In Memoriam: Karel Dibbets

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of Karel Dibbets, which occurred in the last days of May. Our thoughts are with his friends and family, and we will remember Karel as a kind and generous colleague who leaves a lasting legacy in our field.

Tributes have already been published and will no doubt continue to appear, as Karel’s work and life connected him to so many others through his teaching, writing, editing, organising, and his cheerful, bright presence at conferences and social events. We invite you to post your remembrances and tributes to Karel in the comments below, to be collected for future events in his memory.

Karel was one of the founding members of the HoMER Project in 2004, and orchestrated its first conference, ‘Cinema in Context’, in 2006 (The keynotes were published in a special edition of Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis). Its title makes reference to the Cinema Context database, which stands as Karel’s most influential project – and indeed a trailblazing one that opened up new ways of researching cinema history. Collecting and systematizing data of film exhibition and distribution in the Netherlands between 1895 and 1940, Cinema Context was one of a handful of digital projects that gave concrete form to the empirically-grounded project of New Cinema History as an emerging field. Karel’s reflections on method and practice (such as his 2010 article on “Cinema Context and the genes of film history”) are key interventions in the effort to construct an interdisciplinary field of study, and have helped many others to structure and develop new projects in many parts of the world.

A very important aspect of Cinema Context, which in a way reflects Karel’s sociability, was its openness. Not only can you view, browse, and search the data – you can download the whole database and useful scripts to run analyses on it, or to collect your own data in a compatible format. This ideal of interconnectivity through shared standards continues to motivate current work within the HoMER Network, and Karel’s absence will be felt on a practical level as well. Fortunately, the University of Amsterdam continues to maintain the database, with Julia Noordegraaf as its curator, thus ensuring that the project continues to develop and transform.

After graduating from the Netherlands Film Academy, he studied economic and social history at the University of Amsterdam where he also wrote his PhD on the coming of sound in the Netherlands. In his nearly 30 years teaching cinema history at the University of Amsterdam (1983-2011) he inspired many students. Karel had also co-edited the Skrien monthly film review and the Jaarboek Mediageschiedenis / Media History Yearbook. His book Film and the First World War, with Bert Hogenkamp, is an essential part of any early cinema bibliography. His books on the coming of sound in the Netherlands and cinema history until 1940 are standard works for Dutch films students. His books and multiple articles on the transition to sound, film distribution and exhibition in the Netherlands, and the relations between film and theatre demonstrated his clarity of analysis and ability to weave together detail and pattern.

Lately Karel had been working on ‘the evergreens of cinema history’, the films that kept coming back to Dutch screens over the decades. Karel’s laughter and conviviality will never be restored to us – but may our memories of our dear friend, and the influence of his work, remain thus ‘evergreen’.

Tributes from friends

In the media:

Please use the Comments below to post your memories and tributes to Karel, or links to notes published elsewhere.

Circuits of Cinema Preliminary Schedule


A HoMER Network Conference
Hosted by the Circuits of Cinema Project
Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
22 to 24 June 2017 (Thursday to Saturday)
Pre-Conference 21 June 2017: Mapping Movies “data-sharing” workshop

We are planning to host 115 presentations by 124 authors or co-authors of research on movie and other media distribution, from all eras and places.

DOWNLOAD the Preliminary Programme (5 Feb 2017)

Circuits of Cinema will be a forum for presentations of historicized or comparative research on movie distribution and media infrastructures of cultural exchange. Presenters should foreground the mechanics and conditions that allow cinema to happen, and should scrutinize the planning and negotiations too often hidden in back offices and filing cabinets. Presenters at Circuits of Cinema will collectively provide a spectrum of critical analysis on aspects of media distribution ranging from classical Hollywood’s global circulation, to histories of local and regional film circuits, to conditions in today’s networked media spaces.

Panels are organized into three sub-themes:

  • A Panels | Chains of Command: Patterns behind Hollywood’s Standard Practices
  • B Panels | Transformative Distribution: Inter-Cultural, Diasporic and Transnational Circuits
  • C Panels | Distributing Alternatives: Circuits to the Social, Aesthetic and Economic Margins

ALSO:New Terrain Keynote Panels | Leading Research by Emerging & Senior Scholars   

Updated Information will be posted at and here.

Members of the Circuits of Cinema Project:
Paul S. Moore, Ryerson University
Sébastien Caquard, Concordia University
Deb Verhoeven, Deakin University
Kathryn Fuller-Seeley, University of Texas-Austin
Jeffrey Klenotic, University of New Hampshire

(Supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Grant 435-2015-0917)

CFP: Circuits of Cinema

We are pleased to publish the Call for Papers for the next HoMER event, hosted by the Circuits of Cinema Project at Ryerson University. Please share widely!

