Film Festival Yearbook 2: Film Festivals and Imagined Communities

February 23, 2010 at 12:54 am

I am pleased to announce the publication of my new volume on film festivals, co-edited with Ruby Cheung, a research associate of the Dynamics of World Cinema project and an alumna of our PhD programme in Film Studies at the University of St. Andrews. The book is the second in the series; the first volume, the Film Festival Yearbook 1: The Festival Circuit, was published in 2009.


Edited by Dina Iordanova with Ruby Cheung
ISBN: 978-0-9563730-1-4 (paperback) £17.99; 304 pp. , 2010.

Film Festivals and Imagined Communities, the second volume in the Film Festival Yearbook series, brings together essays about festivals that use international cinema to mediate the creation of transnational ‘imagined communities’. There are texts about the cultural policies and funding models linked to these festivals, as well as analysis of programming practices linked to these often highly politicised events. The case studies discuss diaspora-linked festivals that take place in Vienna, San Francisco, San Sebastian, Havana, Bradford, Sahara, South Korea, and London and that feature cinema from places as diverse as Nepal and Kurdistan, Africa and Latin America. Authors include Lindiwe Dovey, Ruby Cheung, Michael Guillén, Jérôme Segal, Miriam Ross, Roy Stafford, Yun Mi Hwang, Isabel Santaolalla and Stefan Simanowitz, Mustafa Gündoğdu, and Dina Iordanova. The Resources section features an up-to-date bibliography on film festival scholarship (by Skadi Loist and Marijke de Valck) and an extensive thematically-organised listing of a variety of transnational festivals.


Introduction (Dina Iordanova and Ruby Cheung)

PART I: Contexts

Mediating Diaspora: Film Festivals and ‘Imagined Communities’ (Dina Iordanova)
Directors’ Cut: In Defence of African Film Festivals outside Africa (Lindiwe Dovey)
Funding Models of Themed Film Festivals (Ruby Cheung)

PART II: Case Studies
Bite the Mango: Bradford’s Unique Film Festival (Roy Stafford)
Under the Migrant Lens: Migrant Worker Film Festival in South Korea (Yun Mi Hwang)
A Cinematic Refuge in the Desert: The Sahara International Film Festival (Isabel Santaolalla and Stefan Simanowitz)
Diasporas by the Bay: Two Asian Film Festivals in San Francisco (Michael Guillén)
Film Festivals and the Ibero-American Sphere (Miriam Ross)
Film Festivals in the Diaspora: Impetus to the Development of Kurdish Cinema? (Mustafa Gündoğdu)
Identities and Politics at the Vienna Jewish Film Festival (Jérôme Segal)

PART III: Resources
Thematic Bibliography on Film Festival Research – Update: 2009 (Skadi Loist and Marijke de Valck)
The Listings: Transnational Film Festivals (Dina Iordanova)
1. African Film Festivals (Lindiwe Dovey)
2. Latin American and Ibero-American Film Festivals (Miriam Ross)
3. Asian Film Festivals (Andrew Dorman)
4. Jewish Film Festivals (Jérôme Segal)
5. Palestinian Film Festivals (Serazer Pekerman)
6. Turkish Film Festivals (Serazer Pekerman)
7. French Film Festivals (Ruby Cheung)
8. German Film Festivals (Ruby Cheung)
9. Greek Film Festivals (Serazer Pekerman)
10. Taiwanese Film Festivals (Yun-hua Chen)
11. Overseas Film Festivals in London (UK) (Andrew Dorman)
12. Overseas Film Festivals in Los Angeles (U.S.) (Andrew Dorman)
13. Overseas Film Festivals in San Francisco (U.S.) (Andrew Dorman)

Buy from St. Andrews Film Bookshop by clicking through here.

Buy on Amazon by clicking on the image below

Budding Channels of Peripheral Cinema

June 12, 2008 at 12:21 am

My new book — Budding Channels of Peripheral Cinema: The Long Tail of Global Film Distribution — is now out.

It deals with the ‘budding channels’ of global cinematic circulation in the Long Tail — circulation of films from smaller countries, film festivals, diasporic channels, and the Internet — which are finally being noticed but are still being studied independently from one another. Yet, there is growing and overarching acknowledgment that they increasingly interact and interlink in a hybrid and flexible manner. Wih this text I am trying to bring them all into perspective.

The book is published with one of the most-advanced Print on Demand pieces of software around — Blurb‘s Book Smart — probably the only one that can handle images of such quality that would satisfy the discerning needs of film studies folk. (I came across it after reading Stephen H. Wildstrom’s review in Business Week).

