As one of the most popular art forms around the world, watching movies has been an effective way for audiences to explore the other side of the society and culture where you are not familiar with or even never heard of. Nowadays, what I appreciated most is the cross-cultural phenomenon embedded in the increasing number of film festivals.
I have attended some film festivals in the last five years, including Latin American Film Festival happened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; FIRST International Young Film Festival arrived in Xining, China, and Melbourne International Film Festival. From my perspective, the meaning of film festival that I attended is far more than red carpet and media attention but positioned as the functional mechanism to provoke the cross-cultural collaboration and participation together with other art forms to generate a significant individual and social change.
In contemporary society, many film festivals had introduced the cross-cultural screen to people from the different cultural background. The first festival I attended was Latin American Film festival back in 2015. Before that, I had never watched any Latin America movies. Because I was invited to participate the celebration as a reporter, I interviewed one of the organizers, who is also the ambassador of Colombia, I remembered the person told me what they wanted to achieve was the audiences could find the cultural and social richness of the Latin American countries through their free screening movies. The festival opening ceremony was quite unique. It was a middle-scale free buffet open to the public, which served the variety of traditional food and drinks. I felt like the film festival can also represent sharing for different people. It is not only about screening the movie but also a massive integration of culture.
(Image Credit: LIFESTYLE ASIA.com)
Next, I would like to share my experience of MIFF. As the top Film festival in Melbourne, one of the highly multicultural cities in the world, it is definitely fully demonstrated the cross-cultural communication and collaboration. More than 400 films were showing at the festival, which is a high amount. On its official websites, audiences can search movies by different categories, such as Countries and Languages, genres and themes, directors, access options…
My friends and I watched the movie recommended by our lectures: “Undermined: Tales from the Kimberley.” It is the first documentary I watched about Australia Aboriginal people. The film was fantastic; because it gave me the first impression of their culture and also helped me to understand the dilemma faced by indigenous people in their northwest homeland. Before I came to Australia, I have heard about the indigenous people, but I knew nothing about them, for example, where they live, how they face city modernization, The premiere screening also included the Welcome speech of director and producers, as well as the live performance by musician Albert Wiggan from Kimberley. I even impressed by the music. Even though I did not catch what lyrics he sang very well, I still immersed my self in the whole session. Speech, music, in-depth conversation, and the movie made the unique features of the film festival to engage with audiences and convey the social and cultural implication. After watching, I hope more people can watch the movie, and to at least gain some knowledge about the people who may be neglected by the society or even makes a small change by first caring about their culture via film festival.
(Sculpture in Theatre where the documentary screened)