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Some of my writings

Here are some of my writings on Southeast Asian Cinema that are available online, some in German, some in English. There is more to come. For a more comprehensive list of  books and essays (most of it on media theory and media art, my other area of interest), go here. It has not been updated in a while, though…


Southeast Asian Independent Cinema is chock-full of vibrantly insightful essays, manifestos, and interviews. It is an invaluable resource for those interested in the region—and in a wildly creative generation of filmmakers that deserves to be in the global spotlight.”
Anne Ciecko, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

“Baumgärtel lists himself as the “editor”, but he’s at his best when he’s a tour guide, pointing the way to films and directors who are well known in small circles he’s determined to expand.”
Vincent MacIsaac, Phnom Penh Post (read the whole review here)

More on the website of Hong Kong University Press.

The rise of independent cinema in Southeast Asia, following the emergence of a new generation of filmmakers there, is among the most significant recent developments in global cinema. The advent of affordable and easy access to digital technology has empowered startling new voices from a part of the world rarely heard or seen in international film circles. The appearance of fresh, sharply alternative, and often very personal voices has had a tremendous impact on local film production. This book documents these developments as a genuine outcome of the democratization and liberalization of film production. Contributions from respected scholars, interviews with filmmakers, personal accounts and primary sources by important directors and screenwriters collectively provide readers with a lively account of dynamic film developments in Southeast Asia.

Interviewees include Lav Diaz, Amir Muhammad, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Eric Khoo, Nia Dinata and others.



Sthapatyakam. The Architecture of Cambodia
The last magazine I produced with my students at the Department of Media and Education at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Download it here.

KON. The Cinema of Cambodia
A magazine I produced with my wonderful students at the Royal University of Phnom Penh in 2010.
Download it here.

Dontrey. The Music of Cambodia
Another magazine I produced with my wonderful students at the Royal University of Phnom Penh in 2011.
Download it here.

Kino Sine

Kino-Sine: Philippine-German Cinema Relations

Download the book (PDF, 6,5MB)
Edited by Tilman Baumgärtel
Contributions by Jürgen Brüning, Ditsi Carolino, Lav Diaz, Nick Deocampo, Harun Farocki, Ulrich Gregor, Nan Goldin, Christoph Janetzko, Mark Meily, Ingo Petzke, Rosa von Praunheim, Raymond Red, Roxlee, Werner Schroeter, Bobby Suarez, Kidlat Tahimik, John Torres, Maria Vedder and Michael Wulfes

Published by the Goethe-Institut Manila 2007
Exclusively distributed in the Philippines by Anvil Publishing
ISBN 978-971-27-2025-3

Beginning in the mid-1970’s and continuing through the 1980’s and into the 1990’s, a number of German film directors, theorists and other movie people came to work or teach in the Philippines. Some came because the Goethe-Institut Manila had invited them for workshops and film presentations. Others came at their own expense because they were fascinated by Philippines, which– after the People Power revolution of 1986 that ousted the Marcosregime– exercised its own peculiar kind of magnetism on many Europeans. The workshops “the Germans” conducted and the film screenings they presented were in part responsible for the emergence of an alternative film scene in the Philippines that went on to garner recognition and awards at international film festivals in the 1980s.

This book deals with the “Sine-Kino- Connection”. It documents the beginnings of the experimental and alternative film movement of the 1980s in the Philippines. And, at the same time, it deals with a part of German film history that few people in Germany are aware of. Today a new generation of independent Filipino filmmakers is emerging and once again garnering critical acclaim in the Philippines and abroad. This book provides an historical perspective on the earlier development of experimental, non-mainstream film in the Philippines.

