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The Political Economy of Local Cinema: A Critical Introduction

by Anne Rajala (Volume editor) Daniel Lindblom (Volume editor) Matteo Stocchetti (Volume editor)
Edited Collection 258 Pages

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Preface
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Critical political economy and local cinema:
  • Part 1 Local Cinema and Digitization: Distribution and Exhibition
  • The political economy of participatory community cinemas: CineCiutat as a standpoint of resistance
  • Elements of a critical political economy of local cinema in Digital Era: Lo-bal process and double aesthetic of cinema in French film exhibitors
  • Film distribution in Finland: Gatekeepers of local cinema
  • Digitizing local cinema: Lessons on diversity from Norway
  • The political economy of Khaleeji cinema: Historical developments of Arab Gulf film industries
  • Part 2 Local Cinema and Globalization: Struggles, Survival and Sustainability
  • Production of Main Melody Film in Post-Socialist China: A deconstruction of Wolf Warrior 2
  • In the land of Finnish Swedish cinema: A look into the political economy of local cinema in Finland
  • Art against the odds: The struggles, survival and success of New Zealand local cinema
  • Market censorship and Finnish cinema
  • Sustainability as a framework of analysis and a guide for policy-making: The film industry in Wellington, New Zealand
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Index

Notes on Contributors

Abdulrahman Alghannam is a PhD candidate at the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom. He completed his Master of Arts in mass communication at the University of Central Missouri, United States with a research on ethical practice in documentary films. His current research focuses on the development of film industries in the Arab Gulf States in the period of 2004–2017. His research interests include political economy of film, film policies, Khaleeji cinema, and film industries.

Ignacio Bergillos is Lecturer in Media Studies at CESAG – Universidad Pontificia Comillas. He holds a PhD in Audiovisual Communication and Advertising from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He is interested in media technology and innovation, the changing logics of media industries and the relationship between audiences and professionals within the framework of participatory culture. His work has been published in the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, Observatorio (OBS)* and Journalism Practice.

Natàlia Ferrer-Roca (PhD) is Adjunct Professor at the Department of Organization, Business Management and Communication at the University of Girona (Catalonia). Her research is interdisciplinary, connecting political economy, media policy, cultural industries and destination branding. She is also a freelance researcher and advisor having worked with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU, Geneva) and the Government of Catalonia. Moreover, she is Associate Director (Research) of The Place Brand Observer (http://placebrandobserver.com). Her research has been published in the Journal of Media Business Studies, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Media Industries and Studies in Australasian Cinema.

Terje Gaustad is Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Creative Industries Management at BI Norwegian Business School. He holds a PhD in Strategic Management from the same school. His main research interests are in institutional and organizational economics applied to the entertainment industries. Among his latest publications is a chapter on “How Film Financing Shapes Project Strategy” in P.C. Murschetz and R. Teichmann (Eds.) Handbook of State Aid for Film: Finance, Industries and Regulation (Springer); and an article ←9 | 10→on “How Streaming Services Make Cinema More Important” in Nordic Journal of Media Studies.

Anne-Britt Gran is professor at BI Norwegian Business School and director of BI Center for Creative Industries (BI:CCI). Her main research interests are digitization of the culture and media sector, cultural policy, culture consumption, post colonialism, and theatre history and management. Among her latest publications are “A Digital Museum’s Contribution to Diversity – A User Study” (in Museum Management and Curatorship, 2019), and “Digital Infrastructure for Diversity – On Digital Bookshelf and Google Books” (in The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, 2019).

Heidi Grundström is a PhD candidate at Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture’s Department of Film, Television and Scenography in Helsinki, Finland. She is currently working on her doctoral dissertation “New Cinemas and Changing Audiences in Finland. Understanding the Role of New Technology in the Encounters of Audiences and Films”. Her research interests are film and television audiences and film industry/production studies. Her research work focuses on the application of social practice theory for conceptualising contemporary film-viewing practices.

Xiaofei Han is a PhD candidate at the School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada. From her previous experience as a marketing communication professional in Beijing, Xiaofei has developed a keen interest in the emergent and evolving commodification models of major Chinese platforms, which connects different modes of production from online to offline locally and globally. Xiaofei holds a MA in Communication from Hong Kong Baptist University and an Honours BA in Communication Studies from Carleton University with a specialization in Media Industry and Institutions.

