"Make Films, not War"

"Make Films, not War" © Universal

From Flanders to villages across the UK and Germany, muffled bells will toll on November 11 to mark the 100th anniversary of the armistice of World War I. In this article we share with you a presentation by Dr. Alexander Sschwarz about the important role, which film production played to promote peace in a time of war.

What the American Civil War was for photography, World War I became for film. For the first time in history moving images presented shocking authentic documents of the fighting. Film become a powerful propaganda tool of its own right. But there also coalesced a new idea: film as an instrument for peace. Traumatized by the atrocities of World War I, filmmakers started to shoot films against war. Could cinema foster peace, non-violence and mutual understanding? Could it annihilate age-old fixations on mythical heroes, adolescent love of adventure, archaic collective destruction, outdated stereotypes of friend and foe, fantasies of hatred and revenge, legends of comradeship and so called purifying storms of steel?

This presentation will give an overview of this largely unknown film tradition with excerpts from films from 1913 to our time.

Introduction (PDF, 228 MB)

Dr. Alexander Schwarz studied film and literature (German and Russian), was executive producer at Kabel 1 TV (Germany) and helped to establish Discovery Channel in the German language market. 2003 and 2004 he headed MarComms and Promotions as Creative at Discovery Networks Europe in London. In 2004 he founded "Tolle Idee!“ together with Gunda Borgeest and Doerthe Binkert. He works as a curator and author of film programs, lectures and exhibitions. His other main area of expertise lies in the development of cross media concepts and in the creation of archive based documentaries.