5.5 Festival (as) Organization

This new subsection collects works that deal with organizational aspects of film festivals. These entries pick up on the blind spot of questions concerning the organization and stakeholders behind the events and analyze issues of institutional backgrounds, funding, employment and industry patterns, missions statements and agendas. These questions are fundamental for an analysis of how festivals fit into the film industry, creative industries and the circulation of cinema. The specific institutional background and founding history gives insight into the workings and agendas of the respective festivals. For instance, festivals founded by municipal and state institutions to further political and diplomatic goals – here Cannes and Berlin immediately come to mind – work on a different agenda and with very different employment and funding structures than, say, minority festivals founded by activists (be it queer film festivals or diasporic ones).

While cultural festivals have been discussed in sociology, management and tourism studies, pieces specifically focusing on the organizational aspect of film festivals are still few. Kai Reichel-Heldt (2007) looked at the differences in organization and funding structures for the Berlinale and smaller German film festivals, and Ruby Cheung (2010) charted funding models for themed film festivals in the UK. Ragan Rhyne (2009) has analyzed film festivals as part of a cultural industry and charted the stakeholders influencing festival structures. Coming from the management angle, Charles-Clemens Rüling (2009) analyzed festivals as field-configuring events.


Calderón Acero, Camilo Andrés. “Managing Bogota Film Festivals: Beyond Audience Formation.” Festivales De Cine En América Latina: Historias Y Nuevas Perspectivas, [Film Festivals in Latin America: Histories and New Perspectives]. edited by Maria Paz Peirano and Aida Vallejo, Universidad de Chile, 2020, pp. 106–17. 29, revistaestudiosarabes.uchile.cl/index.php/RCM/article/view/57177/68415. Accessed 9 Jan. 2022.

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.

Cheung, Ruby. “Funding Models of Themed Film Festivals.” Film Festival Yearbook 2: Film Festivals and Imagined Communities, edited by Dina Iordanova and Ruby Cheung, St Andrews Film Studies, 2010, pp. 74–103.

de Valck, Marijke. “Supporting Art Cinema at a Time of Commercialization: Principles and Practices, the Case of the International Film Festival Rotterdam.” Poetics, no. 42, 2014, pp. 40–59. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2013.11.004.

Dickson, Lesley-Ann. “Episodic Volunteer Management at Festivals: The Case of Valletta Film Festival, Valetta, Malta.” Managing Organisational Success in the Arts, edited by David Stevenson, Routledge, 2019, pp. 147–70.

Dinkla, Lina. “Festivals und digitale Filmeinreichungen: Festivals and Digital Film Submissions.” [bilingual German | English]. Short Report: KurzfilmMagazin, 2012, pp. 62–67.

Fischer, Alex. “’The Fully Clickable Submission’: How Withoutabox Captured the Hearts and Minds of Film Festivals Everywhere.” Digital Disruption: Cinema Moves On-line, edited by Dina Iordanova and Stuart Cunningham, St Andrews Film Studies, 2012, pp. 153–66.

Fischer, Alex. “The Fully Clickable Situation: From Tyranny to Monopoly to a Filmfreeway.” International Film Festivals: Contemporary Cultures and History Beyond Venice and Cannes, edited by Tricia Jenkins, I.B.Tauris, 2018, pp. 49–69.

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

Gamson, Joshua. “The Organizational Shaping of Collective Identity: The Case of Lesbian and Gay Film Festivals in New York.” Sociological Forum, vol. 11, no. 2, 1996, pp. 231–61.

Gesell, Christian. “Digitale Filmvorführung auf Filmfestivals: Eine einfache und qualitativ hochwertige Lösung des Internationalen Kurzfilmfestivals Berlin: Digital Film Screenings at Film Festivals: Simple and High Quality Solution From the International Short Film Festival Berlin.” [bilingual German | English]. Short Report: KurzfilmMagazin, 2012, pp. 68–73.

Hassink, Robert, and Yong-Sook Lee. “Exploring International Film Festivals from a Co-Evolutionary Perspective: The Cases of Berlin and Busan Compared.” European Planning Studies, vol. 26, no. 5, 2018, pp. 933–49. doi:10.1080/09654313.2018.1446912.

Kujawski, Linda. “FestivalarbeiterInnen Vernetzen Sich International.” shortfilm.de: Das KurzfilmMagazin [shortfilm.de], 28 Mar. 2018, www.shortfilm.de​/​festivalarbeiterinnen-​vernetzen-​sich-​international/​.

Lang, Iain; Clode, Simon; Vogel, Ann. 2006 Survey of Film Festivals World-Wide. Unpublished Study, University of Exeter, 2006.

Larson, Mia. “Innovation and Creativity in Festival Organizations.” Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, vol. 20, 3-4, 2011, pp. 287–310.

Lauzen, Martha M. “Image Repair: A Case Study of Thierry Fremaux and the Cannes Film Festival.” Public Relations Review, vol. 42, no. 1, 2016, pp. 170–75. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2015.11.002.

Leca, Bernard; Rüling, Charles-Clemens; Puthod, Dominique. “Animated Times: Critical Transitions and the Maintenance of Field-Configuring Events.” Industry and Innovation, vol. 22, no. 3, 2015, pp. 173–92. doi:10.1080/13662716.2015.1033839.

Loist, Skadi. “Precarious Cultural Work: About the Organization of (Queer) Film Festivals.” Screen, vol. 52, no. 2, 2011, pp. 268–73. doi:10.1093/screen/hjr016.

