2004 Utrecht Conference


Networks of Entertainment: Early Film Distribution

The eighth International Domitor conference was co-hosted by the Department of Media Studies of the University of Utrecht and the Nederlands Filmmuseum. Distribution was the topic of the conference. Although a topic central to early cinema, in fact a phenomenon produced by early cinema, academic attention has been scant and scattered. To focus interest in this topic, the conference gathered various research areas and stimulated further research. Presentations were given by scholars from about a dozen different countries.


Distribution Paratexts I: Press / Paratextes de la distribution I: la presse

David Levy (McGill): “A Note on the Role of Imports in the Emergence of the Last-Minute Rescue Narrative in the American Cinema, 1907-1908”

Richard Abel (U Michigan, Ann Arbor): “The ‘Backbone’ of the Business: Scanning Signs of US Film Distribution in the Newspapers, 1911-1914”

Viva Paci (U Montréal): “Les Films impossibles ou les possibilités du cinéma”

Non-theatrical Formats / Formats non destinés aux salles

Anke Mebold (Berlin): “‘Just like a public library maintained for public welfare’: 28mm as a comprehensive service strategy for non-theatrical clientele 1912–1923”

Martina Roepke (U Amsterdam): “Distributing 17.5mm for amateur use: Ernemann Home cinema (1902–1908)”

Serial Distribution / Distribution des serials

Nicolas Dulac (U Montréal): “Le leurre de la nouveauté: Distribution et devenir-sériel du premier spectateur”

Rudmer Canjels (U Utrecht): “Distributing films in parts: Series and seriality in Germany, 1914-1921”

Local Networks I / Réseaux locaux I

Michael Hammond (U Southampton): “‘Mr. Elliott Books Chaplins Direct’: Local Exhibition and Distribution in Southampton (UK) 1915”

Pelle Snickars (U Stockholm): “Distribution of News—A Media Historical Case Study of Berlin around 1910”

Local Networks II / Réseaux locaux II

Vanessa Toulmin (U Sheffield): “Mitchell and Kenyon: The Local as Topical”

Martin Loiperdinger (U Trier): “Local Views and Early Local Performance: Peter Marzen’s Personalisation/Personal Style of Film Exhibition at Trier (Germany)”

Regional Networks / Réseaux régionaux

Renaud Chaplain (U Lyon): “La distribution dans la région lyonnaise”

Pierre-Emanuel Jaques (U Lausanne): “Une diffusion nationale?”

Pierre Véronneau (Cinémathèque québecoise/UMontréal): “De l’indépendance à l’absorption: le cas québécois”

Panivong Norindr (USC): “Distributing Early Cinema in French Colonial Indochina: The Société Indochine-Films et Cinéma and the ‘politique du cinéma’”

Distribution into the Future / Prospective de la distribution

Dan Streible (Univ. of South Carolina): “Online distribution of early cinema”

Wanda Strauven (U Amsterdam): “Futurological Modes of Distribution”

Lee Grieveson (King’s College) / Peter Krämer (East Anglia): “Global Distribution and Local Standards: A Workshop on Research and Teaching”

Charles O’Brien (Carleton Univ.): “Colour and the North American Film Market Before World War One: Multi-Reel Films and National Style Differences”

Richard Ward (Univ. of South Alabama): “The Rolin Film Company”

Paul Spehr (Fairfield): “Politics, Steam and Scopes: Marketing the Biograph”

Distribution Across Borders / Distribution par delà les frontières

Marina Dahlquist (U Stockholm): “Pathé Frères’ Swedish Branch: Strategies on a New Market”

John Welle (Notre Dame): “‘Avoid Giving Wine to Children’: George Kleine’s Distribution of Italian Films in the United States and the Discourse of Moral Uplift, 1907–1913”

André Gaudreault (U Montréal): “Les directives de l’« éditeur » pour l’assemblage des vues dans les catalogues de distribution”

Distribution Paratexts II: Catalogues / Paratextes de la distribution II : les catalogues

Jonathan Auerbach (U of Maryland): “Cataloging Contingency”

Ian Christie (Birkbeck U of London): “Comparing Catalogues”

Charlie Keil (U Toronto)/Marta Braun (Ryerson Univ.): “Early Film Catalogues as Paratext”

Janelle Blankenship (Duke) : “‘Liste fuer gebrauchte Films zum Verkauf’: Used Films for Sale in Germany and Austro-Hungary in 1913 ”

Distributors / Distributeurs

Gunnar Iversen (U Trondheim): “Local Distribution: the Case of Jens Christian Gundersen in Norway”

Rashit Yangirov (Moscow): “Censorship and Film Distribution in Russia: 1908-1914”

Jane Gaines (Duke): “Early Cinema as the Heyday of Copying”

Luis Alonso Garcia (U Madrid): “The role of commercialisation and distribution in the construction of cinema as a narrative medium.”

Re-use of Early Films / Réutilisation de films des premiers temps

André Habib (U Montréal): “Des fragments des premiers temps à l’esthétique de la ruine”

Ansje van Beusekom (U Utrecht): “Early cinema and the international avant-garde. Distribution and programming of early films in the European avant-garde programs 1925-1935.”

Bregtje Lameris (U Utrecht) / Claudy op den Kamp (Nederlands Filmmuseum): “Recycled images: on the re-use of early films.”

Gregory Waller (Indiana Univ.): “The Circulation of Non-Theatrical Film in the United States”

Non-theatrical distribution / La distribution en dehors des salles

Tony Fletcher (Cinema Museum, London): “Sundays and Holy Days”

Wolfgang Fuhrmann (Kassel/U Utrecht): “Local entertainment and national patriotism: The distribution of colonial films in early German cinema”

Distribution in the Netherlands / La distribution aux Pays-Bas

Ivo Blom (VU Amsterdam) Rixt Jonkman (Filmmuseum Amsterdam)

Mapping National Distribution Networks / Cartographies de réseaux de distribution nationaux

Begoña Soto Vazquez (U Madrid): “A different way to understand borders. Early distribution networks between Spain and Portugal”

Closing discussion / Discussion de clôture

François Jost (U Paris III)
William Uricchio (MIT / U Utrecht)


  • A recreation of the evening programme of the Dordtsch Bioscope Theater, Dordrecht, 28 July 1911, comprised of films purchased from Jean Desmet’s International Distribution Company on 1 July 1911.
  • A selection of films distributed by Pathé Netherlands.
  • “Archival re-distribution”: A selection of found footage films made with materials from the Nederlands Filmmuseum.