Download Circuits of Cinema CFP

Circuits of Cinema banner

Circuits of Cinema:

Histories of Movie and Media Distribution

A HoMER Network Conference

Hosted by the Circuits of Cinema Project

Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

22 to 24 June 2017 (Thursday to Saturday)

Pre-Conference 21 June 2017: all-day Mapping Movies “data hack”


Deadline to submit 250-300 word abstracts, by email to

Wednesday, 30 November 2016.

As a field of study, histories of movie exhibition and reception have robustly focused on the audience. Movie theatres have been privileged as the setting for cinema’s subjective and collective experience. Scholars have analyzed cinemas’ regulation, heritage, and nostalgia as local institutions. At the same time, the diversity of audiences and venues has become as important as the mainstream. Further, digital projection and preservation have prompted intermedial archaeologies of the boundaries between movies and other media.

Underlying all these cinematic experiences and spaces is film distribution, which can be broadly defined as the circulation of materials and practices across political, economic and cultural territories.

Circuits of Cinema seeks presentations of historicized or comparative research on movie distribution and media infrastructures of cultural exchange. Presenters should foreground the mechanics and conditions that allow cinema to happen, and should scrutinize the planning and negotiations too often hidden in back offices and filing cabinets. Presenters at Circuits of Cinema will collectively provide a spectrum of critical analysis on aspects of media distribution ranging from classical Hollywood’s global circulation, to histories of local and regional film circuits, to conditions in today’s networked media spaces.

Circuits of Cinema aims to be inclusive of a diversity of perspectives. Especially welcome are studies from the social and geopolitical periphery; studies of the gendered, racialized, and discriminatory results of distribution practices; and, studies from new scholars and doctoral students.

Presentation topics include, but are not limited to, the following themes and topics:

Mapping Territories of Movie and Media Exhibition

  • Booking and Zoning: Hollywood’s Standard Exhibition Contract
  • Diasporic cinemas & international import/export patterns
  • Alternative, Underground, Art film, and Non-theatrical Markets & Circuits

The material conditions of mediated cultural and social exchange

  • Theatrical Suppliers, Servicing & the Labour of Sales People
  • Itinerant Exhibitors’ Circuits and Exchange Territories
  • Read it! Hear it! Own It! Intermedial Distribution movie-radio-tv-novel-toys-etc.

The circulation of movie and media experience

  • Coming Soon! Advertising, Advance Publicity and Delayed Gratification
  • Now Playing Everywhere! Wide Release & Blockbuster Marketing
  • Held Over! Roadshow and Showcase Releasing


Deadline is Wednesday, 30 November 2016, to submit presentation proposals.

Send abstracts of 250 to 300 words, plus 3 or 4 bibliographic entries, and a 50-word academic biography to conference host, Paul S. Moore,

Updated Information will be posted at


Members of the Circuits of Cinema Project:

Paul S. Moore, Ryerson University; Sébastien Caquard, Concordia University;

Deb Verhoeven, Deakin University; Kathryn Fuller-Seeley, University of Texas-Austin;

Jeffrey Klenotic, University of New Hampshire


Confirmed speakers include:

Judith Thissen, Utrecht University; Richard Maltby, Flinders University

Eric Hoyt, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Gregory Waller, Indiana University

New coordinators

Dear colleagues and friends,

As announced at the HoMER General Meeting in Potsdam, July 2016, Lies Van de Vijver and myself (Maria Velez-Serna) are passing on the baton as coordinators of the HoMER Network. It has been a real privilege and pleasure to work with this extraordinary community, and we thank you all for the opportunity and for your support.

We are also very pleased to welcome two new coordinators, as elected by the membership:

Dr. Clara Pafort-Overduin (Utrecht), a HoMER founding member with extensive scholarship on film exhibition and distribution in the Netherlands:

Dr. Daniela Treveri Gennari (Oxford Brookes), a leading researcher on historical cinema audiences and part of the DICIS (Digital Cinema Studies) project:

Over to Clara and Daniela – with much gratitude and best wishes!

HoMER @ NECS 2016 ::: Programme

The full programme for this year’s conference of the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies is now available, including thirteen HoMER panels. Please visit the conference homepage for further information about the event, pre-conferences, location, and so on.

The HoMER strand within the conference was selected and programmed by our own committee and advisory panel, but it is fully integrated into NECS (as has been in previous years), and open to everyone. The abstracts for all HoMER papers can be seen here: HoMER@NECS 2016 – Abstracts

While we won’t have a HoMER pre-conference, there are three HoMER-specific events:

  • Sightseeing boat trip (Wednesday 27th July, 1pm)
  • HoMER General meeting (Thursday 28th July, 6pm)
  • ‘Connecting the dots’ workshop by Jeff Klenotic (Saturday 30th July, 11am)

HoMER colleagues will also be interested to hear that Prof Deb Verhoeven is one of the conference’s keynote speakers.

