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)

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Djibril Diop-Mambety’s Tales of Little People

May 16, 2008 at 12:29 am

I love the work of Senegalese director Djibril Diop-Mambety (1945-1998). His sense of humor, his remarkable sensibility in telling a story, his ability to show social dynamics through the movement of the protagonists around Dakar and the periphery. Like many other African directors, his filmography is fairly short, and there are gaps of a decade and even longer between his films. His two full-length features, Touki Bouki (1973) and Hyenas(1992), both classics of African cinema and both among my favorite films, have limited availability. His Parlons grand-mère (1989), reportedly a hilarious documentary about the shot of Idrissa Ouedraogo’s Yaaba, is unavailable. Neither can one see his early films, Badou Boy (1970) or Contras’ City (1969), a witty portrayal of Dakar. (These are briefly discussed in N. Frank Ukadike’s important interview with the director at California Newsreel‘s web-site).

So I was overjoyed to be able to watch Mambety’s last two films, 45 minute-long novellas, the second one of which has been completed post-humously after the director’s death in 1998. The DVD of Tales of Little People contains The Franc (1994) and The Little ‘Sun’-Seller (1999), both subtitled in English, Spanish and French (and perceptivly reviewed by Acquarello at Strictly Film School). The DVD’s bonus features a memorable interview with the director (in French only), where he talks of his unique approach to visualization and narrative, a ‘master class’ of sorts where he comes across as an accomplished philosopher of cinematic art.

Set against the background of the 50% disastrous devaluation of the West African Franc by France in 1994, it looks as if the cripples from Ousmane Sembene’s Xala and the young workers from Jean Rouch’s Jaguar have simply stepped over into Mambety’s tales. The blind woman’s disabled granddaughter, who is doubly disadvantaged for being handicapped and being a girl, makes a really tough choice by becoming a street vendor of the ‘Sun’ newspaper, yet bravely lives up to the challenge. The impoverished musician from The Franc, a proud follower of folk-legend Yaadikoone (a man who Mambety refers to as his inspiration as well), does not have much other chance to recover financially but winning the lottery (which, hilariously, does happen). The Franc contains some of Mambety’s trademark sequences of phantasizing about prosperity, for which the director is famous from the time of Touki Bouki. Even if not naming names, his targets are the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which he calls ‘enemies of humankind’, a treatise directly leading to the open accusations in Abderrahmane Sissako’s recent Bamako.

Tales of Little People was meant to be a trilogy co-produced by Senegal, France and Switzerland. The project, however, was cut short by the untimely death of the director by lung cancer at a Paris hospital at the age of fifty-three.

© Dina Iordanova
16 May 2008