CfP Reframing Film Festivals: Histories, Economies, Cultures

Call for Papers
Reframing Film Festivals: Histories, Economies, Cultures
International Film Studies Conference
Venice, 11-12 February, 2020
Bari, 25-26 March, 2020

Abstract Proposal Deadline: 15 October 2019

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

  • Gian Piero Brunetta, Università degli Studi di Padova
  • Gian Battista Canova, IULM Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione
  • Marijke de Valck, Utrecht University
  • Jean-Michel Frodon, Sciences-Po
  • Dina Iordanova, University of St Andrews
  • Roy Menarini, Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna
  • Dorota Ostrowska, Birkbeck, University of London

Throughout the 2000s the number of film festivals has increased all over the world at a tremendous pace. In 2019 FilmFreeway lists about eight thousand festivals as currently active, about twice the amount of less than a decade ago. Various factors prompted such a terrific growth, such as: festivals orchestrating the (trans)national production and distribution of cinema (Acciari and Menarini 2014; Iordanova 2015; Loist 2014; Wong 2011); festivals pivotally stimulating the touristic and economic development of their hosting community (Ercolano, Gaeta and Parenti 2017; Fischer 2013; Moretti and Zirpoli 2016); festivals acting as cultural arbiters of taste and quality (Bills 1994; Di Chiara and
Re 2011; Sassatelli 2011); etc. The scale of festivals today has not passed unnoticed, contributing to the emergence of a specific area of scholarly interest. In the last decade, the field of film festival studies has gained strength and status, focusing entirely on understanding the functions, the history and the role of film festivals (de Valck 2007; Elsaesser 2005; Iordanova 2013).

Reframing Film Festivals: Histories, Economies and Cultures – the conference organised by the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and the Aldo Moro University of Bari, in collaboration with the the Apulia Film Commission, the Consulta Universitaria Cinema, and the Associazione Italiana per le Ricerche di Storia del Cinema – seeks to contribute to this field of research through a series of roundtables and debates involving film critics, practitioners and scholars. In particular, the conference is aimed at (re)framing the understanding of these institutions and their nature by proposing three approaches, different but interweaved:

  • A historiographical approach, one set to explore the ways film festivals contribute to
    shape the writing of film (and media) history, moulding the canon formation and
    informing aesthetic hierarchies.
  • A culturalist approach, one set to investigate how film festivals, by championing certain
    discourses of and on cinema and media, contribute to articulate and re-position specific national, cultural, gender identities.
  • An economic approach, one set to analyse the process by which film festivals add value within the film industry as much as to local touristic economies.

In this vein, Reframing Film Festivals: Histories, Economies, Cultures seeks to foster an
interdisciplinary and intersectional reading of film festivals, here conceived as a historiographic “dispositive”, as cultural formations and as financial institutions. Within a single and cohesive research framework, the Ca’ Foscari strand will be devoted to the critical-historic and historiographic dimension of film festivals, while at the University of Bari the focus will be placed on their cultural and economic dimension.

Therefore submissions, with both an empirical and/or a theoretical approach, are
welcomed across a range of topics including, but not limited to:

  • The festival-form: histories and theories
  • Film festivals and historiographic paradigms
  • Film festivals, aesthetic regimes and taste cultures
  • Micro-histories of film festivals
  • Politics of selection and programming in film festivals
  • Festival films/films for festivals
  • Artistic directors, jury members, selection boards
  • Editorial outputs of film festivals
  • The audiences of film festivals
  • Film festivals, cinephilia and criticism
  • Film festivals and national identities
  • Film festivals and geopolitics
  • Film festivals, ethnocentrism, exoticism
  • Film festivals and cultural consumption
  • Film festivals and gender
  • Film festivals and race
  • Thematic and retrospective film festivals
  • Archival film festival and contemporary historiography
  • TV and web festivals
  • Virtual reality festivals
  • “Small” film festivals: roles and functions
  • Film festivals and LGBTQI+ cultures
  • Erotic and pornographic film festivals
  • The films festivals’ circuit and the global film market
  • Film festivals: transnational distribution and production
  • Film festivals and film funds
  • Film festivals and digital platforms
  • Business models of film festivals
  • Film festivals and economic satellite activities
  • Film festivals and (cine)tourism
  • Film festivals and the fashion industry
  • Film festivals and celebrity culture
  • Fundraising for film festivals
  • Film festivals and sponsorship

