On 1 June, I organized the symposium ‘Remaking European Cinema’ at Ghent University, together with Eduard Cuelenaere and Stijn Joye . For quite some time, most research in the field of remake studies was confined to the Hollywood practice of remaking non-Hollywood films, or, vice versa, non-Hollywood film industries remaking Hollywood films. Therefore, the purpose of the symposium was to bring together scholars with expertise in the currently vibrant field of remake studies for a discussion of the dynamics and particularities of the film remake in a European context. Keynote speakers were the internationally renowned Thomas Leitch (University of Delaware), Lucy Mazdon (University of Southampton) and Iain R. Smith (King’s College London). There was also an insightful industry talk by Meg Thomson (Globalgate Entertainment). I enjoyed the many excellent presentations (full programme) from academics from all over Europe and beyond. We are now working on publications to disseminate the fruits of this scholarly work… To be continued!
Thursday evening, I was awarded the NeFCA Young Scholar Award! The biannual Young Scholar Award is an initiative of the Netherlands Flanders Communication Association (NeFCA) and honours the accomplishments of young doctors who “succeed in combining their individual academic career with contributions to the discipline of communication and media research”. The award ceremony took place at the Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap, this year organized at Ghent University by Stijn Joye and his team.
I’m excited to announce the international symposium ‘Remaking European Cinema’! I’m organizing this symposium together with my colleagues Eduard Cuelenaere and Stijn Joye at Ghent University on 1 June 2018. See the symposium website for more information. I copy the call for papers below.
Remaking European Cinema
A symposium on the theory and practice of the film remake in a European context
1 June 2018, Ghent University, Belgium
Confirmed keynote speakers:
– Professor Thomas Leitch, University of Delaware
– Professor Lucy Mazdon, University of Southampton
– Dr. Iain R. Smith, King’s College London
The film remake, whether as a practice or a concept, has been around since the very beginnings of cinema. While the earliest studies of the remake provided general overviews trying to sketch patterns and localize differing practices, this was followed by substantial attempts to define the remake as both a textual and cultural artefact and as a commercial business. Building on adaptation theories, scholars eventually pinpointed the intertextual properties that are inherent to (the relationship between) a source film and its remake(s). These evolutions in the research field spurred the idea of the remake as a kind of prism, which can be used to examine a variety of aesthetic, cultural, economic and social questions. For quite some time, most studies in the field were confined to the Hollywood practice of remaking non-Hollywood films, or, vice versa, non-Hollywood film industries remaking Hollywood films.
More recently, attempts are being made to look beyond Hollywood, inquiring into other nations or regions that, for example, remake their own films or the films of neighbouring countries. Notwithstanding these promising evolutions, there is still a lack of sustained research analysing the specific context(s) of European cinema. As a continent, Europe is known for its fragmentation and diversity due to the multitude of different languages and cultures existing next to and through each other within a relatively small geographical area. Although attempts to pinpoint the characteristics of European cinema are always questionable given that ‘Europe’ is as much a social, contingent and dynamic construction as other geopolitical entities, various cultural, economic and political dynamics grant the concept of European cinema analytical value. Accordingly, the purpose of the symposium is to bring together scholars with expertise in the currently vibrant field of remake studies for a discussion of the dynamics and particularities of the film remake in a European context.
Potential subjects to be addressed include, but are not limited to:
- Historical and contemporary approaches to film remakes in Europe
- The industrial, financial and production-related dynamics of European remake practices
- (Regional, national and transnational) public film policies towards remakes
- Cultural aspects of the European film remake (banal nationalism, cross-cultural comparison, cultural proximity, cultural identity …)
- Textual aspects of the European film remake (narration, aesthetics …)
- The distribution, programming, exhibition and reception of European remakes
- Remakes within European national/regional cinemas (including Western, Northern, Southern, and Central and Eastern European cinemas)
- Transnational or cross-cultural European remakes
- European art cinema remakes
- European popular cinema remakes
- European remakes of non-European films
- The European remake and theories of intertextuality, genre, seriality, repetition …
- European remakes and questions of adaptation, ‘originality’, authenticity, authorship, ownership, copyright …
Paper proposals should include the title of the presentation, a 300-word abstract, and a short autobiographical statement.
Submission deadline: March 10th 2018.
Proposal acceptance notification: March 30th 2018.
