Documenting Socialism: East German Perspectives on Documentary Film
For a panel series at the 2019 GSA conference in Portland, we invite papers that address the relative lack of systematic, transdisciplinary English-language scholarship on East German documentary film. We are interested in contributions focusing on (a) mainstream centres of production such as the DEFA-Studio für Wochenschau und Dokumentarfilme and the DEFA-Studio für populärwissenschaftliche Filme, and relationship of these institutions to both smaller studios (e.g. Studio H&S, DEWAG and AGRA), as well as in documentary cinema produced outside the DEFA studio system (“Amateurfilm”) by Betriebsfilmstudios, by Pionier- und Jugendfilmstudios, and clubs for individuals interested in home film production; (b) historical perspectives on the treatment of key topics in East German documentary film production; (c) the work of individual filmmakers fromthe GDR including those female directors (e.g. Petra Tschörtner and Helke Misselwitz) for whom documentary offered greater possibilities for self-expression than conventional feature films; and (d) papers exploring how documentary production in the GDR both shaped and was shaped by developments in the transnational sphere.