Hard cover

The Long Tail of Gl…
By Dina Iordanova

© Dina Iordanova
29 May 2008

Defining Moments in Movies: The Greatest Films, Stars, Scenes and Events that Made Movie Magic

May 21, 2008 at 12:29 am

I was pleased to be part of this project, like the other fifty or so film critics and historians from around the world (from Argentina through India and The Philippines to Australia), who contributed to it. Chris Fujiwara, the Japan-based editor, approached us with the idea to put together a book that would highlight film history as a series of important ‘moments’ taking place around the world. We were to either pick topics from a tentative list he was working from, or propose our own and send in short contributions on what we thought of as such defining building blocks. Then he compiled them in chronological order. The resulting record, highlighting important films and events that were made or had taken place within the same year but across a variety of geographical locations, presents a uniquely ample and radically new take on film history. It is probably the first attempt in film scholarship to map the chronology of world cinema in a comparative and comprehensive manner that keeps in view the global dynamics of the medium.

Usually, the story of world cinema is told by placing Hollywood in the center of attention, which, in an effort to keep the narrative focused, inevitably leads to highlighting other developments as secondary or as having come about as a reaction to developments in American film. This approach leads to biased understanding of the dynamics of world cinema which is not only inaccurate and incomplete. With our increasing knowledge of the history of various film traditions, with the improved availability of classical international cinematic texts on DVD in the Long Tail, and with the growing number of articulate authors who are closely familiar with and conscious of the importance and the influence of non-Western cultural outputs, it is more than ever seen as politically incorrect. In essence, Fujiwara’s project was inviting for a specific and subtle revision of official film historiography, an opportunity that the community of knowledgeable film scholars and writers immediately embraced. For example I was able to write on themes close to my heart, ranging from the hugely successful Indian classic Awara (1951) to the hugely influential speech from Dusan Makavejev’s WR: Mysteries of the Organism (1971), as well as on important books that have shaped our thinking on film and have widened our horizons in recent years, such as Ella Shohat and Robert Stam’s Unthinking Eurocentrismand Hamid Naficy’s An Accented Cinema.

When I received the book (published in two versions, both shown below) I was truly impressed with the result. At last we have a piece of thorough historiography that covers a huge range of lesser-known aspects of world cinema and thus opens up the way to gradually setting the record straight. The book is published by Cassell Illustrated; I hope to see more projects of this sort to come about soon, both from popular trade publishers and academic ones.

© Dina Iordanova
21 May 2008

Shortening the Long Tail: Print on Demand and Amazon

May 11, 2008 at 2:09 am

The title of this post is to be credited to an entry found on the Blue Penciling blog. Indeed, with the controversy that develops over the past two months, it appears that the Long Tail is getting shorter, and that finding and accessing special-interest content will not be getting easier after all. Amazon’s changing treatment of Print on Demand books (namely that they are now ‘requiring that print-on-demand books be printed inside Amazon’s own fulfillment centers’ and are about to cease listing all those PoD books produced by outlets other than their own Book Surge) is a typical example of advancing vertical integration, reminiscent to the vertical integration of studios and theaters from Hollywood’s early years and to Miscrosoft’s default pairing of Explorer and Windows, both textbook examples of situations that led to high-profile anti-trust lawsuits.

It seems that Amazon is using its current dominance over the market to coerce small businesses to operating in a certain way and to using services over which it has a monopoly. This has triggered significant uproar from within the community of PoD publishers, who believe that Amazon’s behavior is not just outright bullying but amounts to a case for prosecution. A good rundown on the background to this story can be found on the Self-Publishing blog of Morris Rosenthal, a self-publishing authority and author of the excellent Print-on-Demand Book Publishing, one of the books that is endangered from being shut out by the current changes. Angela Hoy, publisher of Writers’ Weekly, has mobilized the community and has established a special Amazon BookSurge Information Clearinghouse where the twists of this developing story can be tracked in detail. For now the official position of the authorities is that that they do not see the basis for legal action, but this may be revisited. Or maybe not, as the PoD community is not as sizable and loud, and the controversy remains contained.

The bottom line is that this showdown represents one of the first serious challenges to Chris Anderson’s somewhat congratulatory Long Tail thesis (as outlined in his groundbreaking The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More). The showdown between small independent publishers and the big muscle of Amazon clearly illustrates that the long tail is not as democratically open and egalitarian as we may wish and that the ‘selling less of more’ is being jeopardized. The age of the blockbuster may indeed be over and the age of specialist content may have arrived, as Anderson tells us. The endless diversity and variety of content is there, indeed, but only potentially. Unless it can be accessed easily, it is not really available. And what Amazon is preparing to do is to shut out a significant fraction of this specialist content from the largest and most viable channel of distribution that it controls, effectively shortening the Long Tail.

© Dina Iordanova
11 May 2008