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Ethnic film festivals

Friday 26 February 2010

Minority film festivals are creating live social and political encounters that bring together a host of imagined communities, according to a new book by researchers at the University of St Andrews and worldwide.

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'.

Professor Dina Iordanova of the University of St Andrews, editor and publisher of Film Festival Yearbook 2, said:

"Film Festivals are usually associated with glamorous city locations, where celebrities showcase designer outfits on miles of red carpet. But what about the other film festivals, those organised by minority groups for minority audiences – for example Edinburgh’s African film festival , the Migrant Worker Film Festival in South Korea, or the festivals set up by activists to cater to displaced populations in the Sahara? These film festivals may be far from the limelight, yet are of at least equal importance in regard to our understanding of the dynamics in the global circulation of cinema."

Film Festivals and Imagined Communities includes discussion of the cultural policies and funding models linked to these festivals, as well as analysis of programming practices linked to these often highly politicised events.

Case studies focus on diaspora-linked festivals that take place around the world – from Bradford to Havana and that feature cinema from places as diverse as Nepal and Kurdistan, Africa and Latin America.

American film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum said:

"The very ambitious aspiration of the Film Festival Yearbook is, quite literally, to define a new area of film study."

Faye Ginsburg, Director of the Center for Media, Culture and History at New York University, said:

"Film Festivals and Imagined Communities opens up new horizons both for those who study media and those who create the significant but often overlooked 'media worlds' where films first get launched: film festivals from the 'periphery'."

Authors include Lindiwe Dovey, Ruby Cheung, Michael Guillén, Jérôme Segal, Miriam Ross, Roy Stafford, Yun Mi Hwang, Isabel Santaolalla and Stefan Simanowitz, Mustafa Gündog(du, and Dina Iordanova.

A book launch event, in which Film Festival Yearbook 2 will be presented, will be held at 1500 hours on Sunday March 7, 2010 at the BFI Southbank Filmstore in London.

Issued by the University of St Andrews

Contact: Emma Shea, Communications Manager on 01334 462 167 or email Emma.Shea@st-andrews.ac.uk