November 2013, living archive

Public Screening: The First International Women's Cinema Conference


Exactly 40 years ago, in November 1973, the first international women's film conference took place at the old Arsenal in Welserstraße and the primary school opposite. It was organized by Filmmakers Claudia von Alemann and Helke Sander, who presented 45 films from seven countries - this was tantamount to a pioneering achievement. They invited 250 participants who were active in women's groups. On top of that, women who worked in the media came and thanks to the conference/festival they were able to build up a network for the first time. The same was true for the filmmakers. Most screenings were premieres and thus the event can also be considered to be the first women’s film festival in the world, with films made by and about women. There had never been a women's film festival of this size before. However, in the forefront was the establishment of a public discourse. In this sense, the event was like a model and in the following years it was emulated and extended in many cities, for example in Frankfurt and Munich (by Angela Haardt). The issues examined were "Women in the labor struggle, women in the depiction of the media, women and Paragraph 218, sexuality, role behavior, the women's movement in Europe and the US." Films of all lengths and genres that picked up on these themes critically were invited. In 1993, Arsenal, the "Blickpilotin" association and the "Übung am Phantom" group revisited the event after 20 years. Angela Melitopoulos also examined it in her "Möglich-keitsraum" events at the HKW and Arsenal. Now, four decades have passed. We invite you to join us on Sunday November 10 to re-watch the 28 largely short films that have been in Arsenal's collection since 1973. Claudia von Alemann and Helke Sander and Angela Melitopoulos and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus will guide audiences through the day's program and discuss it with members of the public and some of the participants of the November 1973 event.

The brochure that was published at the time "Zur Situation der Frau" contained valuable film and literature tips and presented a work and learning program.

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