Summer Film Institute


The film and lecture series is supported by the Max Kade Foundation; DEFA Foundation Berlin; DAAD; ICESTORM Distribution; PROGRESS Film-Verleih; Goethe-Institut Boston; German Hygiene Museum Foundation in Dresden; DRA & RBB Archives Germany; the Department of Central, Eastern & Northern European Studies at the Univ. of British Columbia; The Wende Museum; Noahfilm Produktion, Berlin; and the Translation Center, German & Scandinavian Studies, Instructional Media Lab, Print Services, and DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst.

Sex, Gender & Videotape:

Love, Eroticism & Romance in East Germany

Co-directed by Kyle Frackman (Univ. of British Columbia) and Victoria Rizo Lenshyn (Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst), our 8th biennial Summer Film Institute explored the discourses surrounding gender and sexuality in GDR film and media.


Held from July 19-26 on the Smith College campus in the beautiful Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, the Summer Film Institute provided an opportunity for scholars in different disciplines to spend a week together in a relaxed setting, watching movies and discussing GDR cinema from a variety of perspectives.


Opening events took place from 4:00 to 10:00 pm on Sunday, July 19:

  • Keynote lecture by Dr. Josie McLellan (Univ. of Bristol, UK): “From Private Snapshots to Coming Out: the Queering of East German Visual Culture” — at 4:00 pm, 201 Seelye Hall, Smith College
  • Opening Reception — at 5:30 - 7:00 pm, Wright Hall Lobby, Smith College
  • Film Screening — at 7:00 pm, Weinstein Auditorium, Smith College: Our Short Life  (Unser kurzes Leben, GDR, 1980, dir. Lothar Warneke, 116 min., color) DVD-Release & US Premiere! After her divorce, the young architect Franziska Linkerhand decides to make a fresh start. Brigitte Reimann’s bestselling semi-autobiographical novel, Franziska Linkerhand, became a cult hit in both East and West Germany.


During the week of July 20-25, Institute participants viewed a wide range of East German films and genres in tandem with workshop discussions, addressing such topics as:

  • Gender, Sexuality & Socialism
  • Family & Collective
  • Planning, Pleasure & the Body
  • G(ay)DR: Re-evaluating Heteronormativity & Homosexuality in the GDR
  • Promiscuity, Pornography, Prostitution & Rape

Shibboleth login