Film festival related panels at SCMS 2014 Seattle

The 2014 SCMS Conference Program is now available online here (opens as PDF).  For your convenience here are the panels and events listed that relate to film festival studies and the SCMS Film and Media Festivals Scholarly Interest Group:

SESSION F: THURSDAY, March 20, 2014, 11:00 am–12:45 pm

MEETING  Film & Media Festivals Studies Scholarly Interest Group
ROOM: Chelan First Floor, Lobby Level

SESSION I: THURSDAY, March 20, 2014, 5:00–6:45 pm

I8 Regional Film Festivals: Adapting and Transforming Identities


  • Diane Burgess UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA “A Tale of Two Cities: Local Exhibition, Regional Alliances, and the Development of Major Film Festivals in the Pacific Northwest”
  • Przemyslaw Suwart BAUHAUS UNIVERSITY WEIMAR “The Art of Mediation: Klaus Wildenhahn’s Film for Bossak and Leacock and the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival”
  • Enrico Vannucci OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY “2.0 Could Be Cool, but Respectability Is Earned in the Real World: The ViaEmili@DocFest Case Study”
  • Ilona Hongisto UNIVERSITY OF TURKU “Differentiating Nations, Imagining the People: Post- Soviet North Eastern European Documentaries on the Festival Circuit”

SPONSOR: Film & Media Festivals Scholarly Interest Group

Meet-and-greet Dinner

There will also be a meet-and-greet dinner following the festival panel (Session I8: 5-6:45 PM, Thursday, March 20) on the same day with details on precisely which restaurant and time to be announced at the meeting and panel as well as over the SIG’s listserv that is enabled by joining the group on the SCMS website.

SESSION J: FRIDAY, March 21, 2014, 9:00–10:45 am

J2 Cultural Brokers and Critics


  • Jinhee Park UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA “The Subjectivity of Filmmakers in the International Film Festival Industry: Case Study of Talent Campus Tokyo”
  • Lia Wolock UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN “New Media, New Communities: Digital Cultural Brokers in the South Asian Diaspora”
  • Jason Kelly Roberts NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY “’A Naturally Expectable Thing’: Bosley Crowther and the Convergence of Film and Television”
  • Kevin Hall UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES “Everyone’s a Critic: Intertextuality and Parody in The Critic

J17 The State of Black Independent Film


  • Mark Cunningham AUSTIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE “California Dreamin’, California Stuntin’: The Metamorphosis of Black Independent Film in the Debut Features of John Singleton and Ryan Coogler”
  • Christine Acham UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA “The New Chitlin’ Circuit: Independent Black Filmmaking and Black Film Festivals”
  • Zeinabu Davis UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES “Old School Meets New School: Developing and Maintaining Audiences for Black Independent Film from Killer of Sheep to Free Angela and All Political Prisoners
  • Eric Pierson UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO “My Film Is Great because Sundance Says So!”

SPONSORS: Oscar Micheaux Society and Film & Media Festivals Scholarly Interest Groups

SESSION K: FRIDAY, March 21, 2014, 12:15–2:00 pm

K17 Mediations of Place-based Youth Identities


  • Sara Bernstein UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS and Elise Chatelain UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS“Werewolf Bar Mitzvah: Coming of Age on the Fringes of America”
  • Bonnie Tilland UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON “The Film Festival in Translation: Youth as Interpreters of Layers of Meaning at the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF)”
  • Margaret Zeddies WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY “A More United Planet?: Global Community and Representations of Youth on a Voluntourism Website”
  • Candice Haddad UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN “Sh*t Arabs in Dearborn Do: The Frictions of Arab-American Youths’ Self-representational Strategies”

