Film festival yearbook 6: Film festivals and the Middle East
Van de Peer, Stefanie
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Iordanova, D. & Van de Peer, S. (eds.) (2014) Film festival yearbook 6: Film festivals and the Middle East. St Andrews: St Andrews Film Studies Publishing.
The Film Festival Yearbooks have, by and large, been devoted to theoretical and conceptual issues. With this new instalment, we go back to the format of FFY3, and focus on a geographical area – this time we focus on the Middle East. The Middle East in the title of this book is a diverse, varied, multiple and contested area. It is not an area that can be regarded as ‘one’ or ‘united’. And indeed, we acknowledge that in our coverage – we somewhat stretch the concept. This allows us to test the scope of a regional consciousness related to a sequence of associated lands that are not usually referenced by a single term. By investigating the film culture and the respective film festivals of this wider area, we reveal how a culturally-informed geopolitical scope can ultimately shape a distinct and evolving take on the world. Exploring the history and politics of film festivals that are located in non-Western territories and that are thus often influenced by distinctive ideologues and agendas permits us to not only register difference but also see the logic that shapes the diversity. These are festivals that foreground cinematic texts from lesser-known aesthetic and conceptual traditions and display them in unique contexts. The cinemas and the narratives featured here reflect the political and cultural dynamics of an area that alternates between vibrant and volatile. This book then looks in much detail at the large international and smaller national film festivals that take place in the Middle East and North Africa: their programming, audience development and event organisation. This collection of essays investigates the circuit of films, the impact of festivals and the representation of the Middle Eastern peoples, cultures and languages on international screens. This is a study of the many festivals that have shaped the cultural identities of the region in the past, as well as the new and vibrant festivals that permeate the region.