CFP: 20th NECS Graduate Workshop 2023 “Festival Cultures: New Ways to Study Networks, Circulation & Canon Production”

Call for Papers
20th NECS Graduate Workshop
Festival Cultures: New Ways to Study Networks, Circulation & Canon Production
February 14-15, 2023
Hosted by Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF, Potsdam, Germany
Keynote speaker: Aida Vallejo

Deadline for submissions: November 1, 2022

Festival Cultures: New Ways to Study Networks, Circulation & Canon Production

Throughout the decades the number of film festivals has increased all over the world, contributing to the emergence of “new cinemas”, to making and shaping film history, and to the production and formation of (trans)national film canons (Vallejo 2020), and discovering new talent. They are a place for developing (trans)national networks of different actors – filmmakers, programmers, film critics, etc. – who contribute to shaping film cultures and the film industry (De Valck 2007). The exponential growth of the amount of film festivals worldwide has not gone unnoticed, contributing to the emergence of a specific area of scholarly interest: the field of film festival studies, which has gained strength and status, focusing entirely on understanding the functions, history and role of film festivals from within different scholarly fields (De Valck & Loist 2009; Iordanova & Rhyne 2009).

The 20th NECS Graduate Workshop seeks to explore new ways to study film festival networks, the circulation of knowledge, films, experiences, and the production of film canons within those networks. To this end, we consider it necessary to reevaluate different interdisciplinary methodologies and explore new ways to analyze film festivals as an integral part of film cultures. In light of the rapid technological progress, we must ask ourselves not only what is to be gained from these methods, but also what their limits are and how we can make these limits transparent and productive for a fruitful scholarship.

The study of film festivals and film culture at large presents methodological challenges. In recent years, new interdisciplinary methods that go beyond the classic film studies canon have been applied ranging from anthropology to social sciences (Vallejo & Peirano 2017), tourism, urban studies and qualitative analysis. The global history approach, with its focus on tracing back the transnational exchange of knowledge while taking into account hierarchies and power structures marked by Eurocentrism (Conrad 2016), offers tools to decolonize and question the taken-for-grantedness of the historical narratives, film canon included. With a recent turn to digital methods, new quantitative approaches have surfaced, especially relying on Digital Humanities tools for data collection and the visualization of research outputs and datasets, mostly through the mapping of networks and/or circulation of films or actors within the various film festivals networks (Loist 2022; Vanhaelemeesch 2021).

In our two-day workshop we want to mobilize multiple perspectives for the analysis of film festivals, where the following questions will be central for the discussion:

  • Which tools can help us analyze larger questions of film and festival culture?
  • What methods are needed and/or useful?
  • What can data collection, data analysis and a Digital Humanities’ perspective offer?
  • Which interactive approaches or results can be used?
  • How can one approach oral history in order to understand the ephemeral nature of such events?
  • How can we analyze the impact of a film program as a (curated) program beyond the individual films?
  • How can the touring of festival programs and its transfer of knowledge and experience be analyzed?
  • How can the global history approach be applied to film festival studies?

The workshop will take place in the form of in-depth conversations based on papers, which should be submitted and circulated ideally two weeks prior to the workshop. The presenters are invited to give brief 15 min presentations to prompt the discussion of the material with fellow early career researchers and a senior respondent within small panels.

Confirmed keynote: Aida Vallejo (University of the Basque Country) “Documentary Film Ecosystems. Mapping Festivals, Institutes and Networks”

Confirmed senior festival studies scholars in attendance: Marijke de Valck (Utrecht University), María Paz Peirano (Universidad de Chile), Senem Duruel Erkılıç (Mersin University), Skadi Loist (Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF).

Submissions may include, but are not limited to, the following research fields/topics:

  • Film festivals networks & circuits
  • Film Circulation
  • Digital approaches/methodologies to film festival research
  • Event analysis
  • Film festival history
  • Film festivals and oral history
  • Film festivals and global history
  • Data analysis
  • (Trans)national networks of production and distribution of cinema
  • Micro-histories of film festivals
  • Film festivals and the global film market
  • Film festivals and transnational distribution and production
  • Film festivals and digital platforms
  • Film Festival Cartographies
  • Curating as world-making
  • Film canon: production, circulation, historization


Early-career researchers from cinema, visual and media studies are invited to submit proposals for contributions by November 1, 2022 to and The submission should include the name and affiliation of the speaker/participant, an email address, a title and abstract for the paper (max. 300 words with up to 5 references) and a short bio (max. 150 words). Notification for participants will be sent out by November 21, 2022.

The 20th NECS Graduate Workshop is held in English and is planned as an in-person event only, taking place in presence in Potsdam. The workshop (February 14-15, 2023) is timed to take place right before the Berlin International Film Festival (February 16-26, 2023) so that people can easily attend the festival afterwards. Participants will need to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. Travel information, as well as a list of affordable hotels and other accommodation will be provided. Workshop attendance is free, but valid NECS membership is required to participate. Participants must register with NECS at For the terms of NECS membership, please also refer to our website:

Please address all inquiries to and

20th NECS Graduate Workshop organizers:
Lucy Pizaña, Maja Korbecka, Skadi Loist

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