What value does a film festival deliver?

So, what is a film festival? Dayan (2002) depicted the film festival as a set of division of work (by filmmakers,festival organizers,media,the audience etc.)and he also believes that it is not only about visual presentations but also relying on different sources of legitimacy”(Dayan 2000: 52).

Richards & Crespi-Valbona (2007) sees film festivals as a “catalyst” for urban renewal. A city can attract tourists and capital investments through holding various eye-catching festivals. They also discussed how livable cities commodified festivals for their inclusive purposes, for instance enhancing their self-identification and sense of belonging. Ros Derett argues that communities can strengthen cultural development and tourism at same time by holding festival events to spread their culture around. Hence, we can assume film festivals equip those functions that mentioned above. But, is that all? Is it all about culture, capital and tourists?

Let’s see what happened in Kimberly. I went to the premiere of Undermined: Tales from the Kimberly in MIFF, it’s a documentary of a sad story, aboriginal people live in northwest Australia are losing their land while government is trying to exploit the land for economic purposes. The story began with the confrontation between aboriginal communities and governments. The saddest part is, although Australia is such a developed country (no matter in democratic or economic extent), aboriginal people in Kimberly can do nothing except protesting. They still cannot change the government’s decision, and they were the original owner of this land. What the documentary has portrayed is authentic living situations of aboriginal people, they are the vulnerable groups and marginal voice that have been continuously ignoring. In the Q&A session, an audience asked the producers how to help Kimberly aboriginals, the producer replied they are also figuring it out. It seems to be a powerless answer, but they are not policymakers, they have used their professionalism to record social problems, and brought the beautiful work to MIFF. The packed theater and continuous applause explained everything. Some audiences were wearing school uniforms. MIFF provides a window for these non-commercial movies to display and the funding organization sponsored producer team to complete their work. Audiences can see what is really going on other than their peaceful life and act to help. I remember when we exited the theatre there were few festival volunteers handed us small cards, on cards are basically what audiences can offer to help Kimberly people. It was direct, powerful, thought-provoking and persuasive.

Hence, what values do a film festival delivers? Besides being a displaying and exchanging platform?

Jungen claimed that film festivals are media events that interests in different people including young ladies longing to become famous, film companies that looking for talents to make next blockbuster and filmmakers in search of an audience/career. Schwartz once said that “Instead of merely engaging in a celebration of local culture,international film festivals contribute to the creation of a transnational and cosmopolitan film culture,and to achieve this end they use spectacle,stars and glamour”. When the celebrities walking on red carpet, they draw attentions not only for themselves but thanks to them that film festivals can get more media coverage to influence people in other things.

The films has selected by the film festivals jury are actually what values (aesthetic/ cultural/ political/ professionalism)they are going to deliver to the audience, meanwhile they are cultivate audience for their expected aesthetic standard.

2 thoughts on “What value does a film festival deliver?

  1. Hello, would you be able to tell me your name, so I can allocate the blog to the gradebook? thanks! Irina


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