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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Anne T. Ciecko
Martin F. Norden
Jonathan R. Wynn
Film and Media Studies
The functions festivals fulfill within contemporary film culture extend beyond the exhibition and circulation of completed films; many festivals around the world have gradually attained the role of a film producer in the past two decades. This dissertation investigates the relationship between a major film festival and a European program that provides financial support for film production in developing countries. With a particular focus on the World Cinema Fund, associated with the Berlin International Film Festival, this study traces the common stylistic and thematic preoccupations observed across a wide range of Latin American, African, and Southeast Asian films partially financed by European festival funds. Textual analyses of recent films that have celebrated their premieres in major festivals after benefitting from these initiatives bring to light a prevalence of narratives about hybrid identities and mobility between cultures, as well as an emphasis on highly ceremonial events and rituals with clear patterns of accepted behavior. Interviews with directors whose films are associated with the World Cinema Fund complement this analysis by offering a first-hand glimpse into the process of financing and realizing feature film projects under restrictive conditions. A major part of the analysis introduces quantitative data and statistical methods to the study of film festivals, testing for the impact of funding structures of films on their presence in festivals, and for the link between the reception of films on the festival circuit and their commercial prospects. This exploration of film festivals and related financial programs reveals that transnational funds based in Europe, instead of contributing to the sustained development of film production in the Global South through investments in infrastructure, prefer to engage in temporary, project-based transactions which ensure the continuous flow of films suitable for festival selection. When combined together, these findings contribute to a broader, multifaceted understanding of funds associated with film festivals, which offers a critical perspective on the hierarchical power dynamics that lie at the core of this practice.
Odabasi, Eren, "A Multi-Method Analysis of the Berlin International Film Festival and the World Cinema Fund" (2018). Doctoral Dissertations. 1262.