These events were made possible by many partners. At the University of Massachusetts Amherst: the DEFA Film Library; German and Scandinavian Studies, LLC; Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies; Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies; Max Kade Thatcher German Language Suite; UMass Arts Council. In the Five Colleges: the Amherst College Department of German; Hampshire College Berlin Program; Mount Holyoke College Department of German Studies; Smith College Department of German Studies; Five College Faculty Seminar in German Studies; Five College Women's Studies Research Center. In Berlin: DEFA Foundation, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, ICESTORM Entertainment, PROGRESS Film-Verleih, durchblickreisen.
The Films of Iris Gusner
University of Massachsetts Amherst
One of very few women to succeed as a director at DEFA, Iris Gusner was among the first East German filmmakers to focus on the role and emancipation of women in the GDR.
Gusner was artist-in-residence in the Five College area from September 25 through October 1, 2012, where she presented a retrospective of her films, most of which had been newly subtitled by the DEFA Film Library and celebrated their US premieres. The program also included the DVD release of All My Girls (1979) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a special screening of Gusner’s unique semi-autobiographical film, Were the Earth Not Round (1981), at Amherst Cinema.
In addition to the Five College area of western Massachusetts, Gusner presented her films in New Haven CT; at the Goethe Institute Chicago and campuses in the area; and at the annual conference of the German Studies Association in Milwaukee WI.
Complementing the Gusner retrospective, sociologist Ursula Schröter gave talks on women's issues and policies in Germany, both during the Cold War and since unification. Schröter has published widely on family law and policy concerning women and youth in both Germanys and has served as vice-chairwoman of Germany's Association of Democratic Women since 1994.