A scene in the 2018 MIFF
(Retrieved from: http://miff.com.au/)
Furthermore, the form of film festivals is also similar to celebrations. Distinguished from daily life, a celebration has to be temporary, as same as film festivals. When a celebration happens, people will focus on the theme of the celebration, as they will do at a film festival. Meanwhile, people will ignore other things when they are celebrating, just as if they were in a dark cinema and the only spotlight was the screen. Hence, when audience are attending a film festival, they are exactly celebrating.
As for MIFF, this premiere was also a celebration. First, it was a world premiere which signifies the film was formally finished and watched by the public. This meaning reminds me of those “harvest celebrations” where people will gather together and enjoy their earliest harvest of the year. Here, the harvest is the film and people from different corners of the world were gathering to enjoy the premiere of the harvest. Then, the host and guests made this premiere being a celebration rather than a normal film-watching experience. Except for the premiere, you probably won’t be able to see the director and filmmakers before the play of the film. Like the host or hostess at a celebration, these facilitators announced the beginning of the premiere and controlled the pace of the whole ceremony. What is more, the spirit of the premiere is “gratefulness”, which is also the core of celebrations. Clearly, the film itself is not about expressing “gratefulness”, but the premiere is. The filmmakers and guests were grateful for being invited. The audience were grateful for being the first group of people to watch the film. And the organisers were grateful that both the guests and audience enjoyed this premiere. People in the theatre were grateful and celebrating the finishing and showing of the film.
Respect: the emotional function
Respect is a common emotional need of human being. This need comes from the diversity of culture. Because of the differences among individuals, misunderstanding happens all the time. And lots of historical issues are derived from belittling others’ cultures. Nowadays, “respect” has become a foundational moral standard when facing this “global village”. For most of us, film festivals are a fantastic chance to earn the respect of the audience from other cultures, and what is more, show respect to others (Andersen, 42).
Respect is something that will only happen after communication. This means differences must be seen and understood. To learn to respect others, the public needs a place to touch different cultures and a medium to translate these unknown things into the form they can understand. To this extent, our schools and textbooks are able to educate us to respect others. However, when it comes to earning respect from others, the methods are fairly limited. Because this objective needs a global stage to show your culture and the audience of the stage have to pay attention to your content. Most of our daily venues cannot finish this task. Nevertheless, film festivals can make it.
Film festivals are a kind of special cultural exhibition. Audience are able to watch the films generated by different cultures. The opinions behind these cultural products are crushing, merging, and diversifying each other on this public stage. Respect, this emotional need is satisfied at film festivals.
At the premiere, this film presented Aboriginal culture to the audience. The audience in the theatre showed their respect for the minority culture even some of them might do not agree with some opinions in the film. For aboriginal people, this premiere is meaningful for allowing the world to know their charming culture and their attitude towards economic development and environment. MIFF satisfied their respect need, obviously. What is more, by playing various films, MIFF is doing this job at every part of the festival and for all participants who are on behalf of their original culture.
The premiere is just a little part of MIFF, but it is enough for us to understand some functions of film festivals are offering: learning, celebration, and respect. Film festival is an important event of media industry, which means it can professionally support the film industry. The public finally will earn educational, entertaining and emotional benefits from film festivals.
Andersen, Joceline. “From the Ground Up: Transforming the Inside Out LGBT Film and Video Festival of Toronto.” Canadian Journal of Film Studies = Revue Canadienne d’Études Cinematographiques, vol. 21, no. 1, 2012, pp. 38-57. ProQuest, https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/docview/1346605031?accountid=12528.
Johnston, Graeme, Kerri Underwood, and Pamela Curtin. “A Primary School and Middle Years Teacher Resource: ‘Dream a Better World’ – A Film Festival for Australian Primary Schools.” Screen Education, no. 47, 2007, pp. 64-66. ProQuest, https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/docview/2379473?accountid=12528.