Importing Asta Nielsen Database (IANDb) features some 16,000 sets of data on the global distribution and exhibition of the 27 long feature films starring Asta Nielsen released before the First World War. The Database includes facsimiles of articles on Asta Nielsen and of reviews of those 27 Asta Nielsen films by journalists as well as facsimiles of advertisements and of other promotional material published by film renters in the trade press and by exhibitors in the local press of more than twenty countries.
The database is designed as a tool for local, national and comparative international research into the making of the first transnational film star of the long feature film, nearly unrivalled in many countries in the cinema seasons 1911/12 and 1912/13. Together with the diva films starring Sarah Bernhardt or Lyda Borelli, the three Asta Nielsen film series before the First World War were crucial for the emergence of the film star system in connection with the introduction of the long feature film as the standard format of cinema entertainment throughout the 20th century.
Importing Asta Nielsen Database (IANDb) is closely connected with the research project “Asta Nielsen – the International Film Star and the Emergence of the Star System 1911 to 1914”, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) from 2018 to 2022 and carried out by Philipps University Marburg (Yvonne Zimmermann) and University of Trier (Martin Loiperdinger). This project takes Asta Nielsen, the first transnational film star of the long feature film, as an exemplary case to study the transition from the program of shorts to feature film exhibition. In May 1911, a ground-breaking business model was contracted in Frankfurt am Main that included blind and block booking of the three Asta Nielsen film series, exclusive exhibition rights, and the use of the film star as a brand: thus, it anticipated the international star system of the following decades. The main goal of the project is to retrieve the facts & figures of the marketing campaigns of the Asta Nielsen film series during the seasons 1911/12, 1912/13 and 1913/14 on the home markets Germany and Austria-Hungary as well as on the foreign markets Great Britain and Australia & New Zealand. For research results of the project see Special Issue: Asta Nielsen, the Film Star System and the Introduction of the Long Feature Film, edited by Yvonne Zimmermann. Early Popular Visual Culture 19.2-3 (2021) and Friederike Grimm’s Dissertation Asta Nielsen Starserien: Monopolvertrieb und Aufführung in Deutschland und Österreich-Ungarn 1911-1914 (forthcoming 2023).
Importing Asta Nielsen Database (IANDb) emerged from the international conference “Importing Asta Nielsen – Cinema-going and the Making of the Star System in the Early 1910s” that took place at the German Film Museum in Frankfurt, 27 to 29 September 2011, hosted by Deutsches Filminstitut / Filmmuseum (DFF) and funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the University of Trier. The proceedings are published in: Martin Loiperdinger, Uli Jung, eds. Importing Asta Nielsen – The International Film Star in the Making 1910-1914. KINtop Studies in Early Cinema, vol 2 (New Barnet: John Libbey, 2013).
The database provides a wide range of options to access printed sources from more than twenty countries. Users may start their research into the database from different points of interest: They may search for film titles (original titles or distribution titles in a certain country), for specific dates (e.g. a certain programming season or month) or localities (cities, countries), or for individuals involved in the production, distribution, exhibition, and reception of those 27 long feature films starring Asta Nielsen in the lead role.
Users are invited to contribute archival material to the database. Texts and advertisements to be included in IANDb must be legible, at least. Any item sent to us for publication should clearly indicate the source.
This is EDITION 07 of the database, dated July 2022. In addition to some 16,000 metadata enriched facsimiles of advertisements and articles, users will find a short guide to metadata content, a filmography of the 27 Asta Nielsen films released before the First World War (including release dates and dates of first screenings), a research bibliography and a bibliography of texts on Asta Nielsen published between 1910 and 1914.