The film festival is an important part of the cultural industry while the red carpet ceremony is the most representative element in the film festival. The red carpet ceremony is a special symbol of the film festival which displays far more than just celebrities and gossip. It is also a miniature form that shows various elements and groups involved in the film festival and the film industry, including the celebrity, the producer, the director, the media, etc. The social relationship between them and the power operation behind it involves many aspects of culture, business, and politics.①
With the increasing importance of film festivals in the cultural industry, relevant research on film festivals has received more attention. Especially since the 21st century, the European academic circles have taken the film festival away from the traditional film history research, as a new historical research object, and examined it in a systematic and networked social context.① As a ritual created by the film festival, the red carpet and the mass media are mutually constructed. Due to the semi-openness and geographical limitations of the red carpet ceremony of the important international film festival, the main channel for the red carpet information to reach the public’s sight is the spread of the media, especially the spread of television and the Internet, which shape the content of the red carpet ceremony.② In other words, the red carpet ceremony not only creates cultural value for the film festival in the film art but also produces entertainment value, news value, economic value, and professional value in the process of media communication.
The process of the red carpet ceremony varies from region to region. Like the Shanghai International Film Festival or the Beijing Film Festival in China, the red carpet event agenda is jointly set by TV media and film organizations. The red carpet will have an on-site host to conduct an official live broadcast, on-site introduction, interviews, and control of the progress of the event. By contrast, the red carpet ceremony at the Cannes Film Festival and the Berlin Film Festival do not set up such a unified control host. A media reporter can conduct interviews according to different topics. Such reports are relatively more diversity.
In addition, the film festival red carpet has become increasingly commercial, with many sponsors using celebrities to take the red carpet to draw attention. As a result, the film festival red carpet shows and produces a series of goods, including luxury clothing and jewelry, celebrity status media coverage, and audience attention. The film festival red carpet became a commercial chain, and the media’s communication process and technology expanded the scope of commercialization. For example, at the opening ceremony of the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in 2010, Chinese actor Fan Bingbing wore the “Dragon Robe”, which represents the ancient Chinese royal culture. The designer put the elements of culture into the dress, which not only won a lot of attention but also promoted the Chinese culture.
Therefore, I think “red carpet” is not only a ceremony of the film festival but also it gradually becomes a spreading commercialization process. Celebrities, film producers, brand sponsors, film festival platforms and media can all benefit from it.
①De Valck, Marijke. Film festivals: From European geopolitics to global cinephilia, Amsterdam University Press, 2007; Thomas Elsaesser, “ Film Festival Networks: The New Topographies of cinema in Europe,” in Europe Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005 pp. 82-107.
②Wong, Cindy Hing-Yuk. Film festivals: Culture, people, and power on the global screen. Rutgers University Press, 2011.