With all this activity, we are confident that this year’s HoMER meeting will be engaging, productive, and fun. See you in Potsdam!

Call for Papers: Connectivity in the History of Moviegoing, Exhibition and Reception

HoMER@NECS Conference 2016, Potsdam, Germany, 26–30 July 2016

Hosted by ZeM – Brandenburgisches Zentrum für Medienwissenschaften (Brandenburg Center for Media Studies), Potsdam, Germany

Deadline for proposals: 31 January 2016

Following two consecutive joint conferences in Prague (2013) and Milan (2014), HoMER is teaming up with NECS again to offer a strand of panels at the 2016 NECS conference in Potsdam, Germany. Similar to previous such events this will include a pre-conference day with HoMER keynote speakers and workshops (details tbc). NECS (Network for European Cinema Studies) is a dynamic forum supporting researchers working on film and media theory, practice and history. Bringing together cinema historians from all over the world, HoMER (History of Movie-Going, Exhibition and Reception) is an international network interested in understanding the phenomena of cinema and cinema-going from a multidisciplinary perspective. One of HoMER’s main purposes is to facilitate connections between acclaimed and aspiring researchers and the multitude of academic disciplines they represent.

After last year’s conference in Glasgow mapped out the territory for cinema historians by asking ‘What is Cinema History?’ this year’s Call for Papers focuses on connectivity. Cinema as a social and cultural institution has enabled connectivity between people, social groups, industries, media, etc. in many different ways in the past and we welcome papers and panels that accentuate this aspect of cinema history. We seek submissions of individual papers or pre-constituted panel proposals from existing HoMER members and anyone interested in collaborative and comparative research into historical and contemporary film exhibition, distribution and experience.

Possible topics for paper proposals are:

  • Comparative perspectives: connecting national, regional and local research and databases on exhibition and cinema-going
  • Theoretical perspectives: film exhibition, cinema-going and film experience in relation to theories of actor-networks, imperialism, post-colonialism, diaspora, cinema and modernity, etc.
  • Contrasting perspectives: tensions between commercial and ideological film exhibition, urban and rural cinemas, film distribution and exhibition in provinces and regions, the global nature of the film industry and the local experience of cinema-going, etc.
  • Institutional perspectives: geographical location and programming trends, the “top down” forces of industry, commerce and ideology vs. “bottom up” forces of experience, the practices of distribution networks, cinema chains and film exhibition circuits, etc.
  • Social and spatial perspectives: comparative audience experiences in urban and rural contexts, contesting concepts of public and private space in media experience, cinema’s metropolitan modernity vs. cinema’s ability to connect communities in less urbanized and rural areas
  • Diachronic perspectives: the rise of cinemas in rural and urban environments, the boom of cinema-going, the decay and subsequent closure of provincial and neighbourhood cinemas, the rise of multiplexes, etc.

Please submit abstracts for individual papers of no more than 300 words with a biographical note of no more than 100 words to before 31 January 2016. For pre-constituted panels and workshops, please send abstracts together with a 200-word note on the title and topic of the panel or workshop.

You will be notified of the acceptance or decline of your proposal by the beginning of April 2016. Pease note, if you are accepted and would like to register for the conference, you will be asked to become a member of NECS and pay the membership fee of 30 Euro by the end of April 2016.

HoMER@NECS Coordinating Team 2016: Julia Bohlmann, Annemone Ligensa, Lies Van de Vijver, Maria Velez-Serna – with the kind support of the HoMER conference committee.

Scholarships at Brandenburg Center for Media Studies

(Posted on behalf of Dr. Annemone Ligensa)

The Brandenburg Center for Media Studies (Brandenburgisches Zentrum für Medienwissenschaften, ZeM), in Potsdam, Germany, is inviting submissions for three doctoral scholarships and one post-doctoral scholarship, beginning October 1, 2015.  The proposed projects must be clearly related to one or more of the following research fields: a) media aesthetics and artistic practice; b) media history and cultural memory; c) digitality and materiality of media; d) media narration and media use.

The deadline for applications is August 24, 2015.

Click here for full text and application details.

Further information: or

‘What is Cinema History?’ Programme and Welcome

The HoMER Network and the Early Cinema in Scotland project are proud to present ‘What is Cinema History?’, an international conference taking place in Glasgow, 22-24 June 2015.

The full programme is now available here.

For the convenience of delegates, the map below indicates the conference venues and some nearby amenities. We hope your travel plans go smoothly and look forward to seeing you in Glasgow.

‘What is Cinema History’ Draft programme available

The Early Cinema in Scotland research project and the HoMER Network conference committee are pleased to present the draft programme for the forthcoming conference, ‘What is Cinema History?’, June 22-24, 2015.

Download PDF:

What is Cinema History Programme Draft

Registration for the conference is open until 15 May.

Online registration form

Further details about social events, workshops, and organisational discussions will be posted soon.