Benjamin Lesson has a PhD in Information & Communication studies. Lesson is a member of the laboratory PASSAGES XX-XXI, in Lyon. Lesson’s researche focuses on film exhibition economy and on contemporary spectator theories & practices. His study of media practices combines aesthetical, ethical and political point of views. He also teaches social sciences at Sciences Po (Institute for Political Studies) Lyon. His main publications are: “Singularité cinéphilique” in L’économie de la cinéphilie, Cahier des Champs Visuels, 2017, “L’ex-spectation. L’écriture comme (une) pratique cinéphilique chez Stanley Cavell”, Revue Textimage, Varia n°4, printemps 2014, «(Hi)story telling: un ←10 | 11→nouveau partage du sensible…». “Transmedia Storytelling”, Terminal, n°112, Paris, L’Harmattan, Hiver 2012–2013.

Daniel Lindblom is a research assistant in the research programme Media and Education in the Digital Age – MEDA, at Arcada University of Applied Sciences. He is also a candidate to the Master program in Journalism at the University of Helsinki, a freelance journalist and a screenwriter.

Argelia Muñoz Larroa is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Research on North America at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She has studied the sustainability of cultural industries as an overarching analytical framework to guide policy-making. Within the field of political economy, she is interested in cultural industries’ distribution as a key factor to enhance regional economic development and intercultural relations. She has a PhD in Management from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, a MA in International Affairs, and a BA in History from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She has published in the International Journal of Communication, Media Industries Journal, Studies in Australasian Cinema, Norteamérica, and Estudios sobre las Culturas Contemporáneas.

Anne Lill Rajala is a research assistant in the Media and Education in the Digital Age (MEDA) research programme at Arcada University of Applied Sciences, Finland. She holds a bachelor degree in Culture and Arts (film & television) and is currently completing a master degree in social sciences (University of Helsinki) with communication as main discipline. Her BA thesis dealt with documentary film as a form of truth-telling and she continues exploring the topic further in her master thesis. Rajala has been involved in artistic productions for more than 15 years through, for example, theater, photography and filmmaking. Additionally Rajala has a strong passion for music, and pursues her artistic ambitions in the critically acclaimed theatrical metal band Lost in Grey.

Matteo Stocchetti (PhD) is Docent in Political Communication at Åbo Academy, Docent in Media and Communication at the University of Helsinki and Principal Lecturer in Critical Media Analysis at Arcada University of Applied Sciences. He is the initiator and main coordinator of the program Media and Education in the Digital Age – MEDA. Among his recent publications, (2018), “Invisibility, Inequality and the Dialectics of the Real in the Digital ←11 | 12→Age”. INTERAÇÕES: SOCIEDADE E AS NOVAS MODERNIDADES 34: 23–46; Stocchetti Matteo (2017), “Digital Visuality and Social Representation. Research Notes on the Visual Construction of Meaning”. KOME. An International Journal of Pure Communication Inquiry 5(2): 38–56; Stocchetti Matteo (2017), “Persona and Parrhesia: Research Notes on the Dialectics of the Real”. Persona Studies 3(1); Stocchetti Matteo, (2017), “Re-making the Truth in the Digital Age. Parrhesia and Human Interest”. Comunicazioni Sociali. Journal of Media, Performing Arts and Cultural Studies 3: 405–414.

Øyvind Torp is currently an advisor at the Norwegian Ministry of Culture, but worked as associated researcher at BI:CCI until 2019. At BI:CCI his work centered around the economics and digitization of the creative industries. He contributed to a number of reports, including two for the Norwegian Ministry of Culture released in 2018 and 2019 identifying economic digitization-effects in the value systems of the Norwegian film and music industries.

Matteo Stocchetti

Critical political economy and local cinema:

An Introduction

Abstract Cinema is an influential form of storytelling that depends on myths, capital and technology to perform sense-making and reality-building functions. In this chapter, I argue that local cinema is both important and vulnerable. As ideology is an inherent part of cinematic reality, local cinema is an important form of storytelling because it depends on and narratively reproduces myths and ideologies significantly different from and often antagonistic to those of global and national cinema. Compared to these, however, local cinema is a vulnerable form of storytelling because it cannot rely on an established apparatus and its narratives are often disruptive of established myths. While globalization and digitalization foster the commercial competitiveness of global and national cinema and the visibility of their ‘realities’, local cinema faces ‘market censorship’ and the risk of a market-driven extinction. A critical political economy of local cinema is an analytical approach that can help analysts, practitioners and educators to appreciate and support local cinema. At the end of this chapter, I present the main features of this approach and the contributions of the essays in this volume.

