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Film Festivals: more than a prized platform


Poster of Venice Film Festival
Image: Poster for the First Venice Film Festival, 1932 (De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images)

Behind the screens at the global festival

Film festivals have changed hugely since the first festival, Venice, opened in August 1932 with a screening of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The biggest, such as Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance, and Toronto, function variously as global film marketplaces, the chance for a ‘first look’ at new releases before they make it to theaters, and for audience engagement beyond the screen, with personal appearances by film-makers and stars. In the film journal Projections, Gus Van Sant recalls a memorable encounter with Derek Jarman at the Berlin Film Festival and, in The Guerilla Film Makers Movie Blueprint, Chris Jones provides a how-to guide to launching your film on a global stage.

Image from Glasgow Film Festival
Image: A poster advertising the 14th Glasgow Film Festival, 2018 (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/WireImage/Getty Images)

Making the modern festival

The 21st century has witnessed an ever-increasing multiplicity of festivals: local and regional, genre or identity based, even digital festivals. Film festivals can provide an opportunity for audiences to engage with films in a very different way to a standard cinematic experience – explored by Lesley-Ann Dickson in her case study of programming and exhibition practices at the Glasgow Film Festival, and Rosana Vivar in her research with fan communities at the San Sebastian Horror and Fantasy Film Festival. Geli Madelmi surveys the emergence of online festival platforms that enable the viewer to program their own personal film festival from amongst thousands of new releases.

20 YEARS ON: Remembering the work of Stanley Kubrick


Image from Barry Lyndon
Image: Barry Lyndon [BR 1975] Ryan O'Neal, Marisa Berenson WARNER BROS/Ronald Grant Archive/Mary Evans

An award-winning ‘cinema of failure’?

Stanley Kubrick's impact on cinema goes far beyond the fourteen films he directed though, each meticulously-executed artwork, from his early non-fiction short The Day of the Fight (1953) to his late masterpiece Eyes Wide Shut (1999), is testament to his holistic, perfectionist approach to film-making. In one of our new overview articles, Maria Pramagiorre dubs Kubrick’s oeuvre ‘a cinema of failure’: his anti-heroes, despite inhabiting hyper-masculine milieus, embodying a troubled masculinity beset by anxiety and weakness.


Behind the scenes image of 2001: A Space Odyssey
Image: John Alcott adjusts the camera position while Stanley Kubrick (1928 - 1999) finds his shot on the set of '2001: A Space Odyssey'. (Photo by Keith Hamshere/Getty Images)

Shedding light and convention: Kubrick's 'Total Cinema'

In his study of Kubrick’s ‘Total Cinema’, Philip Kuberski describes how the director, who in his early career had worked as a photographer, used both natural and artificial light ‘as a means of illumination’, to create visual effect and impart meaning. In addition to their formal innovations, Kubrick’s films reached beyond the conventions of genre. In ‘The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick’, Norman Kagan explores how Kubrick consistently tested genre boundaries, whether in the science fiction epic 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) or the claustrophobic horror The Shining (1980). Discussing Barry Lyndon (1975), Kubrick’s foray into period drama, Ryan Gilbey argues that, by avoiding “the fusty clichés of tour-guide film-making”, Kubrick achieves an emotional authenticity that allows contemporary audiences to connect with its 18th century characters.


Homepage banner image: (L-R) Jury members Kristen Stewart, Ava DuVernay, Jury head Cate Blanchett, Léa Seydoux and Khadja Nin attend the Jury photocall during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival in May 2018 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Homepage Kubrick image: Stanley Kubrick, on the set of 'Barry Lyndon', circa 1975. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)