International acclaim : the role(s) of the international film festival in supporting emerging women’s cinema

Van Hemert, Tess (2013) International acclaim : the role(s) of the international film festival in supporting emerging women’s cinema. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


International Film Festivals act as important sites for the exhibition of contemporary world cinema. Film festivals represent an increasingly transnational film culture, where audiences, filmmakers, distributors, press, critics and academics come together from all over the world to discover new films, network with one another and debate about the past, present and future of cinema.

This research project investigates the role that international film festivals play within the wider international film industry, with a specific focus on emerging women filmmakers. It therefore explores the arena of contemporary women.s cinema at its intersection with the international film festival industry. The significance and original contribution of the research is its intervention in the growing field of film festival studies through a specific investigation of how international film festivals support emerging women filmmakers. The positioning of the research at the intersection of feminist film theory and festival research within the broader context of transnational cinema allows the examination of each festival, the attending filmmakers and their films to be addressed within a more refined and nuanced lens.

A core method for the thesis is the close textual analysis of particular emerging women filmmakers. films which are screened at the respective festivals. The research also utilises the qualitative research strategies of the case study and the interview to ¡°seek to understand the context or setting of the participants through visiting this context and gathering information personally¡± (Creswell 2003, 9). The textual analysis is used in dialogue with the interviews and the participant observational data gathering to provide a related context for understanding these films and their cultural meanings, both personally for the filmmaker and transnationally across the festival circuit.

The focus of the case studies is the Brisbane International Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Toronto International Film Festival. These three festivals were chosen for their distinct geographical locations in the Asia Pacific, Europe and North America, as well as for their varying size and influence on the international film festival circuit. Specifically, I investigate the reasons behind why the organisers of a particular festival have chosen a certain woman.s film, how it is then packaged or displayed within the programme, and how all of this impacts on the filmmaker herself. The focus of my research is to investigate film festivals and their .real-life. applications and benefits for the filmmakers being supported, both through the exhibition of their films and through their attendance as festival guests.

The research finds that the current generation of emerging women filmmakers has varying levels of experience and success at negotiating the international film festival circuit. Each of the three festivals examined include and promote the films of emerging women filmmakers through a range of strategies, such as specific programming strands dedicated to showcasing emerging talent, financial support through festival funds, providing visibility within the programme, exposure to international audiences and networking opportunities with industry professionals and other filmmakers. Furthermore, the films produced by the emerging women filmmakers revealed a strong focus on women.s perspectives and experiences, which were explored through the interweaving of particular aesthetic and cinematographic conventions.

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ID Code: 63269
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Maher, Sean, Muller, Vivienne, & Hadley, Bree J.
Keywords: emerging women filmmakers, feminism, film festival, film festival network, festival city, feminine sensibility, transnational cinema
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 10 Oct 2013 02:11
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2017 14:45

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