Why people come to film festival?

What makes a film festival unique? If I am a film festival organizer, what should I do to make my festival attractive? These questions keep floating in my mind ever since I joined the lecture. The topic we discussed during week four explained all my confusions by introducing Bourdieu’s “Capital, Habitus and Field” concepts.

When we apply Bourdieu’s “field” concept with the film festival, it indicates that film festival is a field of cultural production. Usually, the film in film festival are excluded from the mainstream commercial-based Hollywood industry, what it provides is a place for artistic film and distributes a notion that ‘art for art’s sake.’ At film festival films also encourage people to discuss and engage with their contents. A place that shapes people’s arts’ taste. In other words, the film festival is both playing a role as gatekeeper and tastemaker (Lecture notes Week 4).

In Yolal, M, Veronica Rus, R, Cosma, S & Gursoy, D (2016)’s article they examined the motivations for people to attend the film festival, taking Transylvania International Film Festival (TIFF) as a case. The results illustrated that film festival are no longer acting like a small gala for film professionals and scholars, it now starts attracting visitors outside the industries. According to the survey, one important reason for participants in TIFF is for a cultural learning opportunity. Scholars claimed that the importance of film festival is on building community cohesion as well (Yolal, M, Veronica Rus, R, Cosma, S & Gursoy, D 2016, pp. 266-267).

On the other hand, specific film festival also provides counter-public spaces for marginalized people and subjects. A study done by Heath, T (2018) indicates that LGBT/queer film festival not only provides consolidate community and identity experience but also notify the government and social environment. Such film festivals are not the educational purpose nor shaping the public’s tastes. But they serve a more important goal, to shout out for human rights and raise awareness for the specific group among society. “The LGBT/queer film festival can be viewed as the performance of a radical queer citizenship and counter-public. Through the acknowledgment of a queer past and development of political strategies for the future, they offer a glimpse of what a queer utopian space might look like.” (Heath, T 2018, pp. 51).

In conclusion, the film festival provides not only an opportunity for studying and communicating with different cultures and histories, it also performs as a platform for people to disseminate their thoughts and voices to the public. The film festival is not just about the film itself, it’s a carrier for civilizations to endure.






Yolal, M, Veronica Rus, R, Cosma, S & Gursoy, D, 2015, ‘A Pilot Study on Spectators’ Motivations and Their Socio-Economic Perceptions of a Film Festival’, Journal of Convention & Event Tourism, Vol. 16, Issue. 3, pp: 253-271, DOI: 10.1080/15470148.2015.1043610


Heath, T, 2018, ‘Saving space: strategies of space reclamation at early women’s film festivals and queer film festivals today’, Studies in European Cinema, Vol. 15, Issue. 1, pp: 41-54, DOI: 10.1080/17411548.2018.1432924


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