Mazza, Carmelo and Jesper Strandgaard Pedersen. Who’s Last? Challenges and Advantages for Late Adopters in the International Film Festival Field. Institut for Interkulturel Kommunikation og Ledelse, 1 Nov. 2008. Creative Encounters Working Papers 16. hdl.handle.net​/​10398/​7782.

Mitchell, Sarah Elaine Dillard. “Programmer as Festival Spokesperson: Information Management Strategies at the Toronto International Film Festival.” Film Festivals and Anthropology, edited by Aida Vallejo and Maria-Paz Peirano, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017, pp. 305–21.

Mitchell, Sarah Elaine Dillard. Glamorous Work: An Ethnographic Study of the Toronto Interntational Film Festival. PhD Thesis, Indiana University, 2017.

Mitchell, Sed. “Glamorous Work: Notes from the Red Carpet.” Visual Anthropology Review, vol. 37, no. 1, 2021, pp. 142–63. doi:10.1111/var.12228.

Moretti, Anna, and Francesco Zirpoli. “A Dynamic Theory of Network Failure: The Case of the Venice Film Festival and the Local Hospitality System.” Organization Studies, vol. 37, no. 5, 2016, pp. 607–33. doi:10.1177/0170840615613369.

Oncins, Estella. “The Process of Subtitling at Film Festivals: Death in Venice?” International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, vol. 3, no. 14, 2013, pp. 70–80. www.ijhssnet.com​/​journals/​Vol_​3_​No_​14_​Special_​Issue_​July_​2013/​9.pdf.

Ooi, Can-Seng, and Jesper Strandgaard Pedersen. “City Branding and Film Festivals: Re-Evaluating Stakeholder’s Relations.” Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, vol. 6, no. 4, 2010, pp. 316–32. doi:10.1057/pb.2010.30.

Peaslee, Robert Moses; El-Khoury, Jessica; Liles, Ashley. “The Media Festival Volunteer: Connecting Online and On-Ground Fan Labor.” Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 15, 2014, doi:10.3983/twc.2014.0502.

Pisu, Stefano. “A Transnational Love–Hate Relationship: The FIAPF and the Venice and Cannes Film Festivals (1950-1970).” International Film Festivals: Contemporary Cultures and History Beyond Venice and Cannes, edited by Tricia Jenkins, I.B.Tauris, 2018, pp. 109–31.

Redvall, Eva Novrup. “More than Films and Dragon Awards: The Göteborg International Film Festival as a Meeting Place.” Journal of Scandinavian Cinema, vol. 2, no. 2, 2012, pp. 135–42. doi:10.1386/jsca.2.2.135_1.

Reichel-Heldt, Kai. Filmfestivals in Deutschland: Zwischen kulturpolitischen Idealen und wirtschaftspolitischen Realitäten, Lang, 2007. Studien zur Kulturpolitik 5.

Rhyne, Ragan. “Film Festival Circuits and Stakeholders.” Film Festival Yearbook 1: The Festival Circuit, edited by Dina Iordanova and Ragan Rhyne, St Andrews Film Studies, 2009, pp. 9–39.

Rüling, Charles-Clemens. “Event Institutionalization and Maintenance: The Annecy Animation Festival 1960-2010.” Negotiating Values in the Creative Industries: Fairs, Festivals and Competitive Events, edited by Brian Moeran and Jesper Strandgaard Pedersen, Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 197–223.

Rüling, Charles-Clemens. “Festivals as Field-Configuring Events: The Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Market.” Film Festival Yearbook 1: The Festival Circuit, edited by Dina Iordanova and Ragan Rhyne, St Andrews Film Studies, 2009, pp. 49–66.

Rüling, Charles-Clemens, and Jesper Strandgaard Pedersen. “Film Festival Research from an Organizational Studies Perspective.” Scandinavian Journal of Management, vol. 26, no. 3, 2010, pp. 318–23.

Strandgaard Pedersen, Jesper, and Carmelo Mazza. “International Film Festivals: For the Benefit of Whom?” Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research, vol. 3, 2011, pp. 139–65. doi:10.3384/cu.2000.1525.113139.

Teissl, Verena, et al. “Austrian Film Festival Forum: Cultural Governance and Accountability in Viennese Film Festivals.” International Journal of Arts Management, vol. 24, no. 1, 2021, pp. 103–13.

Teissl, Verena. “Einreichen. Einsehen: Kulturmanageriale Betrachtungsweisen.” Triëdere: Zeitschrift für Theorie, Literatur und Kunst, no. 17, 2017, pp. 149–59.

Teissl, Verena. “Korrektiver Blickwechsel Postkoloniale Einflüsse auf die Programmpolitik spezialisierter Filmfestivals.” Kulturelle Übersetzer: Kunst und Kulturmanagement im transkulturellen Kontext, edited by Christiane Dätsch, transcipt, 2018, pp. 135–52. Edition Kulturwissenschaft Band 103.

Wiedemann, Thomas, and Tanja C. Krainhöfer. “Filmfestival Dekonstruiert: Akteurskonstellationen in Der Debatte Zur Zukunft Der Berlinale.” [Film Festival Deconstructed: Actor Constellations within the Debate about the Future of the Berlinale]. Navigationen- Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturwissenschaften, vol. 18, no. 2, 2018, pp. 177–96. doi:10.25969/mediarep/3534.

Zachar, Gerald, and Michael Paul. “Evidencing the Economics of Film Festival Funding: Do Government Subsidies Help?” Handbook of State Aid for Film: Finance, Industries and Regulation, edited by Paul Clemens Murschetz et al., Springer International, 2018, pp. 481–505.


(Last updated: 22 July 2021)