“It's like winning the jackpot”

HFF Munich Library: “It's like winning the jackpot”

All you need to know about films – Sofia. G in the HFF library
All you need to know about films – Sofia. G in the HFF library
Sofia G. from Munich loves movies, both privately and professionally. For her, the library of the University of Television and Film is a cinematic land of milk and honey – and one that will be there for her her whole life.


The library had already helped me a lot in the first few years of my studies and when I was doing my doctorate. The selection of books and media is absolutely huge and also very up-to-date. Secondary literature is almost immediately in stock after publication, this often takes longer in other libraries. And it also has films that are really quite rare, which would otherwise be difficult for me to obtain or for which I would have to pay a lot of money to have them sent from the USA. This is a great help when I'm looking for a specific film, as was the case when I borrowed a lot of American Mumblecore movies. The fact that I can use the library as a former student for the rest of my life is like winning the jackpot in a lottery anyway.

The library is one of Europe's leading libraries for film and television. The library is one of Europe's leading libraries for film and television. | Photo (detail): © Stefan Fischer The library of the Munich University of Film and Television is actually a reference library. It is open to anyone who wants to use it, but only employees, students, as well as some external academics – as well as all graduates, are allowed to take out the books or films. The borrowing period, especially for films, is short, only a week. So even if you are on a waiting list for a particular film, you move quickly forward. As the borrowing period is so restricted, almost the entire stock of films, books and magazines is available all the time. And all the stock is also right there on the spot, you just take what you want off the shelf and do not have to order it first and then wait for days until the book or film is delivered from elsewhere.

One big plus-point – all the media are quickly available. One big plus-point – all the media are quickly available. | Photo (detail): © Stefan Fischer I really appreciate the fact that you can easily browse through books to decide if they might really help you with your research. And also that during my studies whenever I had an hour's break between two seminars, I could take in a few film magazines - because they just happened to be there. I particularly like the American magazine Little White Lies, which has its own view on films and filmmakers. And it always has such beautiful portraits.

International film magazines are part of the inventory. International film magazines are part of the inventory. | Photo (detail): © Stefan Fischer As the library is not as big as those at the major universities, there is a lot of peace and quiet which means you can work really well here. There are not so many people there, nobody coughing all the time as in the large reading rooms. To watch movies in the library, there are viewing booths for those who are not allowed to borrow anything. I've used them myself, especially when I was swatting for an examination. You can take books and films into them and keep them there for a few days, so you do not have to go through the whole process of taking them out again and again.

Viewing booths for research. Viewing booths for research. | Photo (detail): © Stefan Fischer Another advantage is that you can play movies there at double speed. This is not exactly a visual treat, but very convenient for fast research. I recently looked at a few films by trash director Uwe Boll, because I was writing a review about Boll's autobiography. And for my final examination, I was able to have another look at films that I already know well, to refresh my memory.
Sofia G. (born in 1982), lives in Munich. She studied German and English language and literature, and theatre studies, and did a doctorate on director Jim Jarmusch. Subsequently, she completed a supplementary course in theatre, film and television criticism at the Munich University of Television and Film. She works in the programming of the Munich Film Festival.
The library of the Munich University of Television and Film in the district of Maxvorstadt, right next to the Pinakothek art galleries, is one of the best-equipped specialist libraries for cinema in Germany with around 70,000 books, more than 20,000 films, more than 100 magazines and several thousand press dossiers on film makers. The entire book and DVD stock is listed in an online catalogue.
 

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Journalist Stefan Fischer talked to Sofia G. about the library of the University of Television and Film, which he himself loves and often uses.

Translation: Paul McCarthy
Text: Goethe-Institut, Stefan Fischer. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.
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August 2017

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