SESSION R: SUNDAY, March 23, 2014, 9:00–10:45 am

R9 Film, Civic Activism, and Education


  • Hongwei Chen UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA “Mapping the Educational Dominant: Cinema’s Use-values between Shanghai and Nanjing in the 1930s”
  • David Scott Diffrient COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY “From Johannesburg to Nürnberg: Global Cities, ‘Inhuman’ Pasts, and Human-rights Film Festivals”
  • Zeynep Yasar INDIANA UNIVERSITY “Gezi Park as Open-air Theater: Film Exhibition, Spectatorship, and Civic Activism in Istanbul”

SPONSORS: Middle East Caucus and Media Literacy + Pedagogical Outreach Scholarly Interest Group

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CfP “Distribution & Festivals” Special Issue Studies in Australasian Cinema

Studies in Australasian Cinema
ISSN: 1750-3175 (Print), 1750-3183 (Online)

Themed Issue 8.3: Distribution & Festivals (Nov-Dec 2014)

Abstracts of 300 words by April 30, 2014
Article submission deadline for 8.3: August 30, 2014

Edited by Greg Dolgopolov (UNSW), Kirsten Stevens (Monash) and Lauren Carroll Harris (UNSW).

Cinema distribution in Australasia is in crisis. Too many films are produced with substantial government investment in development and production but scant attention to distribution. Predictably they bomb at the box office and rarely find their audience. Australian cinema in particular appears largely bereft of innovative distribution ideas of how to meaningfully connect with audiences without a massive advertising budget. At the same time, film festivals in Australia are growing exponentially and films are frequently sold out amidst positive buzz. Hence, there is an audience for Australian/ Australasian screen content but it cannot be understood in extant framings of the commercial audience-production relationship.

This issue of Studies in Australasian Cinema suggests the need for a conceptual focus on the impact of distribution on lived film culture in Australasia today, around the three broad areas of screen business and policy, festival and exhibition, and audiences and production. Such a wide-ranging approach encourages a comprehensive look at the expanded role of distribution, not cast simply as a discrete sector or series of commercial exchanges, allowing scholars to recast current trajectories in film studies through the lens of distribution and film festival study. The goal is to show how the exertion of the distribution sector in festival and ongoing exhibition venues is critical in maintaining film’s presence or exclusion in popular culture. Currently, research into film distribution is not fully connected with questions of how audiences are constructed and the formative links between exhibition and distribution circuits and film production. This is the limited way of thinking we want to challenge.

Questions might include but are not limited to: What is the impact of Adelaide Film Festival’s production branch? What types of screen projects and cultures are new digital models of distribution like YouTube and VOD currently advancing and producing? In this digital sphere, crowd funding is most commonly thought of as a new financing model, but how does it affect distribution and what kinds of projects and genres are most clearly benefiting? What is the relationship between film festivals, policy and distribution? And what is the future of film festivals and distribution in Australia?

Email inquiries and submissions for 8.3 to Greg Dolgopolov.

All general questions regarding Studies in Australasian Cinema should be emailed to: Anthony Lambert.

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CfP Africa and/in the Age of Festivalization – ASAUK Conference

A symposium organized by Lindiwe Dovey and Carli Coetzee at the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) conference, 9-11 September 2014, Brighton UK

We are living in what can be called the ‘age of festivalization’, an era of unprecedented proliferation of festivals of all kinds, celebrating everything from music to movement, from food to film. In this global context in which new festivals are appearing daily, this panel will seek to explore the place of Africa, Africans, and/or African cultural production within this festival forcefield. Surprisingly little research has been undertaken on festivals in and featuring Africa in any disciplinary field. Panelists from and/or working across varied disciplines (Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Development Studies, Film Studies, History, Literary Studies, Postcolonial Studies etc.) are thus encouraged to submit abstracts, and to use varied methodologies and broad, creative conceptions of ‘festivals’ to engage with the following (or other) questions:

  •  What are ‘festivals’? What do they share with related entities, such as revolutions, trade fairs, and/or major sporting events?
  • What kinds of festivals (are known to) exist in Africa today, and what form(s) and values do they assume? How have festivals been defined in African terms?
  • How are Africa, Africans and/or African cultural production represented at festivals on and beyond the continent, and what are possible historical precedents to this representation?
  • Is the current increase in festivals a positive development within and beyond Africa, a sign of ordinary people’s insistence on the need for face-to-face communication in response to feelings of alienation in a digital era? Or is it, in a more sinister sense, related to the rise of economic neoliberalism in the era of late capitalism?
  • Is the increase in festivals a sign of the centralization or the marginalization of a certain kind of culture?
  • Do festivals have purely democratic value or are they also shop-fronts tailored by politicians and organizations eager to create an image of unity and hide or quell dissent?