We welcome proposals from scholars, film critics and film festival practitioners for traditional 20-minute individual presentations and panel proposals. The deadline for the submissions is 15 October 2019 and interested contributors should send a 300-500 word abstract and a short biographical note at the following email address: The accepted proposals will be
notified by 31 October 2019. The languages of the conference are Italian and English.

Organized by: Marco Dalla Gassa (University Ca’ Foscari, Venezia), Federico Zecca, Angela
Bianca Saponari (University of Bari “Aldo Moro”), Andrea Gelardi (University of St Andrews).


Abis, Mario, and Canova, Gianni (2014) I festival del cinema: Quando la cultura rende, Monza: Johan &Levi.

Acciari, Monica, and Menarini, Roy (eds.) (2014) “Geopolitical Strategies in Film Festivals between Activism and Cinephilia”, Cinergie: Il cinema e le altre arti, 6,

de Valck, Marijke (2007) Film Festivals: From European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Di Chiara, Francesco and Re, Valentina (2011) “Film Festival/Film History: The Impact of Film Festivals on Cinema Historiography. Il Cinema Ritrovato and Beyond”, Cinémas: Revue d’Études Cinématographiques, Vol. 21 (2–3), pp. 131-151.

Elsaesser, Thomas (2005) “Film Festival Networks the New Topographies of Cinema in Europe”, European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 82–107.

Ercolano, Salvatore, Gaeta, Giuseppe Lucio and Parenti, Benedetta (2017) “Individual Motivations and Thematically-Oriented Film Festival Attendance: An Empirical Study Based on Spectators of the Artecinema International Documentary Festival in Naples (Italy)”, Quality and Quantity, Vol. 51 (2), pp. 709–727.

Fischer, Alex (2013) Sustainable Projections. Concepts in Film Festival Management. St Andrews: St Andrews Film Studies.

Iordanova, Dina (ed.) (2013) The Film Festival Reader, St Andrews: St Andrews Film Studies.

Iordanova, Dina (2015) “The Film Festival as an Industry Node”, Media Industries Journal, Vol. 1 (3), pp. 7–11.

Loist, Skadi (2014) “The Film Festival Circuit. Networks, Hierarchies, and Circulation”, in: de Valck, Marijke, Kredell, Brendan, and Loist, Skadi (eds.) Film Festivals. History, Theory, Method, Practice, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 49–43.

Moretti, Anna and Zirpoli, Francesco (2016) “A Dynamic Theory of Network Failure: The Case of the Venice Film Festival and the Local Hospitality System”, Organization Studies, Vol. 37 (5), pp. 607–633.

Nichols, Bill (1994) “Discovering Form, Inferring Meaning: New Cinemas and the Film Festival Circuit”, Film Quarterly, Vol. 47 (3), pp. 16–30.

Ongaro, Daniele (2005) Lo Schermo Diffuso: Cento Anni di Festival Cinematografici in Italia, Bologna: Libreria Universitaria Tinnarelli.

Sassatelli, Monica (2011) “Urban Festivals and the Cultural Public Sphere”, in: Delanty, Gerard, Giorgi, Liana, and Sassatelli, Monica (eds.) Festivals and the Cultural Public Sphere, London: Routledge, pp. 108–123.

Wong, Cindy Hing-Yuk (2011) Film Festivals. Culture, People, and Power on the Global Screen, London: Rutgers University Press.

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