A Conference on Media Piracy and Intellectual Property in Southeast Asia I organized in November 2006
Sponsored by the Goethe Institute, Manila, and the UP Film Institute


Erstaunen und erschauern: das Kino Kambodschas. Ein Überblick/ Thrills and Astonishment: Cambodian Cinema. An Overview

Ein anti-feudalistisches Märchen/An antifeudalist fairy tale

Die asiatische Medusa/The Asian Medusa

Die Werke eines begnadeten Aussenseiters/The cinematic work of an exceptionally gifted outsider

all in: Christoph Terhechte (Hrsg.): 42. Internationales Forum des jungen Films (Katalog), Berlin 2012, 133 – 134, 141 – 142, 144 – 145, 163 – 169,

Doing research in Cambodia: An overview of libraries and archives

Cambodian Communication Review 2011, 61 – 66

Imagined Communities, Imagined Worlds: Independent Film from South East Asia in the Global Mediascape

Transnational Cinemas 1, 2011, 57 – 71

Cambodian Cinema: What to Watch
Phnom Penh Post, Weekend Supplement „7 Days“, 27. 2. 2011, p. 12 – 13

Die Stille nach dem Stunt. Seit Hongkong wieder zu China gehört, bremsen Kapitalflucht, Zensur und Tabus die einst so potente Filmindustrie und selbst Starregisseure wie Johnny To
die tageszeitung, 28. 4. 2011, 15 – 16

The downside of digital
10 reasons why digital video is bad for Philippine Cinema. German media critic plays devil´s advocate
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 24. September 2006, J 2
This article caused quite a controversy among Philippine indie film makers. Here and here are some of the reactions that the Philippine Daily Inquirer published.

Imitation, Indigenization, Assimilation? No, Globalisation! The Cinema of Bobby Suarez
Shin Kim-Dong, Joel David et al. (ed.): Cinema in/on Asia, Gwanju 2006 (Asia Culture Forum), 205 – 233

Interview with Apichatpong Weerasethakul
die tageszeitung, March 26, 2009

Interview with Lav Diaz
die tageszeitung,

Microcinema makes it big
Digital technology offers unique opportunities to Southeast Asian filmmakers
english in Asia Pacific Times
, February 2008
Das kleine Kino Südostasiens
Die digitale Produktionstechnik machts möglich: Das Kino in Südostasien erfindet sich neu. Erst kam die Einmannproduktion, dann die unabhängigen Filmfestivals.
german in die tageszeitung, December 17, 2007

Media Piracy and Independent Cinema in Southeast Asia
in: Lovink, Geert; Sabine Niederer: Video Vortex. Responses to YouTube, Amsterdam 2008 (Institute of Network Cultures), p. 259 – 273
The whole, highly recommended book can be downloaded here.

Ein UFO landet in Singapur
Review of ISEA 2008 in Singapore, die tageszeitung, August 2008

Kino für die ´masa`
Eine hybride Musterehe: Im frühen philippinischen Kino fusionierten Entertainment und Postkolonialismus. In den fünfziger Jahren war dort möglich, was Hollywood sich jetzt erst traut. (A hybrid perfect marriage: Early Philippine cinema  fuses entertainment and post-colonialism.)

Tarantinos Gespür für Schund
Quentin Tarantino, diesjähriger Ehrengast des Filmfestivals von Manila bringt die eigenen philippinischen Großregisseure in Verlegenheit. (Brief piece about a great panel with Quentin Tarantino, Eddie Romero and Ciri Santiago at Cinemanila, the local film festival of Manila. Take a look, even if you do not read German, there is a great picture of Tarantion and Philippine president Gloria Arroyo.)

Ein pan-asiatischer Erfolg
Die TV-Serien, Kino-Melodramen und Komödien aus Südkorea finden ein begeistertes Publikum
A pan-asian success
TV Series, melodramas and comedies from South Korea encounter a enthusiastic audience all over Asia
die tageszeitung, May 8th, 2006

Interviews on txting
Three interviews I conducted in 2004 for an article on the txting mania in the Philippines for the German weekly Die Zeit. The piece has long disappeared from the net, but the interviews are still there.
part one in english
part two in english

Als die Bilder fliessen lernten. Zu der Internet-Serie „Welcome to the Scene“
When the images learned to flow. On the Internet-Serial „Welcome to the Scene“
Backup 2005 Festival: Neue Medien im Film, Weimar 2005
S./p. 52 – 53
S./p.54 – 54
S./p. 55 – 56

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