I just enjoyed my first day at the conference of the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS). On Saturday, I will present some results of the research I did in Amsterdam earlier this year, on Dutch-Belgian film relations. The conference is organized in Potsdam, which is not only an interesting city because of its 18th century royal history and architecture, but also because it is the home of the famous Babelsberg Film Studio. Founded in 1912, this film studio was home to various Weimar cinema classics and is still one of the biggest and most active film studios in Europe.
NECS celebrates its 10th anniversary at Potsdam, but a shadow is hanging over this conference’s edition, as many Turkish scholars are absent due to the limitations on academic freedom imposed by the Turkish government after the failed coup attempt. Another worrying hot conversation topic is the possible impact of the Brexit referendum result on European scholarly co-operations with the UK in the near future. Nevertheless, being together with so many excellent scholars willing to get to know each other and learn from each other’s work creates a very welcome antipode to those alarming tendencies. Perhaps it was this mood that Professor Vinzenz Hediger referred to during a roundtable discussion, when he quoted the painter Francis Bacon: ‘I am profoundly optimistic about nothing in particular.’