The Cinematic Face of Cities.

Development of a Model for a Spatial Film Studies Discourse Analysis of the Image Formation of Film Cities.

Project start:
Project completion:
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Gas pressure regulator station in Potsdam Babelsberg. The motifs chosen include film characters from Studio Babelsberg's film history, an analog film camera and film strips. Painted by the company Art-EFX. © Anna Luise Kiss

More and more cities in Europe are discovering their film heritage and current media production as important elements of city marketing. Potsdam in Brandenburg and Aarhus in Denmark are also increasingly focusing on promoting their cities as media-rich places. In doing so, they are taking different approaches: Potsdam focuses on its long film history, while Aarhus advertises itself as a 'smart' city and uses the current Nordic Noir series trend, among other things. The overall objective of the study is to examine film heritage and current media production as elements of city image building based on a (to be newly developed) spatial film studies discourse analysis. Using archive material, the history of the city marketing of Potsdam and Aarhus, respectively, is reconstructed in its relation to film heritage and media production. Field research in urban spaces, interviews with experts and qualitative content analyses are part of the methodology.

Potsdam and Aarhus serve as model cities. Different approaches to media (history)-based branding can be observed in these cities. It becomes clear that not only the official institutions shape the 'cinematic face' of the cities, but that numerous other players are involved in this process. It is important to render this diversity visible. This involves questions such as: Which structures are responsible for the emergence of a key narrative about the cities? Which aspects of media history are 'narrated' in the branding process – and which may not be?

The project is funded by the BMBF's ‘Kleine Fächer – Große Potenziale’ (Small Subjects – Great Potentials) funding program.

Further information on the project website