Films That Work Harder
Films That Work Harder
The Circulation of Industrial Film
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Introduction: A sequel, and a shift – Vinzenz Hediger, Florian Hoof, Yvonne Zimmermann
Section 1 : Networks and Flows: Visualizing Value Chains
Vinzenz Hediger: The Aesthetics of the Global Value Chain. Container Shipping, Media Networks and the Problem of Visibility in the Global Sphere of Circulation
Lee Grieveson: Object Lessons and Infrastructural Imperialism
Thomas Turnbull: Energy and Industrial Film: energo-critical registers
Florian Hoof: The Afterlife of Industrial Film: Weak Dispositives, Choice Architecture, and the Contemporary Circulation of Industrial Cinema
Section 2: Operative Iconographies, Industry and the Nation State
Ira Plein: Beautiful Luxembourg, Steel Works, and a Swimming Pool. The Corporate Film Columeta and the Formation of a Corporate and a National Image.
Lucie Cesalkova: Hydropower for a Sealess Nation. Representation of Water Energy in Czech Visual Culture
Zimmer: Modern Water Sprites. History, Nature, and Landscape in Vattenfall’s Film Production in the 1950s
Takuya Tsunoda: Taxonomy of Techniques: Visions of Industrial Cinema in Postwar Japan
Yvonne Zimmermann: The Power of Flows: The Spatiality of Industrial Films on Hydropower in Switzerland
Section 3: Institutions and Distribution Frameworks: Archives, Festivals, Fairs
Steve Foxon: Industry on Screen: The British Documentary in Distribution. British Transport Films – A Case Study
Brian Jacobson: On the Red Carpet in Rouen: Industrial Film Festivals and a World Community of Film Makers
Haidee Wasson: Cinema and Industrial Design: Showmanship, Fairs and the Exhibition Film.
Section 4: Teaching Oneself and Others
Gregory A. Waller: Putting Films to Work: System, The Magazine for Business
Charles Acland: New Media for the Schools of Tomorrow. The A.V. Instructional Films of Robert W. Wagner
Guillherme Machado: We Must Know More than We Can See: Databases of Vocational Training and the Emergence of Cognitive Ergonomics
Scott Anthony: Free enterprise film: Aims of Industry, economic propaganda and the development of a neoliberal cinema Section 5: Post/Colonial Industries and Third Industrial Cinemas
Rudmer Canjels: Framing Local and International Sentiments and Sounds. Unilever and Royal Dutch Shell in a Changing Nigeria.
Tom Rice: Working Through the End of Empire
Ravi Vasudevan: Cinema-going on the Railway Tracks: Transportation, Circulation and Exhibition of Information Film in Colonial India
Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky: The Latin American Process Film.
Section 6 : Production Cultures and/of the Industrial Film: Amateurs and Professionals
Maria Vinogradova: Soviet Industrial Film Across Categories: Negotiating Between Utility, Art and Science
Luca Peretti: “There exists no life more daring and adventuresome than that of an oil drigger”.
Alexander Stark: Industrial Film from the Home Studio: Amateur Cinema and Low Budget Corporate Moving Image Culture in West Germany, from 1950 – 1977
Anna Maria Falchero: Movie and Industry in Italy: The “Golden Age” of Italian Industrial Documentary (1950-1970)
Alain Michel: A Film that Doesn’t Seem to Work: A Shot of Renault’s Early Assembly Line (1920 to 1929). A Case Study, Methodology and 3D Restitution for Film Analysis
Section 7: Ephemeral Artistry: Ecologies of Authorship in Industrial Cinema
Christian Bonah: Business and Art: Pharmaceutical Industries, Film Production and Circulation, and the French Film Production Company ScienceFilm, 1960-1980.
Patrick Russell: Transfer of Power: films officers in the British coal industry
Martin Stollery: Saudi Arabia’s John Ford? Robert Yarnall Richie, Desert Venture and Ephemeral Authorship in Industrial Film.
Annette Davison: Sounds Industrial: Understanding the Contribution of Music and Sound in Industrial Films
Alessandro Cecchi: Creative Films for Creative Corporations.

Films That Work Harder

The Circulation of Industrial Film

What unleashed the forces of global capitalism which continue to shape the world that we live in? Economists and economic historians variously point to innovations in logistics and trade, the emergence of a new set of business-friendly values and the emergence of new forms of applied knowledge in early modernity to solve this riddle. This book focuses on the moving image as a factor of economic development. In a series of in-depth cases studies at the intersection of film and media studies, science and technology studies and economic and social history, Films That Work Harder: The Circulations of Industrial Film presents an in-depth, global perspective on the dynamic relationship between film, industrial organization and economic development. Bringing together new research from leading scholars from Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, this book combines the state of the art in the field with an agenda for a future research.

Vinzenz Hediger

Vinzenz Hediger is professor of cinema studies at Goethe University Frankfurt, where he directs the Graduate Research Training Program Configurations of film ( His publications include Films that Work. Industrial Film and the Productivity of Media (Amsterdam University Press 2009, with Patrick Vonderau) and Essays zur Filmphilosophie (Fink 2015, with Lorenz Engell, Oliver Fahle and Christiane Voss). He is a co-founder of NECS – European Network of Cinema and Media Studies ( and the founding editor of Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft (

Florian Hoof

Florian Hoof is currently Professor of Media Systems and Media Organization at Paderborn University. He is the author of Angels of Efficiency. A Media History of Consulting (Oxford University Press, 2020) and co-author of Culture, Technology, and Process in ‘Media Theories’: Toward a Shift in the Understanding of Media in Organizational Research. In: >cite>Organization, 2019, Vol. 26(5),

Yvonne Zimmermann

Yvonne Zimmermann is Professor of Media Studies at Philipps-University Marburg. Recent books include the co-authored Advertising and the Transformation of Screen Cultures>/cite> (AUP 2021) and the co-edited Films That Work Harder: The Global Circulations of Industrial Cinema (AUP 2023). She is the editor of a special issue on Asta Nielsen, the film star system and the introduction of the long feature film in Early Popular Visual Culture (2021).

Scott Anthony

Scott Anthony is currently Deputy Head of Research & Public History at the Science Museum Group. His books include Shell: Art and Advertising (2021), Public Relations and the Making of Modern Britain (2012), The Projection of Britain: A History of the GPO Film Unit (2011) and Night Mail (2007). The Story of Propaganda Film (2024) is forthcoming with BFI/Bloomsbury.