Phew. I spent a substantial part of the weekend editing transcribed guest lectures, and now I’m done for the night.
Let me explain: While I was at the Bauhaus-University of Weimar, I organized and co-hosted (together with Prof. Thorsten Hennig-Thurau) a series of invited talks on the art and economics of filmmaking. Not to be held back by such mundane things as modesty, we placed the whole series under the motto “The Film Industry in the 21st Century” and named it Guru*Talk (before we had invited even the first guest speaker), drawing on Merriam-Websters definition:
*gu-ru: A teacher and especially intellectual guide in matters of fundamental concern.
Because surely, if film wasn’t a matter of fundamental concern, what was?
Both Thorsten and I are film nuts, and his empirical research on film industry economics – back then, he was the only person to do such research on an academic peer-reviewed level in all of Europe – was my main reason to choose the Bauhaus-University as the place for my Ph.D. Granted, I eventually decided on a social-psychological dissertation subject instead, but I digress.
Luckily for us, we managed to come up with a guest speaker list that could live up to the Guru part of the title. From 2006-2007, we were visited by:
- Stefan Arndt, co-founder of X-Filme and producer of “Good Bye Lenin!” and “Run Lola Run“
- Andreas Bareiss, producer of the Oscar-winning “Nowhere in Africa“
- Markus Grab, founder and editor of Inside Kino
- Dietmar Güntsche, head of film production company Neue Bioskop Germany
- Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, writer & director of the Oscar-winning “The Lives of Others“
- Dr. Michael Kölmel, founder of film distributor Kinowelt (recently acquired by Canal Plus)
- Peter Körte, film critic and Op-Ed co-editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
- Dr. Andreas Kramer, head of the HDF Kino e.V., the organization of German theater owners
- Bernhard Stampfer, head of film financing at Deutsche Bank (which is the largest film financer in Hollywood)
- Mennan Yapo, director of “Premonition” (starring Sandra Bullock)
As you can imagine, all of these speakers had amazing stories to tell – after all, they’re in the business of storytelling. Their visits definitely spiced up our academic life and, in some cases, even led to long-term cooperations on film productions. The guest lectures were recorded and transcribed, and Thorsten and I intend to publish them in a book later this year (we need to run the edited versions by our guests again and are currently looking for a publisher).
This week also marks the founding of the Bauhaus Film Institute (press release in German only, sorry)! It will be an interdisciplinary research center with three departments. The Department of Film Theory and History will be headed by Prof. Lorenz Engell whose research has focused on the aesthetics, logic, history and semiotics of media. Thorsten, of course, will head the Department of Film Economics, and Prof. Wolfgang Kissel will lead the Department of Film Design. Exciting times to be an academic with a love of film at the Bauhaus-University!