Please send your proposals to: remakes@UGent.be
More information on the symposium website: www.remakingeurope.com
Following the symposium, authors of selected papers will be invited to contribute their work to an edited volume on this subject with an internationally renowned academic publisher and/or a special issue of an international academic journal.
This symposium is organized by Gertjan Willems, Eduard Cuelenaere and Stijn Joye, Centre for Cinema and Media Studies (CIMS) at Ghent University. The symposium is funded by the FWO research project ‘Lost in Translation? A multi-methodological research project on same-language film remakes between Flanders and The Netherlands’ and sponsored by the Film Studies section of ECREA and the Popular Communication division of NeFCA.
Yesterday and today, I have been attending the Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap, the yearly gathering of communication scholars working in the Netherlands and Flanders. In such a context, it is of course highly relevant to present our work on the Dutch-Flemish remake phenomenon. Eduard Cuelenaere presented the theoretical paper we wrote for Frames (with Stijn Joye and myself as co-authors, see this previous blog post). In line with the conference theme ‘innovative methods’, I gave a presentation on the use of digital qualitative methods in historical media and communication research.
This Etmaal edition was organized by Tilburg University. The evening program took place at Tilburg’s concert hall 013, an appropriate location to give a stage to some great academic work during the award ceremony. I was very happy to see that my Ghent University colleague Sara De Vuyst, who conducted an extremely relevant study on gender issues in a journalism context, received the ‘Flemish Award for Outstanding Doctoral Research in Communication Sciences’. The ‘NeFCA Senior Career Award’, honoring a lifetime of scholarly achievement in communication studies, went to Hilde Van den Bulck, professor at the University of Antwerp. A rightful choice, also from my experience, as she was an excellent professor for the course ‘national and international media policy’ I followed in 2009-2010, and her work on public televion and the ‘modernity project’ in Flanders has inspired me a lot during my PhD research. Looking forward to next year’s Etmaal in… Ghent!
Rip-Off or Resourceful Creativity? is the title of the latest special issue (edited by Sarah Smyth and Connor McMorran) of the Frames Cinema Journal, focusing on remakes. It features an article called Reframing the remake: Dutch-Flemish monolingual remakes and their theoretical and conceptual implications, by Eduard Cuelenaere, Stijn Joye and myself. The article offers some first theoretical reflections on remakes and the academic field of remake studies, stemming from our recently started research project on Dutch-Flemish remakes (cf. this previous blog post). You can read the article at full length here.
In the article, we explicitly take distance from ‘anti-remake debates’ offering a normative standpoint towards remakes. We instead aim for a more nuanced reading of the remake practice. Our argument is based upon an examination of Dutch-Flemish remakes, which proves to be an original contribution to the field of remake studies, as well as an excellent exemplar in the context of the deconstruction and reframing of discourses about the global remake practice. As a first step, we claim that the non-commercial aura of the European remake should be revisited because the Dutch-Flemish monolingual remakes clearly disclose a similar incentive to the one that often inspires Hollywood remakes: financial gains. Furthermore, our case underlines the need for a more nuanced understanding of intercultural media practices, including the cultural proximity theory. Lastly, we reveal a remarkable discrepancy between the essentialist conception of cultural identity—that is put forward by remake directors—and the constructionist conception, which is dominant in scholarly discussions.
Since a few years, I’ve been following a remarkable film production trend in the Low Countries with special attention: the practice of popular Dutch films being remade in the same language in Flanders, and vice versa. After having reflected informally about this – from an international viewpoint highly exceptional – phenomenon of remaking films within a same language region of barely 23 million speakers with my colleague Stijn Joye, we wrote a research project proposal to critically investigate this emerging trend. We were very happy to obtain funding from the Research Foundation Flanders, and since 1 September, Eduard Cuelenaere works as a PhD candidate on this project, which aims to scrutinize the various cultural and economic dynamics and dimensions involved in the Flemish-Dutch remake phenomenon. I’m looking forward to work more intensively on this project in the coming years…
Last week, Eduard presented this research project for the first time, at the ECREA (European Communication Research and Education Association) conference in Prague. At that same conference, I was elected as chair of the Film Studies section (after having served four years as Young Scholars Representative of the Film Studies section). Together with the two other chairs, Laura Rascaroli (University College Cork) and Sergio Villanueva Baselga (University of Barcelona), I will do my best to increase the significance of film studies within a media and communication research context, and to organize a conference in Cork in 2017! A big thank you to the chairs who are stepping down, Helle Kannik Haastrup and Anders Marklund, for all their hard work in the last years!