Attendance at MIFF

This year I got the chance to attend the most popular and oldest Melbourne based film festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) in Australia. It was my chance to get to watch the international cinema. Founded in 1952, the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) is the largest festival that of Australia and the Southern Hemisphere that is held every year over three weeks in Melbourne, Australia. (Melbourne International Film Festival 2018).37°South is the finance market of MIFF that plays essential part in making Melbourne a platform for national and international screen industry (Melbourne International Film Festival 2018).Michelle Carey is handling all the work as the artistic director at MIFF since 2017.

The 2018 was the 67th year of Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). The festival happened between August 2-19 and showcased 254 feature films, 19 virtual reality experiences, and 120 shorts.  It was the largest selection, including 43 titles from Cannes, African cinema, fashion, indigenous people, and Italo-Crime genre. Some of the best cinematic delights hosted during the MIFF from all around the world includes Wildlife, The Tale (a childhood trauma drama), Profile (horror thriller), Juliet, Naked (adaptation), The Green Fog (Mystery & Suspense), Damsel (western comedy), Kusama Infinity (documentary), Leave No Trace (drama). Not forgetting about the local cinema, MIFF showcased about twenty new and amazing Aussie features. Among these, The Merger,based on the same stage show name was shown in the middle of the festival, whereas, the documentary based on real Melbourne event of October 2017 called The Coming Back Out ballwas shown in the end. In addition to these, Acute Misfortune, Celeste,Undertow,Island of the Hungry Ghosts, Happy Sad Man, as well as Undermined:Tales from The Kimberleywere also hosted during the festival. Overall, the festival was exceptional and iconic cultural event that offered a transformative experience for everyone present there.

Although it was difficult to choose; however, on the personal front, I was excited to watch two films, Wildlife and Shoplifters, from the moment I read their summary.Yet, there was one additional reason to watch Shoplifters. The movie got Palme d’O, the highest prize at Cannes Film Festival. And Yes, the movies did’nt let me down. I found Wildlife to be a sensitive directorial by Paul Dano. The film had an amazing blend based on the direction of Dano, lyrics of Terence Davies and melancholic poetry of David Gorden Green. The magic of this blend was beautifully brought together to demonstrate American conformism and sufferings of working class heroes.  On the other hand, Shoplifters was a Japanese drama in which a family of small-time robbers informally adopt and raise a girl child found on the street.

Having said that, I was not amazed by the audience size and international profile of the innovative Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). I realised that decades of achievements have created such quality as well as status of the festival.

That is my experience at the Melbourne International Film Festival. If I get a chance again, I will definitely love to attend the Melbourne International Film Festival again. Did you attend the MIFF? What were the best films according to you?

Is Film Festival a Circuit or Circus?

I really like film festivals for the way they raised the importance of cinema. Every year, we hear about so many glamorous film festivals that occur globally. But, do you know that people have always differed in their opinions, arguing if the film festival is a circuit or a circus?

As per the simple meanings given in the dictionary, circuit is a roughly circular route, movement, or line that begins and ends at the same place, whilst a circus is a place where performer, including clowns, musicians, jugglers, trained animals. Dancers, acrobats, magicians come together to perform acts. The circus is also regarded as a public scene of noisy or confused activity.

Based on the definition of the circuit, the film festival circuit is described as a route where the prints of best films move in an open system around the world to be shown in different events before it returns home on the circuitous path. The film professionals and film critics have used “the film festival circuit” metaphor since the late 1950s.

Coming back to the unapologetic question regarding if the film festival is a circuit or circus, the two views can be explained as following. On one hand, it is believed that the film festival is referred as a circuit since it is important for maintaining competition, alternative distribution of films, festival programming, and acting as a springboard for directors. Nicholas (9) claimed that film festival circuit plays an essential part in providing new meanings to films through the festival circulation. In simple words, the films from all around the world are watched and praised for raising important issues, whilst giving a better understanding about different cultures (Nicholas 9). Without a doubt, the film festival builds a route where art is adequately appreciated and celebrated. In this sense, the film festival is definitely a spectacular circuit, creating a strong network around the world and bringing the same together through this.

On the other hand, film festival is regarded as a circus. Due to digitisation, many individuals, including media, audiences, distributors, and filmmakers circulate through the circus. This is the reason that the film festival circuit can be explained through actor-network-theory by Bruno Latour. Latour (808-809) explained that several relationships exist between things and ideas as well as concepts, non-human as well as human, based on the network structure. Similarly, the film festival circus also creates a network that spreads non-human as well as human aspects within the system. As a result, the film festivals do act as circus. In a way, this arrangement of circus can create a sense of confusion, if everything is not organised properly.

As a proud audience member, I can say that film festivals are effective circuits. This is because the films based on different issues, culture, and art are spread to the world. Certainly, such an attempt raises the awareness level, making the world a better place to live in. What do you think? Is the film festival a circuit or a circus?

Reference

Latour, Bruno.  “Networks, Societies, Spheres: Reflections of an Actor-Network Theorist.”International Journal of Communication5 (2011): 796–810. Print.

