About the Festival

Remake. Frankfurt Women's Film Days
Presented by Kinothek Asta Nielsen e.V.

In November 2018, the Kinothek Asta Nielsen in Frankfurt am Main presented the inaugural edition of Remake. Frankfurt Women’s Film Days, that takes place biennially since 2019. The third edition will take place in 2021.

The Kinothek has promoted film work by women for nearly twenty years through film presentations, thematic programmes, exhibitions and retrospectives, facilitating the discussion of gender relations in film. The Remake festival integrates a new event format into our previous work: a programme with a thematic focus will unfold in a mixture of festival and symposium. “Remake” refers to the connection with history that characterises all the Kinothek’s work: films spanning more than a hundred years emerge anew in the perception of viewers when they are shown today. Films exist only in their screening, so that the presentation of films is itself a form of film-making, a re-make. 

History constitutes a key aspect of the festival. Old films are not merely old; instead, if they are shown in a context where their significance can unfold, the past can be experienced through them as an element of the present day. Not least because of such connections, old films will be screened together with recent ones, and projected images will be accompanied by introductions, commentaries, talks, and discussions. Special attention will be paid to screening spaces and their creation – and to the extent possible, all films will play in their original format, whether it’s 35mm, 16mm, Super 8 with analogue sound, or digital. We feel particularly strongly about the musical accompaniment at silent film screenings. 

The formal structure of Remake corresponds to the content, whereby various epochs and genres are woven together in the programme. Topics such as women and gender relations in film, or aspects of queer cinema, come to light through their interconnection with other social phenomena, as with women’s emancipation in the context of migration, colonialism, or racism. Each edition of the Frankfurt Women’s Film Days originates in contextual links and expands in a variety of programmes that correlate to one another to form an overall design, a kind of “archipelago.” 

Remake will also always contain a programme section that is dedicated to a woman filmmaker whose work is threatened by oblivion and disappearance.

We want our programme to pay tribute not only to film history, but also to the history of feminist film festivals. The first of these, which took place in 1972 in New York and Edinburgh, were largely dedicated to the (re-) discovery of women filmmakers. Many of their works, which saw the light of projectors in the early 70s, have disappeared again, and copies can only be found with difficulty, if at all. Through revivals of past programmes and conversations with their organisers, we will remember this history, from which our work has also emerged. Each edition of Remake. Frankfurt Women’s Film Days will be dedicated to one of the earlier festivals.

Remake. Frankfurt Women's Film Days 2019

Viewing history. HerStory in the cinema is the focus of Remake 2. We looked for film histories in which, for example, women from Arab countries give testimony about their struggles for freedom; for films by women who tell us about their enslaved ancestors; and for those that make us aware of the history and present of their persecution and exclusion. Remake shows films that break with prevailing conventional images and narratives. The programme includes films by directors who question the Western success story, and films that ask how we can continue living with the 20th century’s history of world wars and genocides. The focus is on films and the cinema themselves as forms and places of written history – history written from women’s perspective. In this context, the festival programme also unspools a particular view of the history of queer cinema: Friday’s theme will be queer cinema – “mon ciné”.
We are concerned here with histories which film – not words or writing – allowed (and still allow) women to tell and show. Silent film in particular transmits things that are undefined, intangible, and which cannot be boiled down to a concept. A number of silent films with live musical accompaniment are part of the programme. The highlight is a CineConcert at Schauspiel Frankfurt theatre: The internationally recognised composer and pianist Maud Nelissen has written music for a small ensemble for Hindle Wakes, one of the most spectacular British films of the 1920s, which tells the story of the emancipation of a young female factory worker. Hindle Wakes provides insight into the English textile industry in Lancashire – the cotton connection to the American southern states – as well as the self-confidence of a worker.

Remake contains two further programmes in addition to its focus on viewing history. One continues the “written history” of feminist film festivals, which began with Remake 2018. In the late 1980s, women filmmakers in Eastern Europe established the international association KIWI – Kino Women International, which fostered exchange and closer cooperation among women in film, and organised conferences accompanied by film exhibitions. Film screenings and discussions bring the History of KIWI to the present.

The other programme screens the films of filmmaker, painter and photographer Ella Bergmann-Michel (1895-1971). We present the manifold cultural film actitivities and social-reformist efforts of this pioneer of classical modernism, who is currently being rediscovered on an international level.

Remake. Frankfurt Women's Film Days 2018

The opening of the Remake festival was connected to the exhibit and event series “Votes for Women – The 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in Germany” at the Historisches Museum Frankfurt, which ran from August 2018 to January 2019. Our programme, that took place in November 2018, focussed on the theme “100 Years of Women’s Suffrage – 50 Years of Feminist Film Making”.  Plans included films, introductory lectures, discussions, and supporting events. The festival consisted of several parts, including films on the suffragette movement and on general 1910s and 1920s legal topics such as sexual offences, matrimony, and abortion. In addition, there were be films depicting the conflict-ridden transformation of women’s roles, and the change in their status vis-à-vis work and love. All these topics pervade feminist film work up to now, each perhaps weighted and perceived differently. Our programme extended from the early 20th century to the present; at the same time, we intended to raise awareness that women’s emancipation movements have existed not only in Western nations, but also in other parts of the world. 

The year’s solo exhibition was dedicated to Frankfurt filmmaker Recha Jungmann. We screened her three feature films and a number of shorts, all produced between 1967 and 1981. Recha Jungmann participated in discussions at the screenings. 

2018's festival kicked off with a retrospective featuring the “Women’s Event” of the 1972 Edinburgh International Film Festival. We invited Laura Mulvey und Lynda Myles  to be our guests: together with Claire Johnston (1940–1987) they were the women who brought the event to life.