Long the home of a dynamic film industry, the area around Munich, in the German state of Bavaria (Bayern) has provided directors of international stature, from Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock to Ingmar Bergman and Stanley Kubrick, with first class film production facilities. Today the FilmFernsehFonds Bayern plays a central role in the development and support of state-funded contemporary German film production. In 1999 The FilmFernsehFonds Bayern donated its film collection to the HFA. This is the most complete survey of contemporary German film residing in the United States today.
This collection of 232 films and videos, produced between 1975 and 2007, was brought to Harvard by Professor Eric Rentschler and includes films by some of the most influential directors working in Germany today, such as Fatih Akin, Michael Verhoeven, Hans-Christian Schmid, Volker Schlöndorff and Doris Dorrie. In addition to the films themselves, the collection includes publicity material and an extensive library of books and magazines.
At the heart of the magazine collection are two voluminous, nearly complete runs of the trade magazines Filmdienst (1980-2002) and filmecho filmwoche (1950-1999). Other magazines include the industry publication Der Gilden-Dienst, scholarly/critical magazines such as Filmkritik, Film Wissenschaftliche Mitteilungen/Beiträge, and F/Filmjournal, and the special interest publications Evangelischer Film-Beobachter and EpdFilm: Zeitschrift des Evangelischen Pressedienstes.
The films in the collection provide a cross section of the cultural currents that have been shaping the new Germany in the past three decades, including The Nasty Girl, (Verhoeven, 1990), Oi! Warning (Reding and Reding, 1999) and Distant Lights, (Schmid, 2003). The larger part of the collection consists of films that were produced after the fall of the Berlin Wall; these titles provide a unique perspective on the concerns of a reunited Germany. Students and researchers interested in German film criticism and the development and funding of contemporary German or European cinema will find these resources to be invaluable. Approximately one third of the films in the collection are subtitled in English, while the remainder are available in German language versions only.
A complete list of films in this collection is available on the Germanic Research Web, the Research Guide for Germanic Studies at Harvard.