“People on Sunday” (“Menschen am Sonntag, Germany 1930) had been one of the most innovative films of the late Weimar Republic, created by five young and then unknown German-American filmmakers. Only three years, however, after Billy Wilder, Robert and Curt Siodmak, Fred Zinnemann and Edgar Ulmer had finished this movie that made their name, they all had to flee Berlin and soon became famous again in Hollywood.
Our joint Summer Workshop People on Sunday – or rather People on Sunday 2010 – took its cue from this masterpiece by five German-American filmmakers and was centered around practical work: the making of short documentary or semi-documentary portrayals of everyday life in a contemporary city: Cologne.
The Summer School started on June 21 with five days of academic instruction. In seminars, lectures and workshops, taught by Prof. Chris Horak, PhD (UCLA), Prof. Lisa Gotto, PhD (ifs) and Prof. Freyermuth, PhD (ifs), the participants analyzed the 1930 movie “People on Sunday”, learned about its history, its influence on German and American film making and about the life and works of its makers.
During this first week, the participating young film makers also formed mixed German-American teams and started to develop ideas for documentary or semi-documentary shorts which they produced in the following five weeks.
Sponsored by the state chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia, the project had been developed by Prof. Gundolf S. Freyermuth of the ifs. He had proposed the project to Prof. Barbara Boyle of the UCLA Film School in August 2009. The German-American cooperation then had been signed in Los Angeles – in the presence of Andreas Krautscheid [Minister for Federal Affairs, Europe and Media of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia] and Prof. Teri Schwartz [Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television] – by Simone Stewens [Chief Executive Director of the ifs] and Prof. Barbara Boyle [Chair of the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media] in October of 2009.
This website provides continuing information about our joint Summer School.
As a conclusion of the Joint Summer School of ifs international film school and UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television we will have an evening event on German-American Filmmaking – Past and Present at the Villa Aurora in Los Angeles on November 8th, 2011 at 8 pm with Eric Braeden, Wolfgang Petersen, and Christoph Bull.
• Actor Eric Braeden will be reading texts from the creators of the iconic silent film “Menschen am Sonntag” (People on Sunday), which include Billy Wilder, Robert Siodmak and Fred Zinnemann.
• We will present a short documentation entitled “Wolfgang Petersen – Mein Leben, mein Werk” in German, with English subtitles, written and directed by Gundolf S. Freyermuth, Professor for Comparative Media Studies at the International Film School in Cologne.
• The film will be followed by a panel discussion between Wolfgang Petersen and Professor Freyermuth.
• The evening will be accompanied by acclaimed organist Christoph Bull, who will present songs in the style of the time on organ, piano and voice.
More information: http://www.villa-aurora.org/index.php?page=event-calendar
Come and join us at the Goethe Institute in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 6, at 11:30 am:
“Menschen am Sonntag” – “People on Sunday 2010”
Premiere of the German-American Short Film Compilation by Filmmakers from UCLA and ifs
November 6th 2011 Matinee, 11:30am
Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, 5750 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90036
+1 323 5253388
Menschen am Sonntag / People on Sunday 2010 – Premiere of the German-American Short Film Compilation by Filmmakers from UCLA and ifs on November 6, 2011, at Goethe Institute Los Angeles
In the summer of 2010, students of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), School of Theater, Film & Television and graduates of ifs internationale filmschule took part in the summer school at ifs in Cologne called “People on Sunday 2010” – referring to the film “Menschen am Sonntag” (Berlin 1930) by the German-American filmmakers Billy Wilder, Curt and Robert Siodmak, Fred Zinnemann and Edgar Ulmer. Results of the summer school were four short films created together by the German-American teams, now been combined into a compilation.
Still from Lucas Mireles' film
The time and setting of “People on Sunday 2010” is a Sunday in Cologne during the Soccer World Championship in 2010. People in the big city encounter each other, love stories unravel and dissipate or they are put to the test. Each given moment in time reveals varying life situations, cultural and social backgrounds, and is condensed into an image of urban life. Even on the production level, the parallels to the original are obvious. The semi-documentary collage was shot with amateur performers, many improvisational elements, hand-held cameras and with the participation of several directors.
Director Johannes Sievert and DOP Jeanne Tyson shooting on location
“People on Sunday 2010” mirrors an attitude towards life and an image of society – completely inspired by its role model “Menschen am Sonntag” in 1930 which is considered to be an outstanding work of silent era avant-garde cinema in its upfront depiction of social reality. Its makers were driven away from Germany by the Nazis. They emigrated to the USA and heavily influenced the film industry in Hollywood. Consequently, this bilateral project looks into an almost forgotten chapter of German-American film history. “Menschen am Sonntag” thus stands for a strong interconnection of German and American film history. Now, eighty years later, “People on Sunday 2010” interconnects contemporary German and American filmmaking.
The film productions were preceded by an academic week in which professors from both schools gave seminars on the film history and analysis of “Menschen am Sonntag” and its makers. The summer school was run under the direction of Dr. Gundolf S. Freyermuth, Professor for Comparative Media Studies at ifs, and was funded by the government of North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany. Among the participating professors were UCLA’s Dr. Jan-Christopher Horak and Becky Smith; and ifs’ Dr. Lisa Gotto, Gerd Haag and Hans-Erich Viet.
German directors Frieder Sievert and Nancy Mac Granaky-Quaye meet online to discuss post-production with American directors Lucas Mireles and Iliana Sosa and producer Ryan Slattery.
by Ryan Slattery
Post-production is fully underway for the feature film project People on Sunday 2010. Consisting of four distinct parts, each with its own director and cinematographer, the film is coming together with common themes and a shared sense of purpose.
We are working with our composers in Freiburg to put together an amazing score, and other aspects of post-production are taking place both in Germany and in Los Angeles.
Bringing the filmmakers together in post-production from a distance of 6,000 miles is no easy task. From our studio facilities at UCLA, we are videoconferencing with our German counterparts to give feedback and make decisions about the process. This has always been a collaborative experience, and post-production has been no exception.
We are very excited to be moving ever closer to finishing this project, and can’t wait for all of us to reunite for the premiere in Los Angeles next spring!
Thanks to our photographer Paul we have a lot of beautiful pictures of our Summer School. This photo, however, shot by Iliana Sosa is my personal favorite. For me it perfectly symbolizes the many lasting friendships as well as the four short films that have been made during the summer school.
I was very happy when we finally find an original painter who plays the ‘role’ of an artist who is haunted by the dead of his father and can`t paint anymore: John Mobilio.
All the more that John is an American living in Germany – what fits wonderfully into the project and expands the level of the cross-cultural experience.
You will find more informations about John and his paintings here: http://johnmobilio.blogspot.com/
> Article about People On Sundays 2010 in “Kölner Stadtanzeiger” 03.08.2010
read article KSTA