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Lecture | Robert Dassanowsky: Ars Gratia Austriae - The Remarkable 1936 Vienna-Hollywood Deal to Save Independant Austrian Film and its Threat to Nazi German "Anschluss"

  • Austrian Cultural Forum International Ct NW Washington, DC, 20008 United States (map)

Professor Robert Dassanowsky will discuss the current debate regarding the nature of Hollywood's pre-war relationship with Nazi Germany, cinema under "Austrofascism" (1933-38) and its positive American reception has been unaccountably overlooked. During this era, Vienna sought to strengthen its independent film production. It turned to Hollywood.

What resulted was a groundbreaking plan in which MGM, Twentieth Century Fox and other studios would offer support and utilize Austria as the site for a roster of actual Viennese/Hollywood co-productions. Fearing American attention on Austria and the establishment of significant Hollywood interests in Vienna, Nazi Germany moved to rupture the deal. How Prague and Budapest also played a part in this unique transnational Vienna/Hollywood film plan, which might have delayed or even blocked Nazi expansionism, is part of an intrigue-filled historical episode on national/cultural survival and the desire to control the power of cinema.

Robert Dassanowsky is Professor of German and Film Studies at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and also works as an independent film producer. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a delegate of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, and member of the Austrian and European Film Academies, his books include Austrian Cinema: A History (2005), New Austrian Cinema, co-ed. with Oliver C. Speck (2011), Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds: A Manipulation of Metafilm, ed. (2012), World Film Locations: Vienna, ed. (2012), and the forthcoming Screening Transcendence: Film under Austrofascism and the Hollywood Hope 1933-38. Dassanowsky is past president of the Austrian Studies Association (ASA), serves on the boards of several literary publications and film festivals, and is the recent recipient of a Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies Grant.

This lecture is sponsored by The Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies and will be followed by a Wine and Cheese Reception afterwards.

When: May 29, 2015 | 6:30 pm
Where: Austrian Cultural Forum | 3524 International Court NW | Washington, DC, 20008
Tickets: Free | Please register here