We hope to publish a special issue of the Journal of African Cultural Studies from a selection of the papers presented.

Please submit 250-word abstracts and short bios by 1 February 2014 to Lindiwe Dovey.

For further information on the conference please consult the ASAUK website.

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CfP Chinese Film Festival Studies Conference (Hong Kong 1/4/2014)

Chinese Film Festival Studies Conference

With the Support of
The UK Arts & Humanities Research Council and
the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong

1st APRIL 2014, University of Hong Kong

The Chinese Film Festival Studies Research Network (sponsored by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council) brings together scholars in the UK, China, other parts of Asia, Europe and the USA who are working on film festivals in Chinese-language territories and cultures (including the People’s Republic, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and elsewhere). The Chinese Film Festival Studies Research Network will hold a workshop on March 31, 2014, for its core members.  Following that, the University of Hong Kong will host a one-day conference on April 1, 2014.

If you are interested in film festivals in the Chinese-speaking world or festivals that feature Chinese-language cinema elsewhere, we sincerely invite you to submit a paper to be presented at the conference on April 1, 2014.

Please send proposals of 200-300 words as PDF or WORD attachments to Ms.Kasey (Man Man) Wong at

For all proposals, be certain to include the title, author(s) name(s), institutional affiliation, mailing address, and email contacts, as well as a brief biography in additional to the proposal abstract.  For panel, workshop, and group submissions, be certain to provide a brief description (100 words) of the contribution of each participant.

Deadline for proposals:  February 15, 2014

Notifications of acceptance will be sent out February 20, 2014.

We regret that we cannot offer any funds for travel or accommodation.  However, there will be NO registration fee those presenting papers, serving as panel chairs, or participating in workshops, or in any other official capacity.   Registered guests are welcome to attend as well; however, some conference events/meals may only be available for those presenting papers or serving in other official capacities.

About the Chinese Film Festival Studies Research Network:  For more information on the Network and for event updates, visit its website at

Please direct all inquiries to Ms. Kasey (Man Man) Wong at .

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CfP Film Festivals and Anthropology (edited collection)

Maria Paz-Peirano (University of Kent) and Aida Vallejo (University of the Basque Country) are currently co-editing a book on the intersections between Film Festivals and Anthropology.  The book is planned as a collection of chapters, looking into the possibilities of using the methodological and theoretical frameworks of Anthropology, for the study of film festivals. Also, it addresses the role of ethnographic film festivals in the development of Visual Anthropology. The book aims to explore the field of film festivals that are specialised in ethnographic or anthropological films, as well as the ethnographic and anthropological approaches to non-specialised film festival events. To this end, we invite submissions by both scholars and film festival professionals. The suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • History of ethnographic/anthropological film festivals
  • Comparative and critical perspectives on ethnographic/anthropological film festivals
  • Ethnographic accounts on specific film festivals or film festival circuits
  • Anthropological analysis of films festival events
  • Anthropology and  indigenous film festivals
  • The future of ethnographic film festivals
  • Circulation of ethnographic/anthropological films
  • Ethnographic/anthropological sidebars  at main, non-specialised films festivals
  • Festival reports, as well as interviews, will also be considered.

If you are interested in collaborating with the book, please send an abstract about the possible topic of your chapter (about 350 words), as well as 5 biblographical references and short CV (5 lines) to this email: festivalsanthropology[at]

Deadlines:  Abstract should be sent before January 20th, 2014. Final version of the chapter to be submitted by September 2014.

