curious to know of cultural production of second and third generations. Where do Jewish filmmakers exhibit their work and what are their funding sources? Who are the audiences and what is the local, national, and transnational reception of their work?
Scholars from all areas of cinema, media and Jewish studies are invited to submit proposals. These may include but are not limited to the following topics:
- Experiences of escape, exile, remigration in features, documentaries, and other genre
- Production companies, cultural institutions, and other sites of a Jewish European Latin American cinema
- Exhibition platforms, festivals and retrospectives, audience reception
- Consideration in national film histories and canonizations
- Papers on individual filmmakers such as Peter Lilienthal, Jeanine Meerapfel, Narcisa Hirsch, Daniel Burman, Ariel and Rodrigo Dorfman, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Alejandro Springall, or Guita Schyfter.
Individuals wishing to submit a proposal are required to provide their name, email address, the title of the paper, an abstract (max. 300 words), and a scholarly bio (max. 100 words).
Individual presentations should last a maximum of 20 minutes. Successful proposals will be notified by 1 June 2022.
English will be the official language of the workshop.
We look forward to receiving your contributions.