As the concept of the nation state has increasingly come under attack, cinema studies have slowly adopted this approach and strive to think through the concept and different possibilities of the trans/national in cinema. Film scholars in the field argue, for instance, for a kind of European film studies that provides a new narrative beyond the distinct study of singular national cinemas (all opposed to Hollywood). Thomas Elsaesser (2005, section 1.1) emphasizes the different ways in which film production as well as film reception transcend borders and, thus, call for an account of the transnational in film.
Film festivals are the platforms where new national waves can be discovered (cf. Nichols 1994, section 8). Or as Owen Evans suggests, film festivals (in Europe) are “loci of cultural dialogue between Hollywood and the rest of the world’s cinema” (2007: 24, section 1.1). What needs to be taken into account when stating this is the power differences between the (Western) film festival circuit and national cinema/”world cinema” (Stringer 2001, section 3). In the last few years, scholars have started to analyze how film festivals (in the West) have served as cultural taste-makers for global cinema, which have had (and still have) significant influence on the global film markets. This is true, for instance, for the marketing of African (Diawara 1993, section 6.3), Iranian (Nichols 1994, section 8; Nichols 1994, section 1.1) and Korean cinema (AHN 2008a, b) in Western arthouse cinemas. In several cases, the argument goes, the festival circuit’s taste and the awards/rewards coming with it have influenced non-Western filmmakers in their careers and potentially led them to produce for the festival circuit rather than for their region or according to (an imagined) artistic integrity (Stringer 2001, section 3). Along with the criticism of the festival circuit for influencing (unacknowledged) the production of trans/national cinema comes the call to look critically at the impact that film festivals – and the writing of film reviews and criticism that comes at their tails – have on film history (cf. Stringer 2001: 135, section 3; Stringer 2003, section 1.1; Zhang 2002, section 6.2).
We have subdivided section 6 “Trans/National Cinema” in order to map out the different regions that have been studied in this context and to try to account for the differences that have been highlighted in the respective pieces.
With regard to existing categories, we felt compelled to change our classification system for entries in category “6. Trans/National Cinemas”. The focus had been on the distribution, circulation and negotiation of an idea of national cinema on the festival circuit, including the impact global power structures play here. Following Dina Iordanova and Ruby Cheung’s discussion of imagined communities and the various ways in which film festivals are linked to diasporas (Iordanova/Cheung 2010), we want to broaden the idea of trans/national festivals which we have described in this category so far in order to include those festivals that are not necessarily based in the regions we distinguish, but that have links to them or circulate films from that region. Thus, we include here pieces on diasporic festivals (esp. featured in the second volume of Film Festival Yearbook, which also includes listings of a variety of transnational film festivals in its resource section, cf. Iordanova/Cheung 2010: 266-86).
Chan, Felicia (2011). “The International Film Festival and the Making of a National Cinema.” Screen 52:2 (2011): 253–260.
Falicov, Tamara (2010). “Migrating from South to North: The Role of Film Festivals in Funding and Shaping Global South Film and Video.” Locating Migrating Media. Eds. Greg Elmer, Charles H. Davis, Janine Marchessault, and John McCullough. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. pp. 3–21.
Iordanova, Dina (2010). “From the Source: Cinemas of the South.” Film International 8:5 (2010): 95–98.
Iordanova, Dina (2010). “Mediating Diaspora: Film Festivals and ‘Imagined Communities’.” Film Festival Yearbook 2: Film Festivals and Imagined Communities. Eds. Dina Iordanova with Ruby Cheung. St. Andrews: St. Andrews Film Studies. pp. 12–44.
Iordanova, Dina (2010). “The Listings: Transnational Film Festivals.” Film Festival Yearbook 2: Film Festivals and Imagined Communities. Eds. Dina Iordanova with Ruby Cheung. St. Andrews: St. Andrews Film Studies. pp. 259–265.
Iordanova, Dina, and Ruby Cheung (2010). “Introduction.” Film Festival Yearbook 2: Film Festivals and Imagined Communities. Eds. Dina Iordanova with Ruby Cheung. St. Andrews: St. Andrews Film Studies. pp. 1–10.
Stafford, Roy (2010). “Bite the Mango: Bradford’s Unique Film Festival.” Film Festival Yearbook 2: Film Festivals and Imagined Communities. Eds. Dina Iordanova with Ruby Cheung. St. Andrews: St. Andrews Film Studies. pp. 106–120.
(Last updated: 30 July 2012)