Film Festivals: Global Cinephilia, Culture, Politics, and Business
This course is an exploration of multiple forces that explain the growth, global spread and institutionalization of international film festivals. The global boom in film industry has resulted in an incredible proliferation of film festivals taking place all around the world, and festivals have become one of the biggest growth industries. A dizzying convergence site of cinephilia, media spectacle, business agendas and geopolitical purposes, film festivals offer a fruitful ground on which to investigate the contemporary global cinema network. Film festivals will be approached as a site where numerous lines of the world cinema map come together, from culture and commerce, experimentation and entertainment, political interests and global business patterns. To analyze the network of film festivals, we will address a wide range of issues, including historical and geopolitical forces that shape the development of festivals, festivals as an alternative marketplace, festivals as a media event, programming and agenda setting, prizes, cinephilia, and city marketing. Individual case studies of international film festivals—Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Rotterdam, Karlovy Vary, Toronto, Sundance among others—will enable us to address all these diverse issues but also to establish a theoretical framework with which to approach the study of film festival. For students planning to attend the Penn-in-Cannes program, this course provides an excellent foundation that will prepare you for the on-site experience of the King of all festivals.