In a recent conversation, Toronto’s Kay Armatage, who is researching women’s film festivals around the world, made an important remark: She had noticed that all these festivals, burgeoning throughout the 1980s, had not come to create a network between themselves, and thus no ‘calendar’ for such women’s events taking place at various locations in North America or around the world had ever came into existence. In addition, they had never become part of the general ‘festival circuit’ and were thus outside the cycle of global film circulation, remaining alternative by default. (In terms of network theory, one could call it a structural hole.)
More importantly, Kay remarked, even the best established and most visible ones of these festivals (such as the one in Creteil near Paris, which has now been in existence for 30 years) did not seem to had given much consideration on the matter of their positioning in relation to the so-called ‘festival circuit’. When the festival would be taking place was determined usually by domestic considerations of convenience and coordination. Adjusting or correlating the festival’s dates to the dates of other festivals for which filmmakers or programmers may be traveling as well, does not seem to have been a factor in deciding on the event’s scheduling in March.
Evidently, it comes down to the way the festival itself sees its mission and defines its identity. While Creteil has acquired the key veteran position among women’s festivals, it has not been interested in spinning out nor in beginning to function as a hub of a network. Neither does it conceptualize itself as part of any other bigger festival network. Some simple correlating to the already existing mainstream festival circuit could lead to significant growth and increase its profile by bringing in more traffic from the film world.
But it is not always about traffic and profile.
© Dina Iordanova
22 June 2008