Situating German Film Stock

An Online Workshop, December 9–11, 2021
Situating German Film Stock  An Online Workshop  December 9-11, 2021

For most of the twentieth century, German film manufacturers were at the heart of the international film stock industry—above all Agfa, which was second only to Eastman Kodak in its share of the world market. Agfa’s dominance in the industry depended not just on scientific and technical prowess, but also on transnational dynamics: the circulation of knowledge, personnel, and material; foreign sales and acquisitions. The geopolitics of these dynamics changed frequently between the end of World War I and the Cold War. They were especially fraught during World War II, which radically reshaped the structure of multinational corporations such as Agfa, and during the inter-allied occupation of Germany, when the formulas for the pioneering Agfacolor film stock became spoils of war, forming the basis for color film stocks worldwide.

This workshop brings together media scholars and archivists to examine the German film stock industry’s twentieth-century history through this transnational lens. Participants will consider the links between Agfa/Orwo and countries such as Britain, China, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Japan, the Soviet Union, and the United States; they will also position these histories within broader geopolitical, economic, and aesthetic frameworks.

The workshop will take place via Zoom on December 9th, 10th, and 11th, 2021. Please register for each event (panel, screening, lecture) individually, using the links below. Upon registration, you will receive a unique Zoom link for each event. Registrants will also be granted access to recordings of events.

Please email Alice Lovejoy ( with any questions.


Still from Mediolanum, director Ubaldo Magnaghi, Italy, 1933)
Photo Credit: Mediolanum, dir. Ubaldo Magnaghi, Italy, 1933)

Thursday, 9 December, 13:00 EDT/19:00 CET

Screening: Mediolanum (dir. Ubaldo Magnaghi, Italy, 1933, 32 min.)*

Presented by Andrea Mariani and Simona Schneider (Università degli studi di Udine, Italy)

Chair: Pansy Duncan (Massey University, New Zealand)

*Mediolanum will also be available for online screening by registered participants between Thursday, 9 December and Saturday, 11 December. A password for the online screening will be shared with registrants by email.



Friday, 10 December, 9:00-11:00 EDT/15:00-17:00 CET

Panel 1: Agfa, Orwo, and the World

Chair: Patrick Vonderau (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany)


Andrea Mariani and Simona Schneider (Università degli studi di Udine, Italy), “Agfa-Milano and the Fate of Small-Gauge Cinema in Fascist Italy”

Zhaoyu Zhu (University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China/King’s College London, UK), “Sino-German Photosensitive Connections”

Josephine Diecke (Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany), “Analyzing and Visualizing Agfa/ORWO’s Foreign Film Stock Inspection through the Case of Fujifilm”

Tereza Frodlová (Národní filmový archiv, Prague, Czech Republic), “Agfacolor: The New Color Film Stock and its Challenges for the Czechoslovak Film Industry in the Postwar Period”

Discussant: Ulrich Rüdel (Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft, Berlin, Germany)



AGFA China
Photo Courtesy of Zhaoyu Zhu

Saturday, 11 December, 9:00-10:45 EDT/15:00-16:45 CET

Panel 2: Film Stock in Occupied Germany

Chair: Ingo Uhlig (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany)


Hanja Dämon (Independent scholar, Vienna, Austria), “The Raw Stock Shortage in the British Zone of Occupied Germany”

Alice Lovejoy (University of Minnesota, US/Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany), “Making Sense of Materials: Film Stock and Reparations in Germany, 1945-1947”

Valérie Pozner (CNRS, Paris, France/Centre d’études Franco-Russe, Moscow, Russia), “The Soviet Capture of Agfacolor Technologies: Between Cooperation and Mistrust (1945-1949)”

Discussant: Kirsty Sinclair Dootson (University of St Andrews, UK)



Saturday, 11 December, 13:00-14:30 EDT/19:00-20:30 CET

“The Industry and Film Museum in Wolfen: The Birthplace of Agfa Color Film”

Lecture by Uwe Holz (Chief Officer of Cultural Affairs, District of Anhalt-Bitterfeld; former curator, Industrie- und Filmmuseum Wolfen, Germany)

Chair: Katie Trumpener (Yale University, New Haven, US)


This workshop is organized by Alice Lovejoy, with the collaboration of Pat Baehler, Dylan Mohr, James Parente, and Klaas van der Sanden of the Institute for Global Studies, University of Minnesota; Patrick Vonderau of the Department of Media, Music and Speech Studies at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg; and the Industrie- und Filmmuseum Wolfen, Germany. The workshop is made possible through the generous support of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), with funding from the German Foreign Ministry and the Center for German and European Studies at the University of Minnesota.

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