CfP for a Special Publication of Apparatus. Film, Media and Digital Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe


CfP: Pandemic Movies in Central and Eastern European Film and Television

Guest edited by Raoul Eshelman, Mario Slugan, and Denise J. Youngblood

In the wake of the global outbreak of Covid-19, interest in films thematizing pandemics has surged in entertainment press and on streaming services alike with advice on which pandemic movies to watch during lockdown proliferating. Contagion (Steven Soderbergh, 2011), a film about an outbreak of an airborne virus not unlike Covid-19, has crystalized as the most popular among pandemic films by topping the HBO Now most viewed list in the first two weeks of March and currently sitting at number 38 of the IMDb most popular movies list. But there are, of course, other movies that have thematized pandemics. Within the regional remit of our journal, Variola vera (Goran Marković, 1982), a film depicting the last major outbreak of smallpox in Europe (i.e., Yugoslavia), comes immediately to mind. We can even track the subject matter to as far back as Die Pest in Florenz/The Plague in Florence (Otto Rippert, 1919) tackling the first outbreaks of the Black Death in 1348. Most recently, the Thessaloniki Film Festival commissioned 22 filmmakers to produce shorts about the lockdown experience. In order to understand how pandemics have been depicted on screen hitherto and what changes might the outbreak bring, Apparatus invites contribution for a Special Issue focusing on Pandemic Movies in Central and Eastern European Film and Television. Topics may include but are by no means limited to:


-       Close readings of specific films thematizing pandemics

-       Common features of pandemic movies

-       Relationship of pandemic films to established genres (horror, science-fiction, historical drama, etc.)

-       Are pandemic movies a genre, subgenre, cycle?

-       History of pandemic movies

-       Thematizing pandemics in documentaries vs. in fiction film

-       Pandemics in medical films

-       Representational challenges that pandemics pose

-       Ethical issues in representing pandemics

-       Pandemic movies and national outbreaks

-       Cultural importance of films thematizing pandemics

-       The changes to national and regional film industries (production, distribution, exhibition) during and following the Covid-19 outbreak

-       Responses of film festivals to Covid-19


The publication is scheduled for publication in late 2020/early 2021.

Please send abstracts of 300 to 500 words (in English, German or Russian), together with the title, up to 5 references, a short bio, contact details and institutional affiliation to the guest editors of the Special Issue of Apparatus at for initial selection. Although we ask for abstracts in English German or Russian, in line with the Apparatus policy to publish articles in all the languages of Central and Eastern Europe articles selected based on abstracts may be in any languages of the region. Selected articles should be 6000-8000 words in length. They will undergo an editorial and double-blind peer reviewed process before final acceptance. (Selection of an abstract for development into a full article does not guarantee publication.)

Deadlines for abstracts: 19 June 2020

Notifications of acceptance: 29 June 2020

Deadlines for full articles:  2 October 2020