CFP ‘Film Festival Activism: Actors, Spectators, Social Change’

Posted by on Jul 15, 2013 in Critic's Area | 0 comments

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Dear Celebrity Culture Readers,

Our understanding of stable forms of identity and relations often occurs during the production and reception of blockbuster films and  fame-based practices.  Dr Sonia Tascon and  Dr. Tyson Wils appropriately point out that film festivals were originally established to subvert the dominance of Hollywood, promote national cinemas, and empower social change.  Tascon and Wils prompt us to consider critical engagement with the idea of ‘social change’ in human rights / activist film festivals and ask: how do these film festivals encourage the spectator to create social change?

The following Call for Paper invites contributions for edited book  Film Festival Activism: Actors, Spectators, Social Change.

Please share widely.

Samita Nandy

CFP for edited book ‘Film Festival Activism: Actors, Spectators, Social Change’

If we take as departure the idea that film festivals are knowledge-sites and communal spaces that call forth a specific type of spectator, then we can begin to ask questions about the particular spaces and spectators created by activist/ human rights film festivals. As these sorts of festivals negotiate a variety of discourses, most particularly film festival and the social/ human rights issue that organises them thematically, one of the most central discursive features is that which centres on ‘social change’. Through this idea, the spectator is hailed as an active participant, the films are to act as motivators, and discussions that usually follow film screenings are to expand on the issues raised by the film and motivate further. In this way gazing at others’ troubles is expected to be more than a passive watching of trauma, but involve an ethically and politically engaged spectator who will traverse the world of the screen and that of material being through social action. Although much has already been written about the mediating and distancing effects of witnessing ‘distant suffering’, in this volume we wish to interrogate this idea as one that has productive elements but also quite distinctly politico-cultural dimensions that, in the space of activist/ human rights film festivals, configures its viewing publics in quite definite ways. (see attached for fuller description)

Contributors can consider the following topics as possibilities, but others can be proposed:

– theoretical engagement with humanitarian spectatorship as it applies to human rights/ activist film festivals
– human rights/ activist film festivals as discursive sites
– Critical engagement with the idea of ‘social change’ and what this means for the spectator in a human rights/ activist film festival
– How does ‘the political’ enter into the construction of an active spectator as filtered through human rights discourse?
– What are the political dimensions to be considered in the creation of the human rights spectator that are different to other forms of activism? e.g. the global/ internationalising dimension
– in what ways is human rights discourse being recreated differently in different national contexts subverted, or modified?
– If film festival discourse relies on elements of cinephilia, how is this present/ absent in human rights/ activist film festivals?
– Film festivals were originally established to subvert the dominance of Hollywood and promote national cinemas, while human rights demand an internationalising gaze; how do these apparently opposing imperatives converge in a human rights film festival to encourage the spectator to create social change?

– How is ‘the film act’ apparent in activist/ human rights film festivals?

Time frames:
Abstract of 500 words must be received by Monday 30th September, 2013
A short bio and publications to be included
Acceptance/ non-acceptance will be sent out by Monday 14th October, 2013
Proposal to publisher immediately after
Chapters of 5 500 – 6 000 words to be received by Friday 28th February, 2014

Abstracts/ bio to be sent to:

Dr. Sonia Tascón

Dr. Tyson Wils

Dr Samita Nandy
Founding Director, Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS)
PhD (Media) Curtin University, Australia
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