Nicholas, Bill. “Discovering Form, Inferring Meaning; New Cinemas and the Film Festival Circuit.” SooJeong Ahn. The Pusan International Film Festival, South Korean Cinema and Globalization. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2011. Print.

 

 

Film festivals as Gatekeepers and Tastemakers

We all are familiar that film festival is an event that is organised to host best films from around the world. Bourdieu (50-72) claimed that the film festival act as gatekeeper and tastemaker on the basis of three aspects, including Field, Habitus, and Capital.

The field refers to the field related to cultural production. Here, festivals are presented as an art form as well as based on the art with high attention on the aesthetic qualities of the films. At the same time, the film festival is conducted on the basis of cultural as well as national representation that considers geopolitical agendas.

The capital refers to the process for offering value to the film festival based on films. Bourdieu claims that distinct types of capital include economic capital, cultural capital, economic capital, as well as symbolic capital.

The habitus describes the dynamics behind the taste making as well as festivals. The symbolic capital provided by Bourdieu presents the film festival as cultural legitimisation and exhibit the way they function as gatekeepers with respect to the field related to cultural production (Bourdieu 130-171).  Yet, it is claimed that film festivals not only act as gatekeepers, but also as tastemakers. The idea given by Bourdieu based on habitus explains the dynamics behind the same. In simple words, habitus fosters cultural consecration and maintains cultural legitimisation at film festivals by producing filmmakers who make films for the film festival circuit and audiences who like to watch the same.

Despite this, film festival as a gatekeeper structure is based on the objective structure. This means that the filmmakers have to pass the film festivals for having exposure, recognition, and prestige. The exposure is achieved through opportunities of exhibition, recognition is received by assessing if the film is worthy enough to be shown at the festival, as well as prestige comes through the selection for reputed programs, honours, and prizes. Indeed, the producers or filmmakers have to find the way to the exhibition by the means of film festival platform where the work is appreciated by the exhibition as well as the reputation of the film industry.

The film festival act as tastemaker since they contribute in maintaining the belief in the art cinema based on autonomous values as well as continuous production and reproduction of the game related to the art cinema (Bourdieu 167).  The film festival makes sure that the development of agents is based on the action, conception, expression, perception, cultivated disposition, as well as imagination (Bourdieu 121). So, it can be concluded that the habitus is vital for developing a sense related to what artists do and the way they comprehend themselves as well as their field.

Eventually, the film festival also plays an essential part in spreading film education. The film festival reaches a wide range of audience of all ages, providing them opportunity to find exceptional quality content.

Undoubtedly, I believe that the film festival do act as both gatekeeper and taste maker, ensuring that best films always find a way to the festival and reach mass audience.

 

Reference

Bourdieu, Pierre. The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996.

Mission of Festival De Cannes

Who hasn’t heard about the popular Festival De Cannes? The ultimate venue for all the big news related to movies. But, did you know that Festival De Cannes has a mission. Let’s find out what it is.

To begin with, Festival De Cannes, as we all know, is one of the oldest and most influential invite-only film festivals in the world that began in 1946. In English, the international film festival is known by the name Cannes Film Festival. It is mainly held in the month of May every year in the resort town of Cannes, specifically at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, in the southern France. Unlike other festivals, the Cannes Film Festival is only organised for industry people and generic public is not invited through any tickets. All attendees have badges to prove their identity. But, the wealthy people who are interested in funding films are allowed to attend the festival.

In the words of Thierry Fremaux, the General Delegate of Festival De Cannes since 2007, the main mission of the Festival De Cannes is to raise the attention towards the films and contribute towards the development of cinema (Festival De Cannes 2018). This is done to boost the film industry across the world, whilst celebrating cinema at the international level (Festival De Cannes 2018).

In order to accomplish this mission, Cannes has actively cultivated respective image by setting a limited number related to films and awarding actors, filmmakers, and composers through a unanimous decision taken by juries. The Palme d’O award given at Festival De Cannes do not ensure any commercial success. Yet, it is considered extremely important to receive Palme d’O at the festival. It has created the biggest film market across the earth over seven decades.

Also, as they say, no publicity is bad publicity. The Cannes film festival has also been in news for several scandals and controversies that again increased its popularity of the film festival. For example, Harvey Weinstein, a renowned name in the USA, was blamed for sexually harassing as well as assaulting numerous women. The latest is about the way top actresses walked bare foot on the red carpet of Cannes. This was done against its code of wearing heels, set in 2016. The code forced several experienced actresses to go back since they were not wearing heels.

Today, we can say that the Festival De Cannes has been successful in its mission since almost every popular face has migrated to Cannes for the event. The films are celebrated and appreciated as festivals in May, i.e., during the festival. Even, it is significant for launching the careers of renowned filmmakers, such as Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Trantino. At the same time, it does become one of the top news in every almost country in May with star-studded premiers on the red carpet, long screenings, meetings, scandals, networking, and parties.

All in all, Festival De Cannes has been successful in accomplishing its mission. What is your opinion?

 

Reference:

The Festival in 2018, Interview With Thierry Fremaux. Festival De Cannes. May 2018. Web. 22nd September 2018.