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The 1935 International Film Congress, Berlin

 

Between April 25 and May 2, 1935,  the City of Berlin hosted that year's International Film Congress. Over 2,500 delegates from around the world attended, including a General Commission of 66 men representing 22 European countries.

 

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In addition to working sessions and presentations held in both the Reichstag and the Kroll Opera House, delegates could see  exhibitions on German made motion picture industry equipment manufactured by Siemens or AEG, camera lenses by Zeiss, and displays by film studios. Cinemas across greater Berlin were heavily frequented, and delegates had the run of the welcoming, open, proud capital city only a few years after the National Socialist assumption of power. Some 1,800 delegates were bussed out to the Potsdam grounds of the famous Uƒa Babelsberg film studio, where they were given tours after being welcomed by the General Director, Dr. Ludwig Klitsch. Some 300 foreign delegates were given a tour of the brand new Reichsfilmarchiv, which had, in the space of two short months of operation, acquired some 1,500 films in its Collection . The archive was the first one of it's kind in the world.  Delegates were also able to visit the Tobis Johannesthal studio facilities and see the film Stradivari being shot.

UFA-Gelände.jpgThe delegates were given a memento of their Uƒa studio visit, which was a cardboard presentation box with 18  5 x 7 inch photographs of the Uƒa facilities at both Babelsberg and at Berlin Templehof, as well as a photograph of the famous Affifa Laboratory, where most of the 35mm and 16mm film prints distributed in Germany were processed. We have this memento in our Collection, shown on the left.

A "tinny" was also produced to commemorate the Berlin Congress, which we display above right.

The Congress had been established in Paris in 1927, so the Third Reich could not take credit for holding the first such Congress. But this gathering was a very important one for a number of reasons.  

During the week, the Congress had voted for the founding of a number of film organisations meant to further the goals of a pan–European film market. The International Union of Theater Owners was reinvigorated and placed under the auspices of the Head of the German Society of Cinema Owners. The 'Internationale Filmkunst Syndicat' was established to promote production amongst Northern European countries. The 'Internationale filmtechnisches Pressebüro,' or International Film Press Bureau, was established to distribute film materials and images to the media across Europe. In addition to these new German–based organisations, an international commission dealing with film law and music royalties was given to Paris. 

On the final day of the gathering, the Head of the Reichsfilmkammer, Fritz Scheuermann, proposed that an International Film Chamber be established. This was not met with universal acclaim, as some countries were concerned about the fate of existing film bodies and their own film industries. Although the Congress did not vote to establish the IFC, it was proclaimed four months later, on August 22, 1935 after two further meetings of key officials in both Munich and Venice. The IFC was established at this time by twelve European countries: Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, England, Poland, France, Austria, and Sweden.  The 1935 Film Congress, then, had been a major success and paved the way for a new European motion picture industry which could challenge Hollywood whilst protecting European cultural interests, markets,  and talents.

Dr. Joseph Goebbels closed the Congress on May 2nd, and in his speech noted that "International significance is achieved by the art that is nationally bound and völkisch in its origin."

This Collection has a number of contemporary film newspapers and Congress publications which are shown on this page. 

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Finally, we acquired in July 2017 the beautiful original poster designed by renowned film poster graphic artist, Kurt Geffers, on behalf of the Reichsfilmkammer and the Ministry for Propaganda, shown below. It has the radiant sun of national flags also found on the silver Program book of the Congress (third image from the top of the page) and on the front page  of the Licht–Bild–Bühne newspaper (above). An image of this poster may also be found in our Poster Gallery if you Search under Reichsfilmkammer.

 

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Some information about the 1935 Film Congress was found in two reference books: Martin, Benjamin; The Nazi-Fascist New Order for European Culture, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2016. and in Vande Winkel,Roel & Welch, David; Cinema and the Swastika, Palgrave, London 2007. Both volumes are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.