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MFCO330 Special Topic: Film Festivals


Provides an historic, experimental introduction to the world of film festivals, including judging and curating opportunities, plus ‘behind-the-scenes’ tours and attendance at the New Zealand International Film Festival.

The paper is run via a participatory structure, focusing on group work, interactive learning and discussion. A student-chosen long paper is included in the assessments.

Paper title Special Topic: Film Festivals
Paper code MFCO330
Subject Media, Film and Communication
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2020
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,954.75

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One 200-level MFCO or FIME paper
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Teaching staff
Convenor and Lecturer: Dr Davinia Thornley
Paper Structure
  • A historical overview of festivals: historical and industry lineages for specific types of film and cultural festivals will be defined over the first two weeks of lectures, particularly critical studies of how film festivals developed vis-a-vis film culture and history
  • Participation weeks: including advanced practice in field trip/screening report methodology and attendance at the NZIFF
  • Approaches to film festivals, including aesthetic, critical, event management, geographical, star studies, activist, etc
  • Discussion around what it means to engage with film festivals as a 'lived experience' via ethnographic exploration, including reception case studies of film festivals

Note: This is subject to change before the class commences.
  • Jury participation exercise 15%
  • Screening reports 45% (15% each for 3 written reports:1000-1500 words each)
  • Research paper 25% (2500 words)
  • Curatorship exercise 15%
  • Internally Assessed Work 100%
Teaching Arrangements
Lectures, practicum tutorials (including film festival curating and judging) and attendance at the New Zealand International Film Festival (dates to be confirmed).

Required Textbook:
Film Festivals: History, Theory, Method, Practice Eds. Marijke de Valck, Brendan Kredell and Skadi Loist (Routledge 2016)

Additional readings will be made available on Blackboard
A NZIFF 5-movie pass (available from the Regent box office, located in the Octagon)

Course outline

View a sample course outline for MFCO 330

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • Students will obtain an understanding of the general importance of the study of film festivals (and festivals more generally) to media and film studies and will be able to contextualise this historically and cross-culturally
  • Students will gain a clear appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of the main methods currently in use in film festival studies
  • Students will gain the following practical skills: learning how to curate a proposed film festival programme; serving on a mock film festival jury as academic referees; and writing up actual field trip/screening reports
  • Students will have the opportunity to analyse the relationship between theoretical writing on film festivals/audiences and the experience of being a member of such an audience. They should be able to enter contemporary debates about the place of cinema in our lives, in media culture and in various economies

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Not offered in 2020

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system