UMass Amherst Presents East German Film about Gay Culture at International Film Festival in New York City

AMHERST, Mass. - The DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts will present the only film about gay culture ever produced in the former East Germany, as part of an international film festival taking place in New York City during Gay Pride Week.

"Coming Out," which premiered on the very day the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, is the story of a boy who is attracted to his best friend but attempts to repress his true feelings. It was directed by Heiner Carow and has received praise from international film critics, according to DEFA Film Library Director Barton Byg, associate professor of Germanic languages and literatures at the University of Massachusetts.

The film will be shown at the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival at Lincoln Center today and tomorrow, June 24-25. The final showing coincides with the end of the festival, and will be followed by a party open to those attending the festival.

UMass graduate student and German film expert Beth Moore will also deliver a talk following two showings of the film. The film will be presented: June 24 at 9 p.m. (talk to follow); and June 25 at both 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. (talk to follow second showing).

The DEFA Film Library is an archive and study center at UMass and the only site of its kind outside of Germany. It allows both scholars and the general public a chance to view everyday life behind the Iron Curtain as depicted in films created by the state-run East German film company Deutsche Film Aktien-Gesellschaft (DEFA) between 1946 and 1992.