Whilst writing my chapter on institutions and tastemakers I carried out research into Film Festivals. This has been invaluable in helping me describe and analyse film cycles and commemorations in Mexico, which I explore in-depth in my forthcoming book. I want to share some material that touches on what I have been researching, but will not be included in the monograph.
Film Festival studies has grown considerably since the early 2000s. The European-based Film Festival Research network founded by Marijke de Valck and Skadi Loist in 2008 with its comprehensive website has helped nurture and promulgate much of this work (see, filmfestivalresearch.org). It is a model of how to share research and provide a helpful guide for others. The research being carried out varies from the attention given to film festivals to following the influence and effect of A-list film festivals on global arthouse cinema to more niche festivals and their functions for local audiences and cities. The A-list festivals are a distinct category of festivals which have established reputations and can guarantee high profile boosts for films given premieres or awards. These include Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, and Venice and the most well-known festivals. The paradigms used for their analysis are helpful in understanding small sequences and curatorial practices, but there are two strands of research that provide more insight into the Mexican context: the Latin American festival film and the festival as curator of national, regional, or continental spaces. The particular supports given to Latin American film and filmmakers at festivals such as Rotterdam, Sundance, and San Sebastian have gotten particular attention from academics such as Miriam Ross (2011), Tamara L Falicov (2013), Stephanie Dennison (2013), Deborah Shaw (2013), and Nuria Triana Toribio (2013). Informed by the shift towards transnational film studies these scholars have examined film funding, supports for script development, distribution deals, and other practical backing given through film festivals and the inter-relationship between arthouse audiences and narrative focus.* For example, Ross (2011) traces the emergence of particular styles of issue-driven films and Shaw (2013) considers the growth of the Latin American Queer film as direct results of European film festival financing. Paul Julian Smith’s journalistic, social media, and academic accounts of film festivals in Mexico and Spain are a great way of keeping in touch with recent patterns and developments in Mexican film, even as his work moves towards TV.
Curiously, for my chapter the non-Latin American focused analysis have proven more useful. In general, I cite my Latin Americanist colleagues. But, because they are looking at specific festivals and funding flows, they are not relevant to my current chapter (with the exception of Falicov). However, I use their work extensively for teaching and in other outputs.
*References for all of these can be found on the Film Festival Research web page.