Logo für "Das Filmmanifest. Geschichte, Ästhetik und Medialität einer aktivistischen Form." / Logo for "The Film Manifesto. History, Aesthetics and Mediality of an Activist Form."
Logo: Elias Erkan

The Film Manifesto

History, Aesthetics and Mediality of an Activist Form

Project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Project “The Film Manifesto. History, Aesthetics and Mediality of an Activist Form”

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Principle Investigators: Prof. Dr. Matthias Christen, Prof. Dr. Bernhard Groß (Uni Jena)

Research Collaborators: Adriane Meusch, M.A., Tilman Schumacher, M.A. (Uni Jena)

Runtime: 4/2022–3/2025

Against the current backdrop of an increasing number of mostly political manifestos and their various agendas, the DFG-funded research project tries to systematically assess the history, the generic features as well the uses of film manifestos in particular. The research group has started in April 2022 and consists of film scholars from Bayreuth-University and Friedrich-Schiller-University-Jena.

Coming up at the turn of the 20th century, film manifestos function as seismographic devices concerning situations of crisis, critically stating historical ruptures, transitions and potential futures of the medium. As a means of critical (re-)evaluation, film manifestos serve as a tool that helps to reflect and regulate the complex interconnection of elements that determine what film and cinema mean in specific historical conjunctures. The agendas that film manifestos advocate in their capacity as activist texts, vary greatly. They equally refer to aesthetics, economics, institutional frameworks as well as to the various public spheres that films address and instigate.

The project presents a broad exploration of the subject – based on hundreds, mostly rather short texts which address diverse issues, ranging from film history to film geography to questions of gender and race, finance and politics. The research project encompasses three mutually dependent subprojects in which four film scholars are involved.

The subprojects complement each other in terms of methodological approach, thematic focus and historical reach. Subproject 1 (Tilman Schumacher M.A., FSU Jena) addresses, on an intratextual level, the constitutive elements of film manifestos and draws up a historically broad typology of textual forms and functions. Subproject 2 (Adriane Meusch M.A., Bayreuth-University) delivers an in-depth analysis of feminist film manifestos that originated transnationally in the 1970s and 80s. Subproject 3 will be led by the two principal investigators and link-up the academic institutions involved (Bayreuth/Jena). It provides an overarching frame of reference for the subprojects 1 and 2, in that it undertakes the collaborative endeavor to (re-)write the history of film manifestos as a media-history of film.

In the future, this section will provide information on publications resulting from the project.

Upcoming Workshops and Conference Talks
  • 19 & 20 September 2023: Workshop at Bayreuth University on film manifestos, geography, geopolitics and economy. Please register by sending an e-mail to: matthias.christen@uni-bayreuth.de.
Past Workshops and Conference Talks
  • 13 & 14 February 2023: Workshop at FSU Jena on film manifestos and technical changes and innovations in film history.
  • 01 September 2022: Tilman Schumacher: “Filmmanifeste – Eine Typologie filmaktivistischer Texte im globalen Kontext”, The EAM Conference – European Network for Avantgarde and Modernism Studies, 01.-03.09.2022 Lisbon.
  • 05 July 2022: Bernhard Groß: “Der Geifer des Autors. Filmende Schriftsteller, Lettristen und ihre Manifeste”, cinepoetics-Lectures, Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin.
  • 26 June 2019: Matthias Christen: “Film als Manifest? Jean-Luc Godards Le livre d’image/Bildbuch (F 2018)” (Vortrag Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena)