TV Series and the Public Memory of Colonia Dignidad. An interdisciplinary Conversation & Screening about the German-Chilean TV Series “Dignity”

Sep 07, 2023  | 6:00 - 8:00pm ET

Discussion and Screening at the Goethe-Institut Washington | Speakers: María Elena Wood, Andreas Gutzeit, Stefan Rinke, Holle Meding

Join the Goethe-Institut for an interdisciplinary conversation and screening about the German-Chilean TV Series Dignity, organized by the research project GUMELAB (History Transfer through Entertainment Media in Latin America. Laboratory for Memory and Digital Media Research) of the Freie Universität Berlin and the German Historical Institute.

Telenovelas and TV series dealing with Latin America's contemporary history transmit public memory and political values beyond the borders of the region of the Americas. A prominent case is Colonia Dignidad, a German-Chilean Sect, funded 1961 in Chile, which is notorious for human rights violations, like child abuse and the internment and torture of dissidents during Chile’s military dictatorship in the 1970s till 1990s. The way Colonia Dignidad is represented in Telenovelas, TV series and other media forms has the ability to affect memory of audiences and the public at large on different levels. Join us for a conversation between producers and researchers about the German-Chilean Production Dignity (Joyn 2019 - Mega, 2020). María Elena Wood (creator and executive producer, Wood Producciones, Chile), Andreas Gutzeit (Headwriter and executive producer, Story House Productions, Germany) and Stefan Rinke (Freie Universität Berlin, GUMELAB) will discuss the relationship between fiction and reality. In which way has Colonia Dignidad been represented in this production and how can it influence the perception of the audience at large? What role does fiction play in memory processes of the past? Why are TV series like Dignity important for the establishment of a common narrative of the Colonia Dignidad in Chile, Germany and beyond? The event will be moderated by Holle Meding (Freie Universität Berlin, GUMELAB).

Part of the GUMELAB conference hosted by the German Historical Institute “Latin America's Contested Pasts in Telenovelas and TV Series. A Cross-Sector Dialogue between Academia, Entertainment and Society and a series of events on Public Memory and Memorial Culture organized jointly by the Goethe Institut Washington and the German Historical Institute Washington. The event is free and open to the public.


María Elena Wood is a Chilean director, documentary filmmaker and producer. She worked as creator and executive producer in the German-Chilean TV series Dignity (Joyn 2019 - Mega, 2020) in partnership with Invercine (Invercine & Wood). She was the executive producer of the award- winning TV series News of a Kidnapping, produced for Amazon Studies (2022). Her production company Wood Producciones produces content for different markets, with international clients like Amazon Studies, ZDF Enterprises, The Mediapro Studio US Hispanics and Chilean TV channels such as TVN and Mega Media.

Andreas Gutzeit is a German writer, producer, director and co-founder of the production company Story House Production, where he works as Chief Creative Officer and Managing Director. He worked as headwriter and executive producer in the German-Chilean TV series Dignity (Joyn 2019 - Mega, 2020). He also worked as executive producer, headwriter and showrunner in the historical drama series Sisi (ORF, RTL, RTL+, TVNOW, 2022). Story House Production produced content for clients like Discovery, National Geographic, PBS, CBC, Channel 4, Smithsonian Channel, ZDF, ProSieben und RTL.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Rinke is a historian with special focus on Latin American History. He is the project leader of GUMELAB and gives lectures as well as seminars at the Institute for Latin American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. He is especially interested in Latin America’s role in Global History and in questions of cultural globalization.

Holle Meding is PhD-Candidate in history in the GUMELAB project. Her research encompasses the influence of state and market interests on historical narratives in TV series, as well as the transmission of historical knowledge and political values. Her research focus lies on TV series about the Chilean military dictatorship.