Chapter 4: Film festivals and world cinema

Film Festivals and world cinema 

◉ “Chapter 4 addresses the most salient feature of world cinema after the 1980s: the global boom and influence of international film festivals, which have become one of the biggest growth industries. The diversity and expansion of film festivals are as daunting as their multidimensional role in shaping world cinema. Film festivals have consolidated the one marginal role of art cinema into one of the strongest and most influential modes of filmmaking. While the chapter acknowledges the complicated web of functions performed by film festivals, our emphasis is on the crucial role that festivals have played in the production of knowledge that guides our understanding of world cinema. This chapter explores the ways in which festivals are not only exhibition and distribution platforms, but play an active role in shaping the very landscape of world cinema, and by implication our understanding of it” (Deshpande and Mazaj 12).

◉ “All levels of film cultures, from local and regional to international, have witnessed an incredible proliferation of film festivals since the 1980s, and they have become one of the biggest growth industries… The genesis of film festivals can be outlined in three phases: in their first, post-Second World War phase, festivals were funded by the state, served as important vehicles for national identity, and were largely motivated by political and ideological interests; in their second attempt to extricate themselves from political and commercial interests, and reinvested themselves as sites that provide support to and nurture cinema as high art; in their third, globalized phase (since the 1980s), festivals proliferate around the globe, diversify in their function, and form a complex global festival network” (105).

Film festivals and national cinema

◉ In their initial phase, festivals were driven mainly by geopolitical agendas, and were used as platforms for European national cinemas 

◉ The primacy of geopolitical agendas continued into the post-war era, with the Cold War playing a key role in the formation of new festivals 

◉ The importance of geopolitical factors during film festival phase is integrally connected to the formation of festivals as showcases for national cinema and a statement of national identity 

Film Festivals and art cinema 

◉  The events of 1968–The student movements in Berkeley, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Bangkok, and Mexico that all participated in a global revolt against capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism–had significant social and political consequences that also echoed in the world of the arts and cinema specifically

◉  The primary role assigned to the institution of film festivals in this phase was to promote cinema as high art and the director as auteur

◉  Festivals in the 60s became devoted to art cinema on an international scale

Film festivals and world cinema 

◉  The most important moment for our context of world cinema is in the 1980s, when festivals spread over the entire globe, diversify, and become institutionalized, forming an international film festival network

◉ New festivals begin searching for new discoveries, new auteurs, and new national cinemas to distinguish for themselves in the growing and increasingly competitive festival circuit

◉ Since the 80s, smaller, regional, and thematic film festivals that add new dimensions to the festival network in terms of issues, aesthetic, and audiences. 

◉ Festivals leave their single affiliation with cities and aim to become world cinema festivals, both in their programming and general profile  


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