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Erstes Internationales Frauenfilm-Seminar

Film still from ERSTES INTERNATIONALES FRAUENFILM-SEMINAR: Exterior view of Arsenal cinema with display and showcases.
© Marian Stefanowski

Sun 11.06.

  • Director

    Vibeke Løkkeberg

  • Unfinished film / 1973
    109 min. / DCP / Silent

  • Cinema

    Arsenal 1

    zu den Ticketszu dem Kalender
  • With live commentary by Vibeke Løkkeberg, Gesine Strempel, Claudia von Alemann, Helke Sander and others

In 1973, an event took place at the Kino Arsenal that made history: the First International Women’s Film Seminar. In 1997, the Arsenal, along with Blickpilotin e.V., organized the first look back at the event, and a second will follow in November 2023, this time initiated by the group feminist elsewheres.
The Women’s Film Seminar was organized by filmmakers Helke Sander and Claudia von Alemann. It was called a seminar and not a festival due to funding requirements, but it was one of the first events in the world to gather, screen, and discuss films by the women’s movements in Europe and the USA.
The Norwegian filmmaker Vibeke Løkkeberg filmed the event, but the film could never be finished. At some point, the film material resurfaced at the Norwegian National Library. Shortly thereafter the sound could also be located, but has not yet been processed. We will therefore show the images without sound, but with live commentary by some of the participants. A sound version will follow, most likely in November.
An event in cooperation with feminist elsewheres.

Vibeke Løkkebergs unfinished film „Myter og Media” (myths and media) as starting point for the festival feminist elsewheres

In 1973 the “First International Women’s Film Seminar” invited Vibeke Løkkeberg and her film “Abort” (1971) to West Berlin. There she conducted interviews that were supposed to become part of a film she was making about the working conditions of women in media. “Myter og Media” was meant to be a reckoning with the male dominated industry but was never finished due to insufficient funding. The existing film roles were found in 2021 in the National Library of Norway, Oslo, nearly 50 years after the actual event and their discovery is exemplary of the gaps and messiness that define feminist film research and cultural work.
Film scholar Ingrid. S. Holtar describes Løkkeberg’s presence at the Women’s Film Seminar in Berlin as a “feminist elsewhere”, a political space that marks a shared practice and history across the physical separation. She understands this space as a conceptual elsewhere that poses general questions to feminist historiography: “If elsewhere history can be understood as approaching the past through the lens of a different place or space outside the place from where the history is usually narrated, there is also at stake a historiographical question of access, removal, and recovery.” (1)
feminist elsewheres wants to open the plurality of the term as a resistant and utopian space of encounter and agency today. The commented screening of the material at Archival Assembly #2 emphasizes on the one hand the historical layers of feminist activisms and on the other it serves as a reminder of the precarious conditions of film production at that time and today. The film remains unfinished and is as much a historical document as an inspiration. It poses questions about archiving marginalized film work, about the necessity of transnational and transgenerational exchange, and the passing on of fragmented knowledge.
The festival feminist elsewheres uses the elsewhere of feminist film history to reexamine two events that took place at Arsenal, Berlin: the 1973 “First International Women’s Film Seminar” which marks a pivotal moment in the West German feminist film movement as well as its 1997 revisitation titled “... the point is to change it. Films, Festivals, Feminism” to which various European feminist film festivals were invited.

feminist elsewheres is put together by Arisa Purkpong, Sophie Holzberger, Charlotte Eitelbach, Fiona Berg and Elena Baumeister. The festival will take place at Arsenal Cinema from November 7 until 12, 2023.

(1) Holtar, Ingrid S.: „Out of the margins of feminist filmmaking: Vibeke Løkkeberg, Norway, and the film culture of 1970s West Berlin“, S. 90. In: Nordic Film Cultures and Cinemas of Elsewhere (2022).

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur