Category Archives: Cinema

Il Cinema Repubblica

The ‘Gentse Feesten’ (Ghent Festival), one of Europe’s biggest street festivals, hosts countless cultural events, such as concerts, (street) theater, debates and expositions. Until last year, however, a film event was lacking (although the past has seen some attempts to include open air and other film screenings). Il Cinema Repubblica now provides the Gentse Feesten with a film event to be proud of.  This four day silent film festival (17-20 July) is an initiative of the audiovisual company Republic of Reinvention, in collaboration with Cinematek (the Royal Belgian Film Archive, taking care of the film programming together with Cinea) and the School of Arts Gent (providing the beautiful historical setting of the Miry concert hall in the heart of Ghent).

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Bruno Mestdagh (Cinematek) introducing the films of Alfred Machin

All films are accompanied by live music: the first two days by musicians from the conservatory, the last two days by Hilde Nash, Cinematek’s house pianist. The first day had slapstick films, the second day served some rare copies of the Cinematek, the third day (which I attended last night) focused on the films of Alfred Machin and the fourth day combines a Chaplin classic with an early Italian feminist film and an obscure porn film from 1920. Hopefully Il Cinema Repubblica has come to stay!

Summer Film School Rotterdam

Today was the first day of the Summer Film School Rotterdam, an intensive five-day programme of lectures and film screenings organized by the cinephile platform Roffa Mon Amour in co-operation with Cinea, whose yearly Summer Film College in Antwerp served as an inspiration source. The first edition of the Summer Film School Rotterdam focuses on the work of two very different directors: the provocative American filmmaker Brian de Palma and the French ‘Rive Gauche’ director Alain Resnais. The lectures on Brian de Palma are given by film critics Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin, while Alain Resnais’s films are analyzed by film scholars Patricia Pisters (University of Amsterdam) and Nadine Boljkovac (Falmouth University).

Summer Film School

Patricia Pisters’s lecture on Alain Resnais

The Summer Film School kicked off with a very inspiring lecture by Patricia Pisters. After introducing the serious and the playful Alain Resnais, she provided us with great insights into one of the major threads throughout Resnais’s oeuvre. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s writings, Pisters explained the working of and reflections on time and memory in films such as Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and particularly Je t’aime je t’aime (1968). I hadn’t seen this last film yet, and it was a delightful experience (a nice extra was to see all the Belgian references in the film, as it was shot in Ostend and Brussels). After the Resnais part of the day, Cristina Álvarez López gave an excellent introduction to the early works of Brian de Palma. Adrian Martin subsequently introduced de Palma’s cult musical Phantom of the paradise (1974), which was screened afterwards.

Publication on film policy and media convergence

For the first time since Albert Moran’s 1996 volume Film policy, a new edited volume focusing on film policy has been published. Reconceptualising film policies (Routledge) is edited by French scholars Nolwenn Mingant (Université de Nantes) and Cecilia Tirtaine (Université Paris III – Sorbonne Nouvelle) and features a chapter that I wrote together with my PhD and postdoc supervisors Daniël Biltereyst, Philippe Meers and Roel Vande Winkel. The chapter is titled From film policy to creative screen policies and focuses on media convergence and film policy trends in Flanders. You can read the full chapter here.

Book cover reconceptualising film policies

The article starts from the observation that in recent years, digitization processes and media convergence trends have changed the film industry in various ways. Scholars have indicated various alterations in the aesthetics, production, distribution, exhibition and reception of films, thereby pointing at new technological possibilities and challenges, an increasing participatory cinema culture, changes in the broader creative and economic strategies of film and media companies and an overall convergence between film and other media. The expansion of film industry activities from film to various other media has a long history. Media convergence trends, however, have recently intensified this expansion. In a European context, the role of film policy is particularly relevant in this respect, as film policy forms a crucial cornerstone for the organization of European film industries.

By focusing on recent developments in Flanders (the northern, Dutch-language region in Belgium), this case study examines how, in tune with digitization and media convergence processes, government film policy in Europe has increasingly expanded its scope. More specifically, we analyse how film policy has evolved from a focus on the production of films into a more complex set of policy measures towards ‘creative screen media’ production. With this case study, we argue that contemporary film policy should be seen within the broader media environment and media policies, which are characterized by the growth of a conceptual and practical convergence between various (old and new) media, information and communication technologies and creative arts. This transition process is not ‘new’ as such, but has remarkably intensified since the turn of the millennium. Indeed, the evolution from film policy to broader creative screens policies runs parallel with and is connected to a more general shift in government policy (in Flanders and elsewhere), from a ‘cultural’ to a ‘creative’ industries policy paradigm.