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Über dieses Buch

This is the first book to offer an in-depth examination of the history, operation, and growth of film festivals as a cultural phenomenon within Australia. Tracing the birth of film festivals in Australia in the 1950s through to their present abundance, it asks why film festivals have prospered as audience-driven spectacles throughout Australia, while never developing the same industry and market foci of their international fellows. Drawing on over sixty-years of archival records, festival commentary, interviews with festival insiders and ephemera, this book opens up a largely uncharted history of film culture activity in Australia.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
This introductory chapter critically contextualises the discussion of film festivals and their operation within the regional context of Australia that forms the basis of Australian Film Festivals: Audience, Place and Exhibition Culture. Situating the Australian festival experience temporally as well as ideologically within the wider context of the global film festival phenomenon, this chapter establishes the methodological frameworks through which this book explores Australia’s film festival history. It establishes the importance that audiences, place, and cultures of film exhibition have had on the development of film festivals in Australia, their unique position in the international film festival circuit, as well as their relationship to the development of cinema appreciation and specialist exhibition in the country over the past 60 and more years.
Kirsten Stevens

Chapter 2. Enthusiastic Amateurs: Origins of Australia’s Film Festival Movement

Abstract
From the development of Australia’s first film festival, the 1952 Olinda Film Festival, this chapter traces the evolution of the Melbourne (MIFF ) and Sydney (SFF) film festivals. Emerging in the early years of international film festival development, MIFF and SFF represent distinctly different festival experiences compared with events emerging in Europe contemporaneously. This chapter engages directly with assumptions that the early years of festival development were a uniquely European phenomenon, arguing instead that Australia’s engagement with the format suggests that festivals were a global response to the spread of cinephilia and the growing hegemony of Hollywood in the post-Second World War period.
Kirsten Stevens

Chapter 3. Growth and Change: Curator-Led Festivals, Fragmenting Audiences, and Shifting Film Exhibition Cultures

Abstract
This chapter charts the maturation of Australian film festivals through the period from 1965 to 1983. Analysing the film festivals in Melbourne and Sydney, the chapter traces the increasing professionalism of the Australian events and examines their early adoption of festival directors as curators. Continuing the chronology of festival development, the chapter also identifies the emergence of several new film festivals throughout Australia’s major cities over this period, as well as a wider expansion of film culture and specialist exhibition activities through the 1960s and 1970s. Examining the relationships between the newly emerging film festivals and film culture activities, as well as between Australia’s festivals and the international festival regulator FIAPF, the chapter highlights the unique qualities of Australia’s developing film festival movement.
Kirsten Stevens

Chapter 4. From Film Weeks to Festivals: The Spread of the Urban Film Festival After 1980

Abstract
This chapter examines the rapid spread of urban film festivals in Australia from the 1980s onwards and, through this, explores what impact the growth in film festivals had on broader issues of film exhibition. An exponential increase in festival activities through the 1980s coincided with declines in other non-commercial film culture activities, including film societies and various other film culture activities supported by national and state-based organisations. Examining how this changing exhibition landscape, along with the influence of broader urban renewal initiatives, influenced the development of new festivals through the 1980s and 1990s, this chapter reflects on the effects of globalisation of the regional festival scene and further links developments in Australia to the global proliferation of festivals during this period.
Kirsten Stevens

Chapter 5. Between Success and Failure: Crisis and Recovery at the Melbourne International Film Festival

Abstract
A case study of the Melbourne International Film Festival’s least successful era, this chapter poses the question: what marks a successful festival? Tracing MIFF’s decline into bankruptcy and its subsequent recovery through the 1980s, this chapter identifies the competing agendas and stakeholders that operate within the film festival space. Positing that celebrations such as MIFF must negotiate a variety of agendas and positions in order to remain financially viable and culturally relevant, this chapter examines how perceptions of success hinge on events operating as multifaceted enterprises. It focuses attention on the specific importance of place in determining not only what types of festivals operate within a given cultural space, but also which ones will achieve permanence and ongoing relevance within both regional and global contexts.
Kirsten Stevens

Chapter 6. Programming Perceptions: Film Festivals and the Construction of Taste

Abstract
Considering several recent advertising campaigns employed by the Melbourne International Film Festival, this chapter examines the emphasis festival marketing strategies place on the role of taste within film festival programmes. Drawing on the imagery and lexicon of festival promotional material, the chapter interrogates the construction of festivals as ‘good taste’ and ‘cultured’ events. It considers the value attached to festival screenings and their role in constructing categories such as ‘quality’ and ‘world’ cinema to examine how notions of taste and worth are produced by event programmes. The chapter explores how the privileged position of festivals as cultural events not only determines their place within local environments, but further constructs their audience and the ways in which they are understood.
Kirsten Stevens

Chapter 7. A Festival for Every Occasion: Niche Programming, Event Culture, and Vertically Integrated Film Festivals

Abstract
This chapter considers the rapid proliferation of film festivals in recent years, questioning how sustainable the format is in the face of event saturation. Engaging with the growing debate over the sustainability of unchecked festival growth, this chapter examines the rise in specialised events that has characterised the film festival phenomenon. It argues that the diverse range and ubiquitous nature of these events collectively form an exhibition system with the potential to usurp the role of art-house and speciality theatres within the Australian context. As a kind of ‘new cinema,’ this chapter considers how festivals may be reshaping the future of film exhibition and what elements of the format need to evolve to ensure that such a new cinema is sustainable.
Kirsten Stevens

Chapter 8. Conclusion

Abstract
This book is primarily a historical study. It must conclude while film festivals continue to develop within Australia and beyond. This brief final chapter looks to the accomplishments of Australian Film Festivals: Audience, Place and Exhibition Culture while also looking towards those questions that lie beyond the scope of the book. As an ending, it eulogises the conclusion of certain key elements of Australia’s regional festival experience. Yet in doing so it also points to the continuation of the Australian festival experience in new forms and points to the changes now occurring, particularly in relation to the growth of digital technology, which clearly speaks of a new phase in film festival evolution that stands just around the temporal corner.
Kirsten Stevens

Backmatter

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