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Film Festival Symposium – Film Festivals, Culture and Gender (Istanbul, 27/12/2013)

Friday, 27 December 2013, 10:30-17:00
Istanbul, Kadir Has University

Filmmaking in Turkey has experienced a renaissance in the last decade. This was aided by, and in turn inspired, a surge in film festivals around the country. This growth in film festivals is not unique to Turkey however, and has been a global trend. Over the last few decades, film festivals have become a viable distribution channel in their own right, connecting films and audiences within a vast network. Concurrently, film festival research has become a rapidly growing field within film studies in the last few years.

A one-day symposium at Kadir Has University aims to examine these phenomena from different angles. The symposium will start with a panel reviewing film culture in Turkey, concentrating on the role of festivals in it. This will be followed by a panel focusing on programming, and another on issues of gender and sexuality within this context. Panel participants will not only be academics studying festivals, but will also include programmers from a number of national and international festivals, filmmakers, as well as film critics, aiming to create a multidimensional conversation. The audience is invited to participate actively in this discussion.

Attendance is free, the language of the symposium will be English.

10:30-12:30 Panel 1: Film Festivals and Film Culture in Turkey
(Mod.: Melis Behlil, Kadir Has University)

  • Dina Iordanova, University of St. Andrews
  • Lalehan Ocal, Yeditepe University
  • Azize Tan, Istanbul Film Festival
  • Ahmet Boyacioglu, Festival on Wheels
  • Engin Ertan, Film Critic


13:30-15:00 Panel 2: Programming Contexts and Concepts
(Mod.: Savas Arslan, Bahcesehir University)

  • Emine Yildirim, Producer
  • Serra Ciliv, !F Istanbul Independent Film Festival
  • Alisa Lebow, University of Sussex
  • Emel Celebi, Documentarist

Coffee Break

15:30-17:00 Panel 3: Film Festivals and Matters of Gender and Sexuality
(Mod.: Defne Tuzun, Kadir Has University)

  • Zeynep Dadak, Director
  • Ozlem Kinal, Flying Broom Women’s Film Festival
  • Skadi Loist, University of Hamburg / Hamburg International Queer Film Festival
  • Bilge Tas, Pembe Hayat KuirFest

Organization Committee:
Melis Behlil (Kadir Has University)
Lalehan Ocal (Yeditepe University)
Halil Turkden (Kadir Has University)

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CfP SYNOPTIQUE special issue “Other Networks: Expanding Film Festival Perspectives”

Only in the last twenty years have Film and Media scholars begun to grant film festivals significant attention. Bill Nichols’ seminal text “Global Image Consumption in the Age of Late Capitalism” (1994) is often cited as the first attempt at theorizing these complex phenomena. The initiative to bring Global Studies into contact with Film Studies has been followed by a number of scholars, some of whom contributed to the organization of the sub-field of film festival studies. As they were part of the discussion of global flows though, film festival networks were simultaneously thought as an alternative circuit for film distribution.

Synoptique  seeks to expand the conversation by proposing a special issue designed to encourage new frameworks for thinking about film festivals as a multi-faceted film industry and institution in an increasingly interconnected, or conversely disconnected, world. We welcome papers that experiment with new approaches to studying film festivals and their networks. We are particularly interested in interventions that take into account the multiplicity of scales often left out by, or subordinated to, the global focus that kicked off the scholarship on the topic, including the region or the diasporic. In addition, we believe that renewed attention to non-European and non-A-list film festivals, as well as historical perspectives, can contribute to illuminating the complexity of actors involved in film festivals, and question the festivals’ economical and political roles.  Thinking of the variety of existing festival circuits also entails theorizing networks as disrupted, open, or even incoherent and unstable.

