Filmmanifest Logo 1

Project "The Film Manifesto"

Project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)
Filmmanifest Logo 1
Image: Elias Erkan

Project »The Film Manifesto. History, Aesthetics and Mediality of an Activist Form«

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Principle Investigators: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Groß de, Prof. Dr. Matthias Christen (Uni Bayreuth)

Research Collaborators: Tilman Schumacher, M.A. de , Adriane Meusch, M.A. (Uni Bayreuth)

Runtime: 2022-2025


Against the current backdrop of an increasing number of mostly political manifestos and their various agendas, the DFG-funded research project tries to systematically assess the history, the generic features as well the uses of film manifestos in particular. The research group has started its work in April 2022 and consists of film scholars from Friedrich-Schiller-University and Bayreuth-University.

Coming up at the beginning of the 20th century, film manifestos, it is argued, function as seismographic devices concerning situations of crisis, critically depicting historical ruptures, transitions and potential futures of the medium. As a means of critical (re-)evaluation, film manifestos serve as a tool that helps to reflect and regulate the ratio of elements that determine what film and cinema mean in specific historical conjunctures. The agendas that film manifestos advocate being activist texts, vary greatly. They equally refer to aesthetics, economics, institutional framework as well as to the various public spheres that films address and instigate.

The project presents a broad exploration of this subject – based on hundreds, mostly rather short texts which address diverse issues, ranging from film history to film geography to questions of gender and race, finance and politics. The research project encompasses three mutually dependent subprojects in which four film scholars are involved.

Sub-projects Expand entry

The subprojects complement each other in terms of methodological approach, thematic focus and historical reach. Subproject 1 (Tilman Schumacher M.A., FSU Jena) addresses, on an intratextual level, the constitutive elements of film manifestos and draws up a historically broad typology of textual forms and functions. Subproject 2 (Adriane Meusch M.A., Bayreuth-University) delivers an in-depth analysis of film manifestos by feminist film collectives that originated transnationally in the 1970s and 80s. Subproject 3 will be led by the two principal investigators and link-up the academic institutions involved (Bayreuth/Jena). It provides an overarching frame of reference for the subprojects 1 and 2, in that it undertakes the collaborative endeavor to (re-)write the history of film manifestos as a media-history of film.

Publications Expand entry


Conference Talks Expand entry
  • 1.9.2022: Tilman Schumacher, „Filmmanifeste – Eine Typologie filmaktivistischer Texte im globalen Kontext“, The EAM Conference – European Network for Avantgarde and Modernism Studies, 1.-3.9.2022 Lisbon.
  • 5.7.2022: Bernhard Groß, "Der Geifer des Autors. Filmende Schriftsteller, Lettristen und ihre Manifeste", cinepoetics-Lectures, Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin.