1.2 Political Aspects of Film Festivals (History)

Our understanding of today’s film festivals and the contemporary international film festival circuit is tied to our knowledge of festival histories. Geopolitical interests held the first wave of (European) film festivals in a tight grip until the mid-1960s. The articles and books in this subcategory analyze certain parts of festival history in detail, such as the Fascist influence over the Venice Film Festival in the late 1930s (De Valck 2007, section 1.1), the Cold War agenda of the Berlin Film Festival (Fehrenbach 1995) and politically informed (programming) practices in Eastern Europe (Iordanova 2006; Karl 2007; Kötzing 2007a, b; Moine 2007). Although political agendas are discussed as powerful forces driving and shaping festivals, they are also shown to intersect with cultural objectives, economic interests and specific (inter)national historical circumstances. Other studies in this bibliography often also include historical passages or allusions to the formative role national legitimization played in the emergence of film festivals (Kuhlbrodt 2005, section 6.1). Attention has been devoted to the study of festivals as counter-public sphere, in particular for specific communities (see sections 9.1, 9.1.1, and 9.1.2 on queer and women’s film festivals). Finally, the question of political interventions is addressed in studies dealing with specific national cinemas. For example, censorship is central to the discussion of Iranian cinema by Azadeh Farahmand (2002, section 6.4).

Archibald, David, and Mitchell Miller. “From Rennes to Toronto: Anatomy of a Boycott.” Screen, vol. 52, no. 2, 2011, pp. 274–79. doi:10.1093/screen/hjr015.

Barrow, Sarah. “Constraints and Possibilities: Lima Film Festival, Politics and Cultural Formation in Peru.” New Review of Film and Television Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2016, pp. 132–48. doi:10.1080/17400309.2015.1109354.

Batančev, Dragan. “The Belgrade FEST, or What Happened When Peckinpah Met Wajda.” Cultural Transfer and Political Conflicts: Film Festivals in the Cold War, edited by Andreas Kötzing and Caroline Moine, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017, pp. 153–66.

Bláhová, Jindřiška, editor. Filmove Festivaly | Film Festivals. Edited by Jindřiška Bláhová. Spec. issue of Iluminace vol. 26, no. 1, 2014.

Bruch, Anne. “’Just think of the possibilities of dissemination…’: The Film Festival Policy of the European Institutions in the 1950s and 1960s.” Cultural Transfer and Political Conflicts: Film Festivals in the Cold War, edited by Andreas Kötzing and Caroline Moine, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017, pp. 79–90.

Câmara, Regina. “From Karlovy Vary to Cannes: Brazilian Cinema Novo at European Film Festivals in the 1960s.” Cultural Transfer and Political Conflicts: Film Festivals in the Cold War, edited by Andreas Kötzing and Caroline Moine, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017, pp. 63–77.

Cazzaro, Davide, and Darcy Paquet. BIFF x BIFF. Foreword by Lee Chang-dong, Busan International Film Festival, 2015.

Cheung, Ruby. “Ever-Changing Readjustments: The Political Economy of the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF).” New Review of Film and Television Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2016, pp. 59–75. doi:10.1080/17400309.2015.1107268.

Di Chiara, Francesco, and Valentina Re. “Film Festival/Film History: The Impact of Film Festivals on Cinema Historiography. Il cinema ritrovato and beyond.” Cinémas: Revue d’études cinématographiques | Cinémas: Journal of Film Studies, vol. 21, 2-3, 2011, pp. 131–51. doi:10.7202/1005587ar.

Djagalov, Rossen, and Masha Salazkina. “Tashkent ’68: A Cinematic Contact Zone.” Slavic Review, vol. 75, no. 2, 2016, pp. 279–98. doi:10.5612/slavicreview.75.2.279.

Ebbrecht-Hartmann, Tobias. “Socialist Competition or Window to the World? East German Student Films at International Festivals in the Context of the Cold War.” Cultural Transfer and Political Conflicts: Film Festivals in the Cold War, edited by Andreas Kötzing and Caroline Moine, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017, pp. 15–29.

Fehrenbach, Heide. “Mass Culture and Cold War Politics: The Berlin Film Festival of the 1950s.” Cinema in Democratizing Germany: Reconstructing National Identity after Hitler, Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1995, pp. 234–53.

Fehrenbach, Heide. “The Berlin International Film Festival: Between Cold War Politics and Postwar Reorientation.” Studies in European Cinema, vol. 17, no. 2, 2020, pp. 81–96. doi:10.1080/17411548.2019.1631533.

Gallinari, Pauline. “L’URSS au festival de Cannes 1946-1958: un enjeu des relations franco-soviétiques à l’heure de la « guerre froide ».” [The USSR at the Cannes Film Festival 1946-1958: a challenge for Franco-Soviet relations during the “Cold War”]. 1895: Revue de l’Association Française de Recherche sur l’Histoire du Cinéma, no. 51, 2007, pp. 23–43.

Gimello-Mesplomb, Frédéric. Objectif 49: Cocteau et la nouvelle avant-garde. [Objectife 49: Cocteau and the new avant-garde], Séguier, 2014.

Gimello-Mesplomb, Frédéric, and Loredana Latil. “Une politique de cinéma: La sélection française pour Cannes.” [A film policy: The French selection for Cannes]. Protée, vol. 31, no. 2, 2003, pp. 17–28. doi:10.7202/008750ar.

Gœtschel, Pascale, and Patricia Hidiroglou. “Introduction: Le festival, objet d’histoire.” Une histoire des festivals: XXe-XXIe siècle, [A History of Festivals: 20th – 21st Century]. edited by Anaïs Fléchet et al., Publications de la Sorbonne, 2013, pp. 7–15.

Gourmelen, Arnaud, and Ralph Eue. “Die Stunde Null der Cinephilie: Das Festival du Film Maudit (1949) und das Rendez-Vous de Biarritz (1950).” Recherche Film und Fernsehen, 7+8, 2010, pp. 58–71.

Gregor, Ulrich. “Filmfestival-Chronik des Jahres 1968: Berlin, Cannes, Venedig, Knokke.” Recherche Film und Fernsehen, no. 3, 2008, pp. 36–38.

Haase, Jürgen, editor. Zwischen uns die Mauer: DEFA-Filme auf der Berlinale, Be.bra / Edition Q, 2010.

Hagener, Malte. “Institutions of Film Culture: Festivals and Archives as Network Nodes.” The Emergence of Film Culture: Knowledge Production, Institution Building, and the Fate of the Avant-garde in Europe, 1919-1945, edited by Malte Hagener, Berghahn, 2014, pp. 283–305.

Iordanova, Dina. “Showdown of the Festivals: Clashing Entrepreneurships and Post-Communist Management of Culture.” Film International, vol. 4, no. 5, 2006, pp. 25–37.

Jelenković, Dunja. “Politics, Ideology, and Programming Practices: How the Yugoslav Documentary and Short Film Festival Abandoned the Idea of Yugoslavia.” New Review of Film and Television Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2016, pp. 76–92. doi:10.1080/17400309.2015.1108818.

Jelenković, Dunja. “The Film Festival as an Arena for Political Debate: The Yugoslav Black Wave in Belgrade and Oberhausen.” Cultural Transfer and Political Conflicts: Film Festivals in the Cold War, edited by Andreas Kötzing and Caroline Moine, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017, pp. 47–61.

Jiřiště, Jakub. “Iluzorní obrodný proces karlovarského filmového festivalu: XVI. Mezinárodní festival Karlovy Vary (1968) v reflexi dobového tisku.” [The Illusive Revival Process of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. A Reflection on the 16th Karlovy Vary Film Festival (1968) in the Period Press.]. Filmove Festivaly | Film Festivals, edited by Jindřiška Bláhová, vol. 26, 2014, pp. 9–37. 26.

Karl, Lars. “Zwischen politischem Ritual und kulturellem Dialog: Die Moskauer Internationalen Filmfestspiele im Kalten Krieg 1959-1971.” Leinwand zwischen Tauwetter und Frost: Der osteuropäische Spiel- und Dokumentarfilm im Kalten Krieg, edited by Lars Karl, Metropol, 2007, pp. 279–98.

Kötzing, Andreas. “Cultural and Film Policy in the Cold War: The Film Festivals of Oberhausen and Leipzig and German-German Relations.” Cultural Transfer and Political Conflicts: Film Festivals in the Cold War, edited by Andreas Kötzing and Caroline Moine, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017, pp. 31–45.

Kötzing, Andreas. “Filmfestivals als historische Quelle.” Deutschland Archiv, vol. 41, no. 4, 2007, pp. 693–99.

Kötzing, Andreas. Kultur- und Filmpolitik im Kalten Krieg: Die Filmfestivals von Leipzig und Oberhausen in gesamtdeutscher Perspektive, 1954-1972, Wallstein, 2013.

Kötzing, Andreas. “Provozierte Konflikte: Der Club der Filmschaffenden und die Beteiligung der DEFA an der Mannheimer Filmwoche 1959/60.” DEFA international: Grenzüberschreitende Filmbeziehungen vor und nach dem Mauerbau, edited by Michael Wedel et al., Springer VS, 2013, pp. 369–84.

Kötzing, Andreas. “Zeigen oder nicht zeigen? Das ‘Prinzip der Selbstnominierung’ sozialistischer Filme auf der Leipziger Dokumentarfilmwoche.” Leinwand zwischen Tauwetter und Frost: Der osteuropäische Spiel- und Dokumentarfilm im Kalten Krieg, edited by Lars Karl, Metropol, 2007, pp. 299–316.

Kötzing, Andreas, and Caroline Moine, editors. Cultural Transfer and Political Conflicts: Film Festivals in the Cold War, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017.

Kötzing, Andreas, and Caroline Moine. Introduction. Cultural Transfer and Political Conflicts: Film Festivals in the Cold War, edited by Andreas Kötzing and Caroline Moine, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017, pp. 7–12.

Lee, Sangjoon. “The Emergence of the Asian Film Festival: Cold War Asia and Japan’s Reentrance to the Regional Film Industry in the 1950s.” The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Cinema, edited by Daisuke Miyao, Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 226–44.

Loist, Skadi. “Cultural Transfer and Political Conflicts. Film Festivals During the Cold War: 09.05.2014-10.05.2014, Leipzig.” Conference report. H-Soz-Kult, 11 Sep. 2014, hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de​/​tagungsberichte/​id=5533.

Loukopoulou, Katerina. “’films Bring Art to the People’: The Art Film Tour in Britain (1950–1980).” Film History: An International Journal, vol. 19, no. 4, 2007, pp. 414–22. doi:10.1353/fih.2008.0009.

Ma, Ran. “A Genealogy of Film Festivals in the People’s Republic of China: ‘Film Weeks’ during the ‘Seventeen Years’ (1949–1966).” New Review of Film and Television Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2016, pp. 40–58. doi:10.1080/17400309.2015.1107266.

Manetti, Daniela. “The Birth and Early Years of a Mega Event: The Venice International Film Festival (1932-1939).” Citta e Storia, vol. 8, no. 1, 2013, pp. 107–36.

Moine, Caroline. “Blicke über den Eisernen Vorhang: Die internationalen Filmfestivals im Kalten Krieg 1945-1968.” Leinwand zwischen Tauwetter und Frost: Der osteuropäische Spiel- und Dokumentarfilm im Kalten Krieg, edited by Lars Karl, Metropol, 2007, pp. 255–78.

Moine, Caroline. “Festivals de cinéma et politiques culturelles dans l’Europe de la guerre froide: diversité des enjeux et des acteurs.” [Film festivals and cultural policies in Europe during the Cold War: diversity of issues and actors.]. Territoires contemporains, no. 3, 2012, tristan.u-bourgogne.fr​/​CGC/​publications/​Festivals_​societes/​C_​Moine.html.

Moine, Caroline. “La FIAPF, une Fédération de Producteurs au coeur des relations internationales après 1945.” [The FIAPF, a Federation of Film Producers at the Heart of International Relations after 1945]. Les producteurs: Enjeux créatifs, enjeux financiers, edited by Laurent Creton et al., Nouveau monde, 2011, pp. 249–66.

Moine, Caroline. “’Le fascisme ordinaire’ de Mikhaïl Romm au festival de Leipzig (1965).” [Mikhail Romm’s ‘Ordinary Fascism’ at the Leipzig Festival (1965)]. Caméra Politique: Cinéma Et Stalinisme, edited by Kristian Feigelson, Presse Sorbonne nouvelle, 2005, pp. 228–39. Theorem 8,

Moine, Caroline. “Une Allemagne malgré tout? Le festival international du film documentaire de Leipzig, 1955-1990.” [A Germany after all? The Leipzig International Documentary Film Festival, 1955-1990.” A Europe in spite of everything, 1945-1990: Cultural, intellectual and scientific contacts and networks between Europeans in the Cold War]. Une Europe malgré tout, 1945-1990: Contacts et réseaux culturels, intellectuels et scientifiques entre Européens dans la guerre froide | Cultural, lntellectual and Scientific Contacts and Networks among Europeans during the Cold War | Kulturelle, intellektuelle und wissenschaftliche Kontakte und Netze unter Europäern im Kalten Kriege, edited by Antoine Fleury and Lubor Jílek, P.I.E. Peter Lang, 2009, pp. 297–316.

