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KIRILL E. RAZLOGOV
All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography
named after S.A. Gerasimov (VGIK)
INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALS: FROM MODERNISM TO POST-POSTMODERN AGE
Abstract. This article uses the Russian film festival movement to analyze the evolution of film festivals from their beginnings to the internet age, focusing on how scientific and technological transformations in the audiovisual sphere influenced the social context of information circulation and cinematic creativity. The article first shows how film festivals came to depend on the internet and the use of digital gadgets in various cultural and demographic communities, including spontaneous teenage associations (so-called “youth cultures”), various professional groups, and the elderly. The article then considers the Soviet and postsoviet Russian film festival movement in the context of global shift from modernism through postmodernism to postpostmodernism. The Russian festival movement is flourishing: more and more festivals appear every day. Administrative difficulties predominate. Unofficial censorship inspires widespread fear and caution. The article proposes a parallel cine-club distribution system that would be exempt from the commercial and censorship restrictions currently applied to films in general distribution. It also considers why festivals spring up and why they disappear. Festivals are needed; otherwise citizens would not organize them. They may be organized for various reasons: to celebrate local functionaries; to celebrate art; or for other reasons. The article reveals the contradictions in the financing of particular festivals, and explains why some festivals receive government funding and others do not. Apart from federal funding, there are municipal funds, and informal relationships can bring private funding as well. The article then closely analyzes the Moscow International Film Festival, unique in that it combines two different “festivals”. From the one hand, it is a traditional showcase with three competitive programs (feature films, documentaries, and short films). On the other hand, it is an open “festival of festivals” that demonstrates films, shown and awarded at other festivals, hors concours. This section is particularly important because very few of these films can break into the general circulation in Russia.
Keywords: cinema, film festivals, censorship, funding for cultural programs, film history, digital technologies, modernism, postmodernism, postpostmodernism