The Founding Agenda of Tobis.

Merger of the Sound Film Industry

The Founding Agenda of Tobis.

The Founding Agenda of Tobis

Film-Kurier, No. 172, 7/20/1928

On Wednesday afternoon, the Syndicate Hall of the "Kaiserhof" saw a gathering of the prominent representatives of the German sound film industry.
Present, among others, were Director Frischknecht and Ikle Jr. of Triergon; Bolten-Baeckers of Lignose-Hörfilm; Messrs. Koch and Scheffler of Deutscher Tonfilm A.G.; Mr. Dippel of Forest-Film; Dr. Henkel and Mr. Kahn of Küchenmeister; and Mr. Brenninkmeyer and Prof. Karolus of Mihaly-Könemann.
From the side of industry, we saw Director Birnholz of A.E.G.; Director Lüschen of Siemens & Halske; Director Ernemann of Zeiß Ikon A.G., and Drs. Joachim and Löwe.
From the theater companies, we saw Director Gerschel of Ufa; Director Morawsky of Terra; Dr. Wolf for Emelka; General Director Fett of D.L.S.; and Section Head Gieseke of Reichsrundfunk-Ges. Dr. Wolff also represented the German Stage Union.
In principal, all attendees were agreed that the creation of the syndicate is necessary and its implementation should be promoted.
But the difficulties at hand were not underestimated. A resolution was approved.
In order to speed up the preliminary negotiations, a committee was elected consisting of Consul General Brückmann, film pioneer Oskar Meßter, Director Gerschel, Dr. Frankfurter and Dr. H. Böhm.
The working committee immediately called a press conference, which began on Thursday morning at 12 pm and assembled the representatives of the daily and trade papers in the same place. Consul Brückman explained that the Syndicate is faced with the following situation:
any unified action by the powers in charge must take into account whether or not the time for sound film is ripe.

Can we resist the onslaught from abroad? The very strong and fruitful development of German sound film compels us to say yes. But sound film should not be or become a competitor of silent film—on the contrary; but neither should it be an aggregate.
The Syndicate sees its mission in the resolution of the numerous patent disputes, and aims to prevent a reprehensible self-destruction. Without unity, only the ruin of German sound film can be foreseen, and all new ventures shall turn out as badly as the Triergon-Ufa experiment did. Nothing but the idea of standardization can save us from foreign competition; however, cooperation with foreign companies is not long off. Funding shall be set at 10 million marks, but preference shall be given to film groups that have already shown interest.
Nothing new emerged in the discussion; sharp opposition did not take hold.
From an economic point of view, the indicated numbers may have been only a small portion of the price of American sound film, but they were nonetheless too high.
The cautiously estimated, non-binding prices of 3500 and 2000 marks for large and small theaters, respectively, are too high even with the backing from a financing association that is to be founded for the purpose.
Another thing that must be kept in mind is the opposition of the musicians, who fear unemployment and will surely form a rear guard at the proper time, as they have in America. And the questions of the sound film"s direction and screen play have been, for the moment, overlooked, although they are as important as other problems.
The desired standardized system of sound film, which theater owners—ultimately, the definitive authority— will accept without reservation, must of course first be found. From a purely technical point of view, the components of the various systems under consideration are hardly valuable, for—as Meßter also noted in the discussion—a good sound film can be produced using pre-war public-domain patents, with the addition of some public-domain radio patents as well. Given the proposed division into a thousand parts, small improvements by this or that firm should earn few points, notwithstanding the foreseen objections of the respective inventors.
Thus, it seems that neither technical matters nor patent law stands in the way of a format. Only the question of demand shall carry weight. In the face of this question, the theater owner remains the decisive factor.