Moine, Caroline. “Z Cannes přes Karlovy Vary do Západního Berlína a Benátek: mezinárodní filmové festivaly v bouřlivém roce 1968.” [From Karlovy Vary to West Berlin and Venice. International Film Festivals in the Turbulent Year of 1968]. Filmove Festivaly | Film Festivals, edited by Jindřiška Bláhová, vol. 26, 2014, pp. 39–48. 26.

Moine, Caroline. Cinéma et guerre froide: Histoire du festival de films documentaires de Leipzig (1955-1990). [Cinema and Cold War: History of the Leipzig Documentary Film Festival (1955-1990)], Publications Sorbonne, 2014. Histoire contemporaine.

Odabasi, Eren. “Gezici Festival: Multiple Identities of a Traveling Film Festival in Turkey.” New Review of Film and Television Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2016, pp. 149–63. doi:10.1080/17400309.2015.1110881.

Ostrowska, Dorota. “Cosmopolitan Spaces of International Film Festivals: Cannes Film Festival and the French Riviera.” Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, no. 14, 2017, pp. 94–110. alphavillejournal.com/Issue14/ArticleOstrowska.pdf.

Ostrowska, Dorota. “Making Film History at the Cannes Film Festivals.” Film Festivals: History, Theory, Method, Practice, edited by Marijke de Valck et al., Routledge, 2016, pp. 18–33.

Ostrowska, Dorota. “Polish Films at the Venice and Cannes Film Festivals: The 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.” Polish Cinema in a Transnational Context, edited by Ewa Mazierska and Michael Goddard, University of Rochester Press, 2014, pp. 77–94.

Pabiś-Orzeszyna, Michał. “Conflict Management: The Camerimage Festival and the Dialectics of Prestige.” Iluminace: časopis pro teorii, historii a estetiku filmu = Journal for Film Theory, History, and Aesthetics, vol. 27, no. 3, 2015, pp. 7–22.

Papadimitriou, Lydia, and Jeffrey Ruoff. “Film Festivals: Origins and Trajectories.” New Review of Film and Television Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1–4. doi:10.1080/17400309.2015.1106686.

Papadimitriou, Lydia. “The Hindered Drive toward Internationalization: Thessaloniki (International) Film Festival.” New Review of Film and Television Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2016, pp. 93–111.

Peirano, María Paz. “Pursuing, Resembling, and Contesting the Global: The Emergence of Chilean Film Festivals.” New Review of Film and Television Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2016, pp. 112–31. doi:10.1080/17400309.2015.1109345.

Pisu, Stefano. “Les festivals internationaux de cinéma dans l’URSS du second stalinisme, ou brèves histoires de contre-festivals ‘fantômes’.” [International film festivals in the USSR of Second Stalinism, or short stories of ‘ghost’ counter-festivals.]. Une histoire des festivals: XXe-XXIe siècle, edited by Anaïs Fléchet et al., Publications de la Sorbonne, 2013, pp. 55–62.

Pisu, Stefano. “Prestigio de la nación vs mirada deconstruyente: las imágenes de Italia en el Festival Internacional de Cine de Venecia desde el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundia hasta el “milagro económico [Nation’s Prestige vs Deconstructive Gaze: The Images of Italy since the End of the Second World War until the “Economic Miracle”].” Festivales cinematográficos [Film Festivals], edited by Aida Vallejo, MAIA Ediciones, 2014, pp. 43–64.

Pisu, Stefano. Stalin a Venezia: L’Urss alla Mostra del cinema fra diplomazia culturale e scontro ideologico (1932-1953). [Stalin in Venice: The USSR at the Venice Film Festival between cultural diplomacy and ideological clash (1932-1953)]. Rubbettino, 2013.

Pisu, Stefano. “The USSR and East-Central European Countries at the Venice International Film Festival (1946–1953).” Iluminace: časopis pro teorii, historii a estetiku filmu = Journal for Film Theory, History, and Aesthetics, vol. 25, no. 3, 2013, pp. 51–63.

