Film Distribution and Exhibition During World War II

Online convention: Nov 19-20, 2020

This online event is a follow-up to the workshop “Film Distribution, Exhibition and Consumption during the Second World War” (Leuven, 2018) and the “Movie Theatres in Wartime” symposium (June 2020, scheduled to take place in Amsterdam, but due to Covid-19 downsized into a smaller online event). The sessions, which can be attended through online videoconferencing (Zoom), will be organised in November, on Thursday 19 and Friday 20, between 14.00 and 18.00 Central European Time (CET).

Scholars are invited to present their ongoing research about film exhibition and distribution during World War II. The purpose is threefold: (1) developing and sharing methodological expertise in compiling, analysing and comparing data on historical film programming; (2) gaining more insight in the transnational patterns of film supply and demand during the war, across belligerent and neutral countries; (3) building and strengthening a network of scholars with a shared interest in the topic.

This event is produced by CREATE (University of Amsterdam), DICIS (Scientific Research Network on Digital Cinema Studies) and NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.


Thursday 19 November (14.00-18.00 – Central European Time)

14.00 Welcome & Introduction

14.15 – 15.00  Launch of the CINEMA IN OCCUPIED BELGIUM

Roel Vande Winkel will launch his website “CINEMA IN OCCUPIED BELGIUM”, which will give researchers access to detailed information about cinemas and film screenings in German-occupied Belgium (1940–1944). He will be joined by Thomas Crombez, whose company Letterwerk built the website. Both presenters will discuss the research underpinning the website and the practical problems of constructing such a website. This will be followed by a Q&A session.

15.00 – 15.15 Break

15.15 – 16.15 Presentations

“War and cinema at the periphery. The role and meaning of cinemas in the Nordic countries before, during and after World War II” by Maria Fritsche & Thomas Hagen

“French films in New York / 1 June 1942 to 31 May 1943” by Suzanne Langlois

16.15-16.30 Break

16.30-17.30 Presentations

“The transition of cinema after the occupation of Yugoslavia in the Second World War” by Omer Merzić

“Programming and spectators during the pre-war time in Buenos Aires” by Alejandro Kelly Hopfenblatt & Marina Moguillansky

Friday 20 November (14.00-18.00 – Central European Time)

14.00-15.00 Presentations

“Programming and film popularity in Prostejov cinemas during WWII. Targeting a rather uniform small town audience.” by Kateřina Tůmová.

“Investigating the circulation and consumption of German films in occupied France: from the first clues to the study of cinema programmes” by Anthony Rescigno

15.00-15.15 Break

15.15-16.15 Presentations

“The war endeavour of non-professional film exhibitors in the Soviet Union (1939-1949). Introduction of commercial logic at the expense of the propaganda function” by Irina Tcherneva

“Between new economics and new politics: database of Soviet film programming during the 1920s” by Oksana Maistat

16.15-16.30 Break

16.30-17.15 Presentation

“Going to the movies in German-occupied territory in World War II: A comparative analysis of film screenings in Brussels, The Hague, Krakow, and Brno (1940-1944)”. Andrzej Dębski, Thunnis van Oort, Clara Pafort-Overduin, Terezia Porubcanska, Karina Pryt, Pavel Skopal, Roel Vande Winkel

17.15-17.30 Closing discussion of future activities/joint projects

17.30 virtual drinks (BYOB)

The meeting takes place on Zoom:


Thunnis van Oort (University of Amsterdam) (

Roel Vande Winkel (KU Leuven – LUCA School of Arts) (

Pavel Skopal (Masaryk University) (