This special issue is therefore seeking to position film festivals within a variety of contemporary and historical networks so as to appreciate the multiple ways in which they contribute to shape film cultures. To this end, we invite submissions by scholars and festival professionals. Festival reports as well as interviews, will also be considered.  Submissions can include, but are not limited to topics such as:

  • online film festivals
  • formal and informal networks
  • non-European and non A-list film festivals and their networks
  • film festivals and tourism
  • film festivals and national, regional or diasporic cinemas
  • issues of programming, the politics of film selection
  • approaches to the study of film festivals (e.g. Transnational vs. Global Studies)
  • film festivals and activism
  • film festivals and global cinema
  • how prizes, awards, competitions, and premiers influence programming
  • minorities film festivals (queer, LGBT, diaspora)
  • film festivals and narrow topics (e.g. bicycles, human rights, food, etc.)
  • film presentations as a part of festivals not solely devoted to film, or, conversely, other events offered within film festivals
  • film festivals and their audiences (as participants, spectators, consumers)
  • changes in long-running festivals due to shifts in politics, economics, demographics or technology

Submissions should be approximately 15-30 pages (interviews and reports may be shorter), written in either English or French, formatted according to MLA guidelines. Papers should be submitted by April 3rd, 2014. A link on will guide you through the submission process. Feel free to contact us at editor.synoptique[at] should you have any questions.

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Film Festival Research @ ECREA Film Conference, Lund, 8-9 Nov. 2013

European Film Cultures: An International Conference

Two panels will be devoted to film festival studies at this ECREA Film Studies Section Interim Conference taking place 8-9 November 2013 at Lund University, Sweden.

8 November 2013, 15.15–16.45
Panel 3: Film Festivals: Structures, Circuits, Networks
Chair: Eva Novrup Redvall (Copenhagen)
Room: H140

  • Ann Vogel (Humboldt University Berlin): The film festival as object of sociologic analysis: problem, method and theory
  • Skadi Loist (University of Hamburg): Queer circuits: the flow of LGBT films within the film festival ecosystem
  • Enrico Vannucci (Oxford Brookes University): Harmonic dissonance: an overview of the Italian short film festivals

9 November 2013, 15.50-17.50
Panel 13: Film Festivals: Memory and Programming
Chair: Skadi Loist (University of Hamburg)
Room: H135a

  • Lesley Ann Dickson (University of Glasgow): ‘Mainstream to arthouse, vintage to futuristic’:programming practices at Glasgow Film Festival and the challenges facing inclusive audience
  • Przemyslaw Suwart (Berlin): International Short Film Festival Oberhausen and New German Cinema
  • Iratxe Fresneda Delgado (University of Basque Country UPV-EHU): Far from (women’s) visibility: FIAPF competitive film festivals

You can access the full conference program here.

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CfP for edited book ‘Film Festival Activism: Actors, Spectators, Social Change’

If we take as departure the idea that film festivals are knowledge-sites and communal spaces that call forth a specific type of spectator, then we can begin to ask questions about the particular spaces and spectators created by activist/human rights film festivals. As these sorts of festivals negotiate a variety of discourses, most particularly ‘film festival’ and the social/human rights issues that organises them thematically, one of the most central discursive features is that which centres on ‘social change’. Through this idea[l] the spectator is hailed as an active participant, the films are to act as motivators, and discussions that usually follow film screenings are to expand on the issues raised by the film and motivate further. In this way gazing at others’ troubles is expected to be more than a passive watching of trauma, but involve an ethically and politically engaged spectator who will traverse the world of the screen and that of material being through social action. Although much has already been written about the mediating and distancing effects of witnessing ‘distant suffering’, in this volume we wish to interrogate this idea as one that has productive elements but also quite distinctly politico-cultural dimensions that, in the space of activist/human rights film festivals, configures its viewing publics in quite definite ways.