Pisu, Stefano. “Transnational Mobilization and Domestic Political Exploitation: The 1977 Venice Biennale of Dissent.” Cultural Transfer and Political Conflicts: Film Festivals in the Cold War, edited by Andreas Kötzing and Caroline Moine, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017, pp. 123–40.

Rae, Ian, and Jessica Thom. “The Rise and Fall of the Stratford International Film Festival.” Canadian Journal of Film Studies | Revue Canadienne d’Études Cinématographiques, vol. 25, no. 1, 2016, pp. 67–87.

Razlogova, Elena. “Listening to the Inaudible Foreign: Simultaneous Translators and Soviet Experience of Foreign Cinema.” Sound, Speech, Music in Soviet and Post-Soviet Cinema, edited by Lilya Kaganovsky and Masha Salazkina, Indiana University Press, 2014, pp. 162–78.

Ribas, Daniel. “Anatomia de um Festival / Anatomy of a Festival Curtas Vila do Conde (1993-2012).” Puro Cinema: Curtas Vila do Conde 20 anos depois = Pure Cinema: Curtas Vila de Conde 20 years after, edited by Daniel Ribas and Mario Micaelo, Curtas Metragens, CRL, 2012, pp. 5–13.

Stassinopoulou, Maria A. “Scenes from A Marriage: The Thessaloniki Film Festival Between Mainstream and Art Cinema from its Beginnings to the 1970s.” Cultural Transfer and Political Conflicts: Film Festivals in the Cold War, edited by Andreas Kötzing and Caroline Moine, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017, pp. 109–22.

Stein, Gabby. “Censorship and the Film Festival.” Cinema Papers, no. 118, 1997, pp. 58–59.

Stevens, Kirsten. “Enthusiastic Amateurs: Australia’s Film Societies and the Birth of Audience-Driven Film Festivals in Post-War Melbourne.” New Review of Film and Television Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2016, pp. 22–39. doi:10.1080/17400309.2015.1106689.

Stone, Maria. “Challenging Cultural Categories: The Transformation of the Venice Biennale under Fascism.” Journal of Modern Italian Studies, vol. 4, no. 2, 1999, pp. 184–208. doi:10.1080/13545719908455006.

Taillibert, Christel. “Festivales y patrimonio cinematográfico en la era digital: La situación francesa. [Film Festivals and Film Heritage in the Digital Era – The French Situation].” Festivales cinematográficos [Film Festivals], edited by Aida Vallejo, MAIA Ediciones, 2014, pp. 83–99.

Taillibert, Christel, and John Wäfler. “Groundwork for a (Pre)History of Film Festivals.” New Review of Film and Television Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2016, pp. 5–21. doi:10.1080/17400309.2015.1106688.

Valent, Alexandra. “Kinosterben Und Festival-Boom: Zur Geschichte Zweier Gegenläufiger Phänomene in Wien.” [The Death of Cinema and Festival-Boom. On the History of two Opposing Phenomena in Vienna]. Maske und Kothurn, vol. 64, no. 3, 2018, pp. 87–96.

van Hemert, Tess. “BIFF to BAPFF: Considering ‘Festival Memory’ in the Face of Change and Innovation.” New Review of Film and Television Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2016, pp. 164–80. doi:10.1080/17400309.2015.1110882.

Wäfler, John. “Changing Festival Definitions: A Brief History of the Fribourg International Film Festival in Switzerland.” Une histoire des festivals: XXe-XXIe siècle, edited by Anaïs Fléchet et al., Publications de la Sorbonne, 2013, pp. 99–107.

Wäfler, John. “The Surveillance of Film Festivals in Switzerland: The Case of Locarno International Film Festival.” Cultural Transfer and Political Conflicts: Film Festivals in the Cold War, edited by Andreas Kötzing and Caroline Moine, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017, pp. 141–52.

Winkler, Daniel. “Eine Stimme für den jungen Autorenfilm: Geschichte und Programmatik des Festival Internazionale del Film di Locarno.” Zibaldone: Zeitschrift für italienische Kultur der Gegenwart, no. 43, 2007, pp. 123–34.

Yurtaeva, Yulia. “’Jetzt ‘festivalt’ auch die Television’: Television Festivals in the 1960s.” Cultural Transfer and Political Conflicts: Film Festivals in the Cold War, edited by Andreas Kötzing and Caroline Moine, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017, pp. 91–106.

(Last updated: 29 July 2021)