Deutsches Haus at NYU presents a conversation between the independent film curator, Tobias
Hering, and Mariana Ivanova, Academic Director of the DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst
about “Great Expectations: Films as Cultural Mediators between East Germany and the U.S.”
The first larger showcase of films from East Germany in the U.S.A. took place only after
diplomatic relations had officially been established between the two countries in 1974. Yet
various forms of film relations had already existed since the 1950s, on a personal as well as on
an institutional level. Such relations fed on the motivation and perseverance of individuals on
both sides of the Iron Curtain and required finesse and mettle in skirting the demarcations of
In this conversation, Mariana Ivanova and Tobias Hering will discuss their ongoing study of the
GDR’s international film relations. What made West German film producers Erich Mehl and
Manfred Durniok, German-Jewish émigré Marta Feuchtwanger, American film historian Jay
Leyda, or renegade filmmaker Emile de Antonio turn against the odds of Cold War politics and
become what could be called cultural mediators?
Tobias Hering is an independent film curator living in Berlin and Mecklenburg. His work focuses
on thematic film programs that deal with questions of image politics and the role of archives.
Recent projects include “The gatekeepers exist to be overthrown,” a three-part homage to New
York film curator Amos Vogel at the Arsenal cinema in Berlin (2021-2022), and the lumbung
film program GDR International for documenta fifteen in Kassel. At the International Short Film
Festival Oberhausen, Tobias Hering is head of the archive-based program section “re-selected.”
He is currently conducting research in US archives for a future project on film relations between
East Germany and the United States.
Mariana Ivanova is Academic Director of the DEFA Film Library and Associate Professor of
German Film and Media at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her scholarship focuses
on twentieth- and twenty-first-century German and European cinemas and cultures, and theories
of transnational filmmaking. At the DEFA Film Library, she co-organizes Summer Film
Institutes, film festivals and hosts visiting artists, filmmakers, and researchers. She is the author
of Cinema of Collaboration: DEFA Coproductions and International Exchange in Cold War
Europe (2020, Berghahn) that responds to the need to rethink East German cinema within the
constantly evolving discursive space of European filmmaking. Ivanova has also published and
given talks on the ways the GDR is represented and “remembered” in film, on genre and
censorship practices within socialist cinematic industries, and on transborder movement for the
purposes of producing and distributing films.
For more information and registration, please see here.
Location & Time
6:00pm - 7:30pm on Wednesday, October 12, 2022
In-person at Deutsches Haus at NYU, 42 Washington Mews, New York, NY 10003