Posted on 05 November 2018
The Historical Archives of the European Union in collaboration with Professor Gabriele Clemens from the History Department of University Hamburg and research fellow Anne Bruch have just started a project on “Europafilme” from the 1950s to the early 1970s. The project aims to establish a database on these almost forgotten and neglected films for scientific research and to facilitate digital access for researchers to these films, which are stored in various archives and film libraries all over Europe.
The archival project is based on a previous research project about “Europafilme” supervised by Professor Clemens at Hamburg University and funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) from 2009 to 2012. As part of the Hamburg University project, the research team searched for films in different European countries and in European institutions. Eventually, about 400 films were discovered which can be labeled “Europafilme”.
Due to the definition of the project these are films, which were mainly produced to advertise the European integration process, to legitimize the newly established European Communities and to educate people to become European citizens. These films were commissioned by European organisations, such as the Brussels Pact, the Council of Europe, by the European Communities, as well as by national ministries, the European Movement, and state-owned companies, such as SNCF in France and Deutsche Bundesbahn in Germany.
The films were distributed in a non-commercial context through youth groups, schools and other educational institutions, but were also shown in cinemas as part of the film program.
These films were analyzed in terms of how the commissioning organization tried to establish a European identity or a European consciousness. The result of the analysis has been presented in the monography “Werben für Europa. Die mediale Konstruktion europäischer Identität durch Europafilme”, edited by Gabriele Clemens, Paderborn 2016.