Keywords: Critical political economy, local cinema, storytelling, global cinema, globalization, digitalization

Introduction

The main point of this collection and the message throughout its chapters can be summarised as follows: local cinema is important and vulnerable. In this chapter, I address three preliminary questions concerning the reasons why local cinema is important, the nature of the challenges and perhaps opportunities facing local cinema in the age of globalization and digitalization, and the main features of an approach that can effectively address these challenges and support the social role of local cinema. Each of these questions connects to widespread debates, a wide variety of perspectives, approaches, concerns and ultimately insights that is impossible to summarize here in all their articulations. In this introductory chapter, therefore, I will not report these debates in all their facets. What I will try to do, however, is to offer the reader the main conceptual coordinates and arguments than provide reasonable grounds to address these questions from the standpoint of our normative goals. In other words, I describe these debates to argue the case for the importance of local cinema, for the need to address the ←13 | 14→challenges it faces and for a critical approach to the political economy of cinema that could help in addressing these challenges.

What is (local) cinema and why it matters? Storytelling, ideology and reality

A look at dictionary definitions gives an idea of the elements of complexity involved in the concept of ‘cinema’. With this word, we design a place, a particular kind of text or ‘moving images’, an industry, a business and, in its broadest meaning, an institution. As an institution, the notion of cinema includes not only movies (fiction, non-fiction, documentary cinema, etc.) but also organizations, formal and informal rules, conventions, interests, expectations and, most importantly, social functions. It is important to look closer at these functions to appreciate the importance of cinema in general, and of what we refer here as local cinema in particular, and to understand why the processes of globalization and digitalization present distinctive challenges that, in our view, cannot be ignored.

For our purposes, cinema is an immersive, complex and expensive form of storytelling that:

absorbs the attention of its audience through the sensorial involvement (or the ‘sensorium’) of multimodal narratives;

Summary

The globalization and digitalization of cultural markets presents formidable challenges for local cinema and storytelling. The essays in this collection address some of these challenges from the perspective of a critical political economy of local cinema. Inspiring these contributions is the effort of supporting local cinema as a form of valuable storytelling that is at risk of market-driven extinction because of the greater commercial viability of global or Hollywood cinema and national cinema.

Biographical notes

Anne Rajala (Volume editor) Daniel Lindblom (Volume editor) Matteo Stocchetti (Volume editor)

Anne Lill Rajala is a research assistant in the Media and Education in the Digital Age - MEDA research programme at Arcada University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland. She holds a bachelor degree in Culture and Arts (film & television) and is currently completing a master degree in social sciences (University of Helsinki) with communication as main discipline. Her BA thesis dealt with documentary film as a form of truth-telling and she continues exploring the topic further in her master thesis. Rajala has been involved in artistic productions for more than 15 years through e.g. theater, photography and filmmaking. Additionally Rajala has a strong passion for music, and pursues her artistic ambitions in the critically acclaimed theatrical metal band Lost in Grey. Daniel Lindblom is a freelance journalist, screenwriter and a researcher. He holds a bachelor degree in Culture and Arts (film & television) and is currently completing a master program in journalism at University of Helsinki, Finland. He is research assistant in the programme Media and education in the Digital Age – MEDA, based at Arcada University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki. His research deals with local cinema, especially Finnish Swedish cinema, and local storytelling. Matteo Stocchetti (PhD) is Docent in Political Communication at Åbo Academy, Docent in Media and Communication at the University of Helsinki and Principal Lecturer in Critical Media Analysis at Arcada University of Applied Sciences. He is the initiator and main coordinator of the program Media and Education in the Digital Age – MEDA. (https://rdi.arcada.fi/meda/en/). His main research interests include critical social theory applied to politics, education and the media.

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Title: The Political Economy of Local Cinema: A Critical Introduction