SOUND CINEMA 1929-1933





Currently a graduate student at the Department of Germanic Languages at UCLA, Andreas-Benjamin Seyfert received his B.A. in English and German Literatures from the University of Geneva. Working both within and outside the academic context, he has acquired experience in creative and academic writing, teaching and the arts more generally.





The aim of this project is to build a database that will provide comprehensive information about all feature sound films produced in the times of the Weimar Republic from 1929 to 1933.

Once the data is organized in the specific digital landscape designed for this database, it will be able to serve as a “digital notebook,” organized in such a way that it will provide a structured space to critically interpret, evaluate and analyze bibliographic sources dealing with the films and people linked up in the base, creating an interactive platform to productively take notes while making it easier to switch from data analyses at a micro-level to a macro-level in the matter of a few clicks.





The finished database will constitute the solid basis of primary and secondary sources (data about the people involved and the films themselves, a summary of previous arguments made by scholars) and a way to engage them directly through one's own work (responses, comments and notes) which will be all integrated into one extensive pool of information.


Developed on Airtable, the database so far integrates only all-talking German-language fiction features shot at least in part on German soil. Depending on how the project evolves, one could expand it to incorporate a broader range of films.





This section of the website keeps you informed about the progress of the database and various ideas associated with it.


The most basic data having been entered into my database, I decided to try and visualize it in a meaningful way.

(Ben Seyfert 3/2/2017 // Development)


The failed attempt to map 1931 Berlin, paying close attention to where the theaters were located in which the talkies premiered.

(Ben Seyfert 3/1/2017 // Experiment)


A grand-scale DH project that started as an open access initiative led by David Pierce and Eric Hoyt (University of Wisconsin-Madison) now presents a rich array of digitized collections of classic media periodicals.

(Ben Seyfert 2/27/2017 // Resource)


An exciting new development for the Weimar Talkies Project is the first digitization test of the Film-Kurier critical reviews. The good news is: it works. The bad news is: it takes time.

(Ben Seyfert // 2/3/2017 // Development)


Using the German DVD subtitles for Der blaue Engel and the Gutenberg edition of Heinrich Mann’s Professor Unrat, I decided to see what one could extract from the texts using the digital text analysis tool Voyant.

(Ben Seyfert // 1/26/2017 // Experiment)


The idea of using information gathered in the "People" section in order to create a map of the presence of artists active during the Weimar sound cinema era (1929-1933) had been on my mind from the very beginning. However, I did not wish to limit myself to the emigration of Jews forced into exile in the period following the Rise of the Nazis (as it is more generally detailed for all Jews in the map above). That was intended to be only a subsection of the movement I wanted to depict.

(Ben Seyfert // 1/22/2017 // Development)


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