The parameters of film production in Europe have changed dramatically in the last decade. To be sure, for the former socialist states of Eastern Europe, the free market changed the basic conditions of film production. Yet throughout Europe in the wake of WTO debates, the TRIPS agreement, the Television without Frontiers Directive, the initiatives sponsored by the MEDIA Programme, and shifts in national budget allocations, all national film subsidy systems have changed. Increased film production money flows toward initiatives supporting popular and genre film. As a result, the audio-visual sector has grown in worth to an estimated 99 Billion Euros in 2004 and in 2005 one billion tickets were sold at European cinemas.

At the outset of these transformations many critics and experts predicted they would have a particularly negative effect on experimental film work. And indeed, earlier generations of filmmakers raised in the old Western European subsidy systems have experienced significant barriers to their ability to continue working. Yet we also find impressive dynamic new experiments in film filling the European cultural landscape. The loosening of totalitarian control in the East made visual experimentation possible in fundamentally new ways. Throughout Europe we witness bold experiments coming largely from a new generation. These filmmakers open new fields of exploration and discover new possibilities of representation. Transnational European stations like Arte and 3Sat support such work, offering broadcast space for high cultural film, while at the same time visual artists find new post-MTV methods of engaging popular culture. Institutional life has changed so that art institutes and film schools give students direction and resources to work with new technologies. New film and digital media festivals have emerged, like the annual Transmediale in Berlin, the Festival of New Media in Weimar, The Intermedia Meeting in Torun, and so on. These festivals offer screening and conference space for the exchange of ideas and images. Museums and alternative screening venues expand the walls of the theatrical black box. New digital technologies and web-based possibilities of screening and distribution are only part of the impetus to a host of post-cinematic experiments.

These dramatic changes in policy, production, technology, and aesthetics require an exploration of the visual media artists and image makers now at work. The goal of the conference is to engage with these changed conditions. How do these changes shape the aesthetics and politics of the moving image in Europe today?

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact:
Prof. Randall Halle at
rhalle@pitt.edu or 412-648-2614


The Conference is generously supported by a grant from the University of Pittsburgh’s Faculty and Research Scholarship Program, the European Union Center of Excellence, the Department of German, and the Film Studies Program. The organizers wish to thank Dean N. John Cooper, Associate Dean Nicole Constable, Professor Lucy Fischer, Professor Clark Muenzer, and Professor Alberta Sbragia for their engagement. Additionally we appreciate the support of Juliane Wanckel and Lee Grice at the Goethe Institute, New York.