- Supporting art cinema at a time of commercialization: Principles and practices, the case of the International Film Festival Rotterdam
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- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
This article examines how social agents negotiate the tension between an art for art's sake ideology and a commercializing subfield—using the specific case of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). Drawing on Bourdieu's sociology of the arts and recent film festival studies, I discuss both the "autonomous" logics as one of the driving forces in the festival network's commitment to cinema and the "heteronomous" festival practice that facilitates industry needs. To do so, I offer an analysis of interviews with (former) IFFR staff. The results of this study show that the social agents quite comfortably mix and match art for art's sake values with the new ideal of cultural entrepreneurship. While there is positive synergy between the festival's core (artistic) task of programming and the new business activities of CineMart and the Hubert Bals Fund, the reality of festival work also involves negotiation between diverging interests and a settling for compromises. Behind closed doors, the industry has replaced the filmmaker as the festival's premier stakeholder. By extending the use of Bourdieuian approaches, in conclusion, this study offers a more nuanced look at the ways in which classic "autonomous" principles are constantly negotiated in the practice of festival work.
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