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September 12, 2013

CFP: Cultural transfer and political conflicts. Film festivals in the Cold War

Deadline: October 31, 2013

Cultural transfer and political conflicts. Film festivals in the Cold War

May 9-10, 2014 — Leipzig, Germany)

Film festivals are often political issues. In 1956 for instance, Alain Resnais’ documentary „Night And Fog“ about the crimes against Jews during the Nazi era was supposed to be presented in Cannes. But the West German as well as the French government intervened against the screening to prevent discussions about the holocaust that could affect the French-German relations. In 1963, Federico Fellinis film “8 ½“ caused a scandal at the Moscow International Film Festival after the jury awarded the film one of the main pricesprizes. Soviet politicians criticised the decision and reprimanded the jury for their “mistake”. In 1970, the Berlinale was even broken off completely because the jury resigned after a controversial debate about Michael Verhoevens Vietnam film „o.k.”

These examples illustrate the significance of Film festivals for a cultural history of the Cold War. The history of the festivals includes aspects interesting in relation to contemporary history, because after the war each festival – willingly or not – had to deal with the political and social developments in the world. While film turned into the most powerful media during the 20th century the European festivals established as schowcases for filmmakers and their perception of reality. Concurrently other private and governmental players were also interested in the prestigious character of the festivals: film producers as well as politicians used them to present their ideas on politics und arts publicly.

For research into the history of the festivals, not only the films chosen or refused for a festival for their political content or artistic quality are of particular interest as a field of study. Furthermore, the festivals’ backdrop of cultural policy also permits conclusions about processes that are interesting historically, for instance, the funding of the festivals, the awards given to some of the films or the perception of the festivals in contemporary media. Last but not least, the institutional and personal relationships between the festivals may be subject to historical study to outline the political tension and interdependency between both rivalling blocks of power.

The workshop will focus on the relevance of Film festivals in the context of cultural policy during the period of the Cold War. Papers should discuss political or cultural conflicts in the context of the festivals and examine their social background. Furthermore, papers could address the relevance of Film festivals for a cultural transfer between Eastern and Western Europe, e.g. through the participation of directors or journalists from the different blocks.

Beside the “big” Festivals in Cannes, Venice or Berlin the workshop will focus in particular on the Eastern European Festivals, e.g. Moscow, Karlovy Vary, Belgrade or Krakow. The main aim of the workshop is to outline the differences between the festivals and to illustrate their cultural political context. Papers can be presented in German or English.

Please submit your proposal (maximum 500 words) together with a short C.V. until October 31st to:

Posted by jmkirsch at September 12, 2013 04:33 PM