Berlinale: Press Releases

Press Releases 2006

Selling Democracy

Jan 30, 2006:
Selling Democracy Presents Booklet and DVD Edition

The Berlinale is concluding its three-year series on the Marshall Plan with two publications: the DVD edition “Selling Democracy – The Films of the Marshall Plan” and the booklet “Selling Democracy – Friendly Persuasion”.

The DVD shows how the vision of a free, confident and democratic Europe was propagated in countless film productions. Taking an entertaining and/or educational approach, they illuminate how people could learn to help themselves. Also documented is the Soviet Union’s and the GDR’s counter-propaganda in response to the Marshall Plan. These films attempt to discredit the aid offered to Western Europe and to immunize people ideologically against their political adversaries. This DVD edition about the Marshall Plan films takes a comprehensive look at the polarized situation in the post-war era and gives an idea of people’s hopes for a better future.

Selling Democracy – The Films of the Marshall Plan” includes 23 short films from 1948 to 1953 and a detailed description. It was published by the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb) in collaboration with the Berlinale, the German Historical Museum and the Federal Film Archive. It is primarily intended for teaching history and politics in schools and adult education courses. Soon it will be available via a link at

In the booklet “Selling Democracy – Friendly Persuasion”, David Ellwood summarizes the Marshall Plan policy and examines European films which ironically explore the “Americanisation” of Europe. Sandra Schulberg remarks on the controversy revolving around A Foreign Affair (Billy Wilder, 1948), a film which seemed particularly problematic to the film department of the Marshall Plan administration. Frank Mehring documents other examples of disagreement on the orientation of the Marshall Plan film programme. Jeanpaul Goergen and Günter Agde present films from East and West Germany, and their different perspectives on the policy of “Americanization”. The bilingual pamphlet (German/English) will be distributed free of charge to visitors of the film series.

On February 10 at 6 p.m., bpb president Thomas Krüger, David Ellwood, from the University of Bologna, and Rainer Rother, curator of Selling Democracy, will present this historical film edition at the Filmmuseum/Filmhaus at Potsdamer Platz (1st floor).

Press Office

January 27, 2006