Following on from the recent work by Leshu Torchin (2012) in her book Creating the Witness: Documenting Genocide on Film, Video, and the Internet, we want to begin thinking about these dimensions within the context of visual activism in a film festival, and to do it from a discursive perspective. In that book Leshu explores notions of testimony and witnessing as performed through the media-saturated documentation of two genocides to interrogate the ideological work of images proliferated via various form of media. But we also wish contributors to consider Lilie Chouliaraki’s book The Ironic Spectator: Solidarity in the Age of Post-Humanitarianism (2013) where she discusses the creation of a detached viewer of media generated humanitarian suffering who is more concerned about their own self-image than the plight of others. In a film festival a specific type of spectating takes place, one that is more selective (because audiences self-select, must physically attend, as well as outlaying resources to do so – time and money), and thereby premised on greater levels of agency and activity; as well as being communal-like encounters. And these are sites where audiences are being reformulated through the performance of various discourses – for example, in human rights film festivals the discourses of film festivals (cinephilia) and human rights (internationalisation/cosmopolitanisation).

Perhaps one way in which the work of the two above scholars can be extended is to consider that as these discourses are being negotiated in the space of a film festival, they may be occurring differently according to the relative geopolitical positioning of the spectator. So, for example, in recent research by one of the co-editors of this tome, human rights in Argentina are read as a highly-charged frame for political actors to use domestically. This is related to the history of modern human rights: who has developed and therefore ‘owns’ them. Another may be to read these festivals through the theoretical frame of Third Cinema, in which ‘the film act’ is a political act of engagement with the material world of being mediated by film but acted on by people. The film act considers films to be in a relationship, intersected by power and culture, but ultimately mediated by people who must act in the world of being. The post-screening discussions which are mandatory as part of the film act, and other activities that now take place as part of many activist film festivals (post-festival stalls; education modules for e.g.) must be taken into account in the creation of a more active, engaged, and concerned spectator, even if always intersected by geopolitical forms of power and discourses that position them differently. In this sense, human rights/ activist film festivals can enact a political program for cinema, one which is based upon the relations between filmic signification and the social. To put this in the terms espoused by the Third Cinema manifestos that came out of Latin America in the late 1960s, early 1970s, human rights/ activist film festivals attempt to integrate art and the cultural spaces that spectators inhabit.[1] Arguably, this means that any challenges such festivals seek to pose to the idea of the passive or inactive spectator, are challenges that can only be meaningfully undertaken in relation to particular viewing audiences – the ones attending the festivals – and to the shape and dynamics of their reception.[2]

It might therefore be important to ask whether a given festival takes into consideration the particular social worlds its audiences inhabit when it goes about the business of trying to provoke spectators into action. Another related issue is to what extent there is a tension or conflict between treating cinema as a tool for change – whether this change has to do with consciousness raising or modifying behaviour – and seeking to procure commercial and/or popular success. Are there individual human rights festivals that face having to risk audience pleasure and satisfaction in order to show socially pertinent material? Or is this not an issue for many festivals, and if not why? Alternatively, the focus could be on examining how human rights film festivals constitute particular kinds of public spheres – whether proletarian or bourgeois, mainstream or alternative. Such public spheres facilitate specific forms of citizen expression, association, and knowledge-production, and they often do so in a way that connects the virtual world of Internet social networks with the physical world of city, urban or rural space.

Contributors can consider the following topics as possibilities, but others can be proposed:

  • theoretical engagement with humanitarian spectatorship as it applies to human rights/activist film festivals
  • human rights/activist film festivals as discursive sites
  • Critical engagement with the idea of ‘social change’ and what this means for the spectator in a human rights/activist film festival
  • How does ‘the political’ enter into the construction of an active spectator as filtered through human rights discourse?
  • What are the political dimensions to be considered in the creation of the human rights spectator that are different to other forms of activism? e.g. the global/ internationalising dimension
  • In what ways is human rights discourse being recreated differently in different national contexts subverted, or modified?
  •  If film festival discourse relies on elements of cinephilia, how is this present/absent in human rights/activist film festivals?
  • Film festivals were originally established to subvert the dominance of Hollywood and promote national cinemas, while human rights demand an internationalising gaze; how do these apparently opposing imperatives converge in a human rights film festival to encourage the spectator to create social change?
  • How is ‘the film act’ apparent in activist/human rights film festivals?

