‘Beyond Film’ Experience: Festivalizing Practices and Shifting Spectatorship at Glasgow Film Festival
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Dickson, L. (2017) 'Beyond Film' Experience: Festivalizing Practices and Shifting Spectatorship at Glasgow Film Festival. In: Atkinson, S. & Kennedy, H. W. (eds.) Live Cinema: Cultures, Economies, Aesthetics. London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 83-100.
As 'festivities' film festivals are characterized by temporal structures (a distinct beginning and end), which present audiences with a momentary departure from the norm, that is, from more routine, or habitual, modes of film engagement. Stringer has suggested that the film festival is an 'external agency that creates meanings around film texts' and one could argue that these events offer engagements with film that are more heightened - in experiential terms - than that of the year-round cinema visits1 or indeed other modes of domestic or mobile film consumption (2003: 6). Within said temporalities, the cinematic experience at film festivals is eventized - or 'festivalized' - through multilayered programming (introductions, after screening debates, drop-in salons, screenings in non-cinematic spaces) and by way of 'classic' liveness2 (physical co-presence of special guests, performers, festival curators, audiences), each of which is narrativized in the 'written festival'3 as a series of unique, one-off, temporal encounters by way of promotional motifs ('rarity', 'first-timedness', 'seeing it first','one-off moments', 'something different'). These components come together to form multifaceted experiences that reach beyond the typical screening and reception of film texts in cinema. While acknowledging that all cinemagoing is experiential on some level, the chapter argues that film festivals are true manifestations of the live cinematic event and offer fertile ground for exploring shifting modes of cinematic exhibition and spectatorship both in the festival context and in year-round event-led cinema.