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The Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum opens a new Fassbinder Center


- The Frankfurt-based institution has acquired Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s documents and will host his entire collection in a newly founded research centre set to open on the director’s 70th birthday

The Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum opens a new Fassbinder Center
Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1970 (© Peter Gauhe/Deutsches Filminstitut/RWFF)

The cinematic legacy of Rainer Werner Fassbinder reaches far beyond Germany, and more than 35 years after his death, his influence is still very visible. Now, the collections of this emblematic figure of New German Cinema will find a new home, as the Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum will host his entire collection at the newly founded Fassbinder Center in Frankfurt am Main. The opening is scheduled for April 2019, to coincide with what would have been the filmmaker’s 70th birthday.

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In cooperation with the Berlin-based Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation (RWFF), the Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum has acquired all of the written materials left behind by Fassbinder. According to the records, the 180-box archive consists of, among other items, 25 working scripts, 97 predominantly handwritten scene sequences, 31 scene set-ups, 118 handwritten dialogue lists, 16 shooting schedules, and numerous other production notes and official documents. Furthermore, the RWFF’s remaining collection, including audiovisual archival material, photographs, international press clippings, the complete set of interviews and documentaries on the director’s work, and even Fassbinder’s pinball machine and legendary couch, will be transferred to the Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum on permanent loan. The acquisition was made possible with the financial support of the Hessische Kulturstiftung, the Kulturstiftung der Länder and the City of Frankfurt am Main.

Fassbinder’s film editor, legal heir and RWFF president, Juliane Maria Lorenz-Wehling, stated: “Rainer Werner Fassbinder doesn’t need any monuments. His films keep his memory alive all around the world. And still I am very pleased that the vitality of his legacy will be preserved at this research centre in the heart of Frankfurt. I am already looking forward to seeing the fruits of the scholarly work that this institution is sure to bring forth.”

Apart from hosting the entire collection, the Fassbinder Center will also promote cinematic research. In its 1,000 square metres of space, the centre will provide film enthusiasts and scholars with access not only to Fassbinder’s work, but also to the whole of New German Cinema. The centre will also host the archives of the distribution companies StudioCanal and Filmverlag der Autoren, as well as the estates of other acclaimed German directors and film professionals. In total, it is calculated that the available material is related to around 120 filmmakers from all periods of German cinema, and multiple production companies.

Ellen Harrington, director of the Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum, underlined: “The acquisition of the estate of Rainer Werner Fassbinder is a great honour for the Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum and represents a decisive expansion of its sustained emphasis on New German Cinema. Fassbinder is the internationally best-known and most-watched German director of his generation; our institution’s involvement in the future preservation and exploration of his artistic estate will further increase international awareness. That is why we are incredibly proud and happy about the trust placed in us, which we fully intend to live up to.”

It should be noted that Fassbinder was active in Frankfurt am Main, working at the Theater am Turm from 1974-1976, and shooting Mother Küsters Goes to Heaven in 1975 and In a Year with 13 Moons three years later.

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