Screen1900 International Conference: Programming Early Cinema, Then and Now (2009)

The Art of Programming Early Cinema
Cinémathèque, Luxembourg,
4 - 5 Sept, 2009

Fairground Shows:
Crazy Cinématographe, 2009

organised by
Cinémathèque de la Ville de Luxembourg
Media Studies, University of Trier

sponsored by

The Art of Programming Early Cinema

The Art of Programming Early Cinema Early Cinema has been called the „Cinema of Attractions“. Travelling cinemas were the main attractions on European fairgrounds around 1900. They were very successful in luring visitors into their fi lm shows which offered varieties of surprise out of the audience’s reach in real life: world famous acrobats and music-hall stars, the magic and the bizarre, outstanding tricks etc. The art of programming short fi lms for these shows required special skills of showmanship.
Crazy Cinématographe, the fairground cinema of the Cinémathèque, will again entertain audiences on the Schueberfouer, Luxembourg‘s fairground, from 21 August to 9 September 2009. To fi lm archivists, programmers and curators, to media scholars, to teachers and journalists, the Cinémathèque offers the Workshop „The Art of Programming Early Cinema“ and free entrance to the Crazy Cinématographe fairground shows 2009.

Crazy Cinématographe – The Fairground Shows

More than 20.000 fairground visitors attended the Crazy Cinématographe shows in 2007 and 2008 – a success beyond expectations. Among thrill rides and food stalls they spotted a strangely different attraction, they were lured by barkers into the cinema tent and discovered a spectacular time ride with early films. Densely packed in the Crazy Cinématographe tent, people howled with laughter until tears rolled down their cheeks, shouted disrespectful comments, clapped, held their breath, and shrieked with pleasure and horror.
Crazy Cinématographe showed striking evidence that the early “Cinema of Attractions” is still an attractive formula for 21th century showmanship and that it is possible to garner popular audiences of the digital age for 35mm screenings of early films from the Belle Epoque period.
All in all 25 European film archives participated to the project by contributing their early cinema treasures to programmes as “Magical Mystery Tour”, “The Cabinet of the Bizarre”, and the legendary late night programme called “The Sex Lives of our Grandparents”. For film scholars and cinematheque programmers, Crazy Cinématographe will not only be a hilarious and crazy trip, but also a striking professional experience. Don’t miss it.


Seminar on film programming 100 years ago by early cinema scholars:
Andrea Haller
just finished her PhD Dissertation on early cinema programming and female audiences.
Martin Loiperdinger is professor of media studies and co-editor of KINtop, the German Yearbook on Early Cinema.

Presentations on recent live performances of Early Cinema by today’s renowned curators:
Mariann Lewinsky Sträuli
, a film historian and curator from Zurich, is responsible for the 100 Years Ago section of the Bologne Filmfestival which she created for the fi rst time in 2004. She always tries to go off the beaten tracks, both in her selection and her programming strategies, thus providing early cinema experts with many a surprise every year.
Eric de Kuyper is an experimental film director and writer. As a smuggler of early cinema, he created art performances of early films, taking place within inspiring environments (Imaginaires en Contexte) or in combination with acknowledged works of music (Concerts en Images).
Vanessa Toulmin is professor and director of the National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield. She published widely on travelling cinema and conducted the Mitchell & Kenyon Project of the British Film Institute. She curated and performed many fi lm shows for local people, as recently within her Admission All Classes show programmes in Blackpool, and she was co-curator of the Crazy Cinématographe programmes in 2007.

Presentation and discussion of the Crazy Cinématographe programmes:
Claude Bertemes
, director of the Cinémathèque, and Nicole Dahlen, project manager, initiated Crazy Cinématographe in 2007. Since then, they organise and curate the Crazy Cinématographe Fairground Shows at Luxembourg‘s Schueberfouer.


Friday, 4 Sept
4 - 5:30 pm:
Welcome and Registration at the Cinémathèque

6 - 11 pm:
Crazy Cinématographe 2009 programmes

Saturday, 5 Sept
10 - 12 am:
Performing Short Film Programmes in the 1900s Seminar held by Andrea Haller and Martin Loiperdinger (University of Trier)

1:30 - 4 pm:
Programming Early Cinema Today – Three Outstanding Examples
- Mariann Lewinsky Sträuli (Cineteca, Bologne) Il Cinema Ritrovato – 100 Years Ago: Programming Early Cinema for Experts at the Bologne Festival
- Eric de Kuyper (Cinémathèque Royale, Brussels) Imaginaires en Contexte / Concerts en Images: Smuggling Early Films into the Realm of Art
- Vanessa Toulmin (National Fairground Archive, Sheffield) Local Films for Local People: Re-Animation of the Mitchell & Kenyon Collection

4:30 - 6 pm:
Crazy Cinématographe: Early Cinema on the Luxembourg Fairground Presentation and Discussion with Claude Bertemes and Nicole Dahlen (Cinémathèque, Luxembourg)

8 - 11pm:
Special DJ Event Crazy Cinématographe

Related Book Publication

Martin Loiperdinger (ed): Early Cinema Today: The Art of Programming and Live Performance. KINtop Studies in Early Cinema, vol 1. John Libbey Publishing. New Barnet (GB) 2011

Contributions by Madeleine Bernstorff, Claude Bertemes, Nicole Dahlen, Tom Gunning, Andrea Haller, Frank Kessler, Eric de Kuyper, Mariann Lewinsky, Martin Loiperdinger, Dick Tomasovic, Vanessa Toulmin.