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Title: Film festivals as public spaces : the transformation of the Busan and Berlin international film festivals
Author: Lee, Hong Real
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 9872
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis analyses film festivals as public spaces. It asks how publicness configures both contemporary film festivals and the activities of those who participate in them. In order to investigate this mix of theories and the concomitant practices are employed, all of which are intertwined with the notion of public or publicness as the overriding conceptual framework of this research. Jürgen Habermas’s universal and rational notion of public sphere has been subjected to criticisms that have called for an understanding of publicness as more fragmented and multiple, and hence experiential. Here, publicness is defined as performative: it is constituted experientially as the degree of physical, perceptual and sensorial connectedness between film festivals and those present at them. In other words, film festivals are experiential public spaces. On the basis of ethnographic analysis of the Busan and Berlin International Film Festivals (BIFF and the Berlinale) utilising in-depth interviews, participant observation and archival analysis, the thesis argues that film festivals are socioculturally bound and perceptually elastic public spaces that enable their audiences or publics to experience the ambient and environmental sense of public accessibility engendered jointly by film festivals and their surrounding milieus. Three aspects are analysed in more detail. First, public spaces are being used as festival venues within contemporary gentrified urban environments. The thesis argues that the physical and structural expansion and transformation of national and international film festivals affects the changing perceptions local residents have of everyday urban public spaces. Second, question and answer (Q&A) sessions between ordinary festival audiences and filmmakers are examined as communicatively performative activities. The thesis argues that the film festival Q&A format functions as a discursive means of facilitating the active participation of festival audiences in its verbally and emotionally-engaging public atmosphere. Third, the roles of film festival media, specifically online, are examined in order to argue that festivals use new media to facilitate ordinary festival audiences’ or their publics’ engagement with the film festival experience as a whole.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available