Time frames:
Abstract of 500 words must be received by Monday 30th September, 2013
A short bio and publications to be included
Acceptance/ non-acceptance will be sent out by Monday 14th October, 2013
Proposal to publisher immediately after
Chapters of 5.500 – 6.000 words to be received by Friday 28th February, 2014

Abstracts/ bio to be sent to: Dr. Sonia Tascón and  Dr. Tyson Wils

[1] For an overview of the key ideas in the manifestos produced in Latin America, and also in regions such as North Africa, see Paul Willemen’s (1989) The Third Cinema Question: Notes and Reflections.

[2] The issue of how socio-political formations shape both the production and reception of cinema is discussed by Paul Willemen in his analysis of Third Cinema’s aims and practices.

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CfP: Cultural transfer and political conflicts. Film festivals in the Cold War – Leipzig 05/14

Cultural transfer and political conflicts. Film festivals in the Cold War |
Kultureller Austausch und politische Konflikte. Filmfestivals im Kalten Krieg
09/10 May 2014, Leipzig

Hannah-Arendt-Institut für Totalitarismusforschung e.V., TU Dresden;
Centre d’histoire culturelle des sociétés contemporaines, University of Versailles

Deadline: 31.10.2013

Film festivals are often political issues. In 1956 for instance, Alain Resnais’ documentary “Night And Fog” about the crimes against Jews during the Nazi era was supposed to be presented in Cannes. But the West German as well as the French government intervened against the screening to prevent discussions about the Holocaust that could affect the French-German relations. In 1963, Federico Fellinis film “8 ½” caused a scandal at the Moscow International Film Festival after the jury awarded the film one of the main prizes. Soviet politicians criticised the decision and reprimanded the jury for their “mistake”. In 1970, the Berlinale was even broken off completely because the jury resigned after a controversial debate about Michael Verhoevens Vietnam film “o.k.” These examples illustrate the significance of Film festivals for a cultural history of the Cold War. The history of the festivals includes aspects interesting in relation to contemporary history, because after the war each festival – willingly or not – had to deal with the political and social developments in the world. While film turned into the most powerful media during the 20th century the European festivals established as schowcases for filmmakers and their perception of reality. Concurrently other private and governmental players were also interested in the prestigious character of the festivals: film producers as well as politicians used them to present their ideas on politics und arts publicly.

For research into the history of the festivals, not only the films chosen or refused for a festival for their political content or artistic quality are of particular interest as a field of study. Furthermore, the festivals’ backdrop of cultural policy also permits conclusions about processes that are interesting historically, for instance, the funding of the festivals, the awards given to some of the films or the perception of the festivals in contemporary media. Last but not least, the institutional and personal relationships between the festivals may be subject to historical study to outline the political tension and interdependency between both rivalling blocks of power.The workshop will focus on the relevance of Film festivals in the context of cultural policy during the period of the Cold War. Papers should discuss political or cultural conflicts in the context of the festivals and examine their social background. Furthermore, papers could address the relevance of Film festivals for a cultural transfer between Eastern and Western Europe, e.g. through the participation of directors or journalists from the different blocks. Beside the “big” Festivals in Cannes, Venice or Berlin the workshop will focus in particular on the Eastern European Festivals, e.g. Moscow, Karlovy Vary, Belgrade or Krakow. The main aim of the workshop is to outline the differences between the festivals and to illustrate their cultural political context.

