How do film festivals work?: A conversation with Joshua Oppenheimer

Few documentary filmmakers have been as widely discussed in recent years as Joshua Oppenheimer. He burst onto the scene in 2012 with The Act of Killing, one of the more powerful feature-length debuts of any genre in recent memory. The documentary is about politically-motivated, state-sponsored killings in the 1960s in Indonesia and the residue of […]

Rediscovering Frantz Fanon at Scotland’s Africa in Motion film festival

The Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival was founded in 2006 by Lizelle Bisschoff as a solution to the marginalisation and under-representation of African films in the UK. Between 2006 and 2015 AiM screened over 5,000 films to a combined audience of 30,000 people in the UK.[1] Since 2006 AiM has been organised and managed […]

Human rights, film, and social change: Screening Rights Film Festival, Birmingham Centre for Film Studies

The inaugural Birmingham Screening Rights film festival screened its programme of 7 films in July 2015 over three days under the auspices of human rights in a region that houses some of England’s greatest ethnic diversity. The small number of films screened over such a short time might suggest that this did not constitute a […]

Of calendars and industries: IDFA and CPH:DOX

This article focuses on the strategies developed by two Northern European documentary film festivals – International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) and Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (CPH:DOX) – to position themselves in the international festival ecosystem and develop a differentiated identity.[1] Over the past ten years I have been conducting research at documentary film […]

Selling film in the summer of 2015: Midnight Sun, Il Cinema Ritrovato, and Karlovy Vary

In the summer of 2015 I undertook an eight-week journey from Istanbul to Paris (part of a year-long research project documented on my blog The Itinerant Cinephile[1]) that involved visits to film festivals, independent theaters, and exhibition venues throughout the United States and Europe. With the practice of public movie-going imperiled as never before, I […]

Made in Peru: Lima Film Festival comes of age

The Festival de Cine de Lima (Lima Film Festival) was launched in 1997 as ‘elcine’ with ten days of screenings composed of 21 features and 38 shorts from ten Latin American countries alongside a three-day event in the southern city of Arequipa. Over 15,000 spectators attended what was described by its organisers as an ‘unprecedented […]

Strong positioning on the international festival circuit: An interview with Diana Iljine of Filmfest München

By setting a new attendance record, showing remarkable growth in the number of film professionals and media representatives, as well as a significant increase in media coverage, the 33rd Filmfest München (25 June – 4 July 2015)[1] confirmed its growing relevance as the second largest film festival in Germany. In addition, the introduction of two […]

We can haz film fest!: Internet Cat Video Festival goes viral

A festival devoted to internet cat videos set out on a 2014 cross-Canada tour with this promotional tagline – ‘All the cattiness of the film fest. But with cats.’ Just for Cats: Internet Cat Video Festival drew programming from its internationally-acclaimed namesake (also known as #catvidfest), which was launched in 2012 by the Walker Art […]

Hollywood legacies and Russian laughter: Le Giornate del Cinema Muto / Pordenone Silent Film Festival 2014

Over the past three decades Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, or the Pordenone Silent Film Festival, has become an indispensible forum for academics, archivists, and collectors working on silent cinema. The festival is held in Pordenone, a small city in northern Italy, and is organised and curated by an international crowd of specialists in the […]

Dispatches from the dark: A conversation with Neil Young at the 2015 International Film Festival Rotterdam

Most large film festivals contain a constellation of attendees: casual moviegoers, devoted cinephiles, filmmakers, distributors, sales agents, and programmers – all of these figures help form the rich culture of film festivals. Central to this culture is the film critic, who travels the festival circuit filing film reviews and reports for media outlets.[1] The festival […]

Dossier: International Film Festival Rotterdam 2015

From 21 January until 1 February 2015 the 44th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam was held. For Rutger Wolfson it was his last festival as director. A couple of weeks earlier he had announced he would step down after this edition.[1] In 2004 Wolfson had joined the festival board and in 2008 he […]

River-to-River Florence Indian Film Festival: The Italian response to Bollywood cinema

Indie Indian films have gained exponential attention from the academic community since 2011 when Delhi Belly (Abhinay Deo, 2011), a thought-provoking film produced by the Bollywood star Aamir Khan, was screened at the London Indian Film Festival. Prior to this upsurge the River-to-River Florence Indian Film Festival has strenuously promoted the value of ‘other’ Indian […]

Progressive spaces and lines of battle: Bristol Radical Film Festival 2014

Introduction The ethos of the Bristol Radical Film Festival (BRFF), now in its fourth year, appears to be the provision of a space for the screening of films with a strong emphasis on discussion and debate. The festival represents a shift away from merely exhibiting a range of works and onto an examination of the […]

Film festival management and programming

St Andrews Film Studies publishes the book series Films Need Festivals, Festivals Need Films under the editorship of Dina Iordanova. The series is now in its 6th edition in as many years, with the two newest being Coming Soon to a Festival Near You: Programming Film Festivals edited by Jeffrey Ruoff (St Andrews Film Studies, […]

Minds, bodies, and hearts: Flare London LGBT Film Festival 2014

LGBTQ film festivals are engaged in a precarious dance. They cannot live without the identity categories that designate both their mission and their audience and yet they cannot live easily with these identities, which are continually expanded, revised, and contested. The growth of public discourse around previously marginalised identities (including but not limited to lesbian, […]