Barbara Wurm studied comparative literature and Slavic studies in Vienna, Moscow, Innsbruck, Munich and Leipzig. From 2020 to 2023, she was a member of the selection committee of the Berlin International Film Festival. She also served on the selection committee of goEast - Festival of Central and Eastern European Film from 2012 to 2023, was a moderator and programmer at DOK Leipzig for nearly 20 years and was on the selection committee of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen for one year. Furthermore, she has developed film programs for international festivals and cinematheques. As a Slavist, she has conducted research on the Eastern European avant-garde and (post-)Soviet cinema at the universities of Vienna, Basel and Berlin, and others. She has also published books on Dziga Vertov and about the history of Russian and Soviet cinema. Her doctoral dissertation was on Soviet Kulturfilm of the 1920s. Her work as a research assistant at the Humboldt University in Berlin, which will be put on hold for the duration of her directorship of the Forum, focuses on Eastern European cultural studies and the theory and history of film. Wurm occasionally writes for newspapers and professional publications.
The board of Arsenal, which has comprised Anna Mallmann (commercial director) and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus (artistic director) since 2022, is pleased to welcome Barbara Wurm as director of the Forum in coordination with the directors of the Berlinale and the German Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).
"With Barbara Wurm, we are enriching Arsenal with a Forum director who not only brings with her diverse festival experience but also understands discourse and mediation as part of a changing curatorial practice thanks to her work as an author and teacher. Her previous focus on Eastern Europe has sharpened her view of cinema as a transnational cultural and political practice that reaches far beyond national borders. Barbara Wurm is as committed to contemporary experimentation as she is to film history – a symbiosis that Arsenal cultivates year-round. After successful years with Cristina Nord, we are delighted to embark on a new era with with Barbara Wurm, one that will include our upcoming move to the silent green Kulturquartier," says the Arsenal board.
“I consider it an opportunity and honour to be heading the Forum, this courageous and historically conscious section of the Berlinale. For me, as one of many cinema-goers, the Forum is a kind of ‘home base’ thanks to the close links to Arsenal in terms of film culture and programming, a place of shared discovery and debate, which also becomes a place for action and possibility in curatorial terms. This is where the past of film meets its present and where cinema opens up to the world. I gladly accept the challenge of running the Forum in such politically, culturally and socially fragile times – with openness and a sense of responsibility,” says Barbara Wurm.