Papers can be presented in German or English. Please submit your proposal (maximum 500 words) together with a short C.V. by October 31st to: Andreas Kötzing and Caroline Moine


Filmfestivals sind häufig ein Politikum. 1956 sollte zum Beispiel in Cannes Alain Resnais Dokumentation “Nacht und Nebel” über die Gewaltverbrechen der NS-Zeit gezeigt werden. Die französische und die bundesdeutsche Regierung intervenierten jedoch gegen die Aufführung des Films – weil sie befürchte, die Erwähnung des Holocaust könne den deutsch-französischen Beziehungen schaden. 1963 kam es beim Moskauer Filmfestival zu einem Eklat, nachdem die Jury Federico Fellinis Film “8 ½” mit dem Hauptpreis ausgezeichnet hatte. Von den sowjetischen Kulturbehörden wurde die Entscheidung scharf kritisiert und die Jury für ihr “Fehlverhalten” öffentlich getadelt. 1970 musste die Berlinale sogar ganz abgebrochen werden, nachdem sich die Jury des Festivals über Michael Verhoevens Vietnamfilm “O.K.” vollends zerstritten und ihren Rücktritt erklärt hatte. Beispiele wie diese veranschaulichen die Bedeutung, die Filmfestivals für eine kulturhistorische Betrachtung des Kalten Krieges haben können. Ihre Geschichte beinhaltet eine allgemeine, zeithistorisch interessante Komponente, da sich die Festivals nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges – gewollt oder ungewollt – mit den internationalen politischen und gesellschaftlichen Entwicklungen auseinandersetzen mussten. Während sich das Medium Film selbst zu einem Leitmedium des letzten Jahrhunderts entwickelte, etablierten sich in Europa zahlreiche Festivals, die als Schaufenster für Filmemacher und deren unterschiedliche Wahrnehmungen von Wirklichkeit dienten. Gleichzeitig waren auch andere, private und staatliche Akteure an den repräsentativen Funktionen der Festivals interessiert: Filmproduzenten konnten sie ebenso wie Politiker als Bühnen nutzen, um ihre eigenen Vorstellungen von Politik und Kunst öffentlichkeitswirksam zu präsentieren.

Als Untersuchungsfeld stehen nicht nur die Filme zur Diskussion, die aufgrund ihres Inhalts und ihrer künstlerischen Qualität von den Festivals ausgewählt oder aber gezielt abgelehnt wurden. Darüber hinaus ermöglicht auch der kulturpolitische Kontext der Festivals Rückschlüsse auf historisch interessante Prozesse, beispielsweise durch die Frage der Finanzierung eines Festivals, die Vergabe von Preisen oder die Rezeption in den zeitgenössischen Medien. Nicht zuletzt bieten sich die institutionellen und persönlichen Beziehungen zwischen den Festivals für Untersuchungen an, um mögliche Spannungen und Wechselwirkungen zwischen den rivalisierenden Machtblöcken aufzeigen zu können. Im Rahmen des Workshops soll die kulturpolitische Bedeutung der Filmfestivals vor dem Hintergrund des Kalten Krieges diskutiert werden. Gesucht sind Beiträge, die sich gezielt mit politischen oder künstlerischen Konflikten im Rahmen der Festivals beschäftigen und deren gesellschaftliche Hintergründe beleuchten. Darüber hinaus soll die Relevanz der Festivals für den künstlerischen Austausch innerhalb Europas thematisiert werden, zum Beispiel durch die Beteiligung von Regisseuren und Journalisten aus dem jeweils anderen Machtbereich. Neben den “großen” Spielfilmfestivals von Cannes, Venedig und Berlin soll der Fokus dabei vor allem auf den osteuropäischen Filmfestivals liegen, u.a. Moskau, Karlovy Vary, Belgrad und Krakau. Ziel ist es, die Unterschiede zwischen den einzelnen Festivals herauszuarbeiten und ihren jeweiligen kulturpolitischen Kontext zu hinterfragen.

Themenvorschläge für Beiträge auf Deutsch oder Englisch (max. 2.000 Zeichen) können zusammen mit einem kurzen Lebenslauf per E-Mail bis zum 31. Oktober 2013 an folgende Adressen gerichtet werden: Andreas Kötzing und Caroline Moine


Andreas Kötzing
Hannah-Arendt-Institut für Totalitarismusforschung e.V.
D-01062 Dresden
+49 351/46332401 | +49 351/46336079

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