The inaugural event for the field of Film Festival Studies took place in April 2009 at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews. It was attended by international scholars and festival practitioners and triggered a massive publishing and research programme which evolved in the decade that followed.
A decade later, in 2019, enabled by a grant from our KE/Impact fund and by contributions from the organisations of various participants, we convened in London for a day of discussions that were meant to assess what had been achieved over the past ten years of film festival studies. The event was held at Birkbeck College/University of London and consisted of two parts — there was a closed door discussion of selected core participants, followed by an open session in the afternoon, which took part to an audience of about fifty participants that came to discuss the work and outline new areas for research. The day was also intersperced with the screening of various videos sent in by colleagues who could not attend but wanted to contribute nonetheless, such as Anne-Demy Geroe from Brisbane, Australia, Tamara Falikov from the University of Kansas, and Richard Porton, editor of the Cinaste magazine from New York City — all colleagues who are known to either have run a festival or published a book that deals with matters of film festivals.
The core participants in the session included a group of international researchers and famous festival practitioners, such as Marco Muller (an academic and former director of the festivals in Turin, Pesaro, Rotterdam, Locarno, and Venice and currently director of the Pingyao Film Festival in China), Jean-Michel Frodon, an affiliate of the IGCCC, famous film writer and professor at Sciences Po in Paris, France, Dr. marijke De Valck, Utrecht University — who is widely regarded to be the doyenne of film festival studies, Dr. Dorota Ostrowska of Birkbeck college who has written on a variety of European festivals, and Hannah McGill, film journalist from Edinburgh and former artistic director of the Edinburgh International FIlm Festival. We were assisted by Sarah Smyth, a PhD student at the University of St Andrews, who works on festivals and who since was appointed to be the Executive Officer of Scottish Screen.
For the afternoon session we were joined by numerous mainly London-based participants who are engaged with the study of film festivals in one way or another, such as Anastasia Kerameos from the BFI Library, Prof. Catherine Grant from Birkbeck, Prof. Chris Berry from King’s College London, Dr. Will Brown from Roehampton University, and many others. The discussion was lively and engaging. A recording of it will be made available at a later point.