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Jürgen Keiper, Werner Sudendorf

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Reconstructing Film Culture: Lost Films and Collaboration on the Web

More than two thirds of all silent films have disappeared. A large number of motion pictures with sound, too, are considered lost. A considerable portion of our visual heritage, central to our collective memory, is no longer at our disposal. Understanding film history solely in terms of the films available to us today obscures the full importance of the medium to visual traditions and cultural contexts.
Focusing on specific examples from German film production, LOST FILMS has begun a reconstruction of this heritage. We have chosen two strategies. First, important European film museums are bringing together diverse sources (photographs, scripts, etc.) from their respective archives. Second, these materials are published on a web platform. Organised as a collaborative venture, the web platform raises the visibility of a history many believe to have been lost. Additional steps are planned to support the joint identification of vanished films.
This project was initiated by the Deutsche Kinematik - Museum for Film and Television in Berlin. The project receives support from the German Federal Cultural Foundation and is carried out in co-operation with the Film Archive of the German Federal Archives in Berlin, the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation in Wiesbaden, the Austrian Film Archive in Vienna, the Centre national de la cinématographie in Paris and the Národní filmový archiv in Prague.

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