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Book Chapter: What Can Small Festivals Do? Towards Festivals as Testimony to Expanded Civic Engagement in Post-Handover Hong Kong

TitleWhat Can Small Festivals Do? Towards Festivals as Testimony to Expanded Civic Engagement in Post-Handover Hong Kong
Authors
Issue Date2017
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Citation
What Can Small Festivals Do? Towards Festivals as Testimony to Expanded Civic Engagement in Post-Handover Hong Kong. In Berry, C & Robinson, L (Eds.), Chinese Film Festivals: Sites of Translation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017 How to Cite?
AbstractStarting around the year 2003, two small independent film festivals of the “corrective kind” appeared in the city of Hong Kong. The Chinese Documentary Festival (CDF) and the Social Movement Film Festival (SMFF) began as festivals to raise awareness of the viable form of documentary cinema and the use of documentary films in the culture of open dissent. The former showcases Chinese-language documentaries from the PRC, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, as well as other Chinese diasporas. The latter include Chinese-language documentaries along with documentaries and protests videos from overseas. They were energized by a boom in independent digital documentaries in the PRC and Taiwan, well-documented in recent studies (Berry, Lu, and Rofel, 2010). The CDF is devoted to correcting the limiting and myopic views of cinema dominated by narrative feature films, and the SMFF is devoted to correcting corporate propaganda on the benefits of neoliberal economics and capitalist globalization. Both are connected to regional documentary festival networks and the SMFF has links to the makers and curators of documentaries of dissent as well as protest videos. A growing culture of civic engagement in post-Handover Hong Kong has seen participation of young citizens in public activities of dissent regarding social injustices, government politics, and local resources. Independent documentaries featured in these two festivals have observed, investigated, and intervened in social issues. Some confront authorities with reasoned points of view, others dwell on embodied experiences of the daily and special variety, and all engage in translating what the camera beholds into audio-visual forms. They provide a space for the audience to acquire imagination and experience for expanded, translocal civic engagement. This chapter considers the local translatability of the culture of dissent in festival practices of awareness and participation. I situate CDF and SMFF within festival and dissent cultures that include: 1) the culture and network of major film festivals, and 2) the culture and network of open dissent involving demonstration events and the use of auditory-visual materials. I examine the ways these festivals have adopted and translated from the culture of open dissent into festival practices that depart from the main concern to exhibit cinema art on behalf of film industry, business, and the making of auteurs. Non-celebratory and participatory in nature, the small festivals exhibit a range of films that I argue to be able Sinophone civic engagement rather than “Chineseness”. They go along with the festivals’ own strategies of awareness and involvement that translate festival cultures and dissent cultures into local terms, through the practices of selection and adjudication, special activities, funding, networking, and training. The prospects of these festivals are validated with the borrowed term, “awareness economy” that intends to raise coordination of academia and industry to generate innovation. I adopt this notion to refer to the small festival networks forming a certain alternative cultural economy through the symbolic significance given to civic engagement as awareness of what documentaries can contribute to the culture of dissent on the one hand, and to the reproduction of independent documentaries on the other.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/235654
ISBN

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorYau, ECM-
dc.date.accessioned2016-10-14T13:54:36Z-
dc.date.available2016-10-14T13:54:36Z-
dc.date.issued2017-
dc.identifier.citationWhat Can Small Festivals Do? Towards Festivals as Testimony to Expanded Civic Engagement in Post-Handover Hong Kong. In Berry, C & Robinson, L (Eds.), Chinese Film Festivals: Sites of Translation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017-
dc.identifier.isbn9781137554802-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/235654-
dc.description.abstractStarting around the year 2003, two small independent film festivals of the “corrective kind” appeared in the city of Hong Kong. The Chinese Documentary Festival (CDF) and the Social Movement Film Festival (SMFF) began as festivals to raise awareness of the viable form of documentary cinema and the use of documentary films in the culture of open dissent. The former showcases Chinese-language documentaries from the PRC, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, as well as other Chinese diasporas. The latter include Chinese-language documentaries along with documentaries and protests videos from overseas. They were energized by a boom in independent digital documentaries in the PRC and Taiwan, well-documented in recent studies (Berry, Lu, and Rofel, 2010). The CDF is devoted to correcting the limiting and myopic views of cinema dominated by narrative feature films, and the SMFF is devoted to correcting corporate propaganda on the benefits of neoliberal economics and capitalist globalization. Both are connected to regional documentary festival networks and the SMFF has links to the makers and curators of documentaries of dissent as well as protest videos. A growing culture of civic engagement in post-Handover Hong Kong has seen participation of young citizens in public activities of dissent regarding social injustices, government politics, and local resources. Independent documentaries featured in these two festivals have observed, investigated, and intervened in social issues. Some confront authorities with reasoned points of view, others dwell on embodied experiences of the daily and special variety, and all engage in translating what the camera beholds into audio-visual forms. They provide a space for the audience to acquire imagination and experience for expanded, translocal civic engagement. This chapter considers the local translatability of the culture of dissent in festival practices of awareness and participation. I situate CDF and SMFF within festival and dissent cultures that include: 1) the culture and network of major film festivals, and 2) the culture and network of open dissent involving demonstration events and the use of auditory-visual materials. I examine the ways these festivals have adopted and translated from the culture of open dissent into festival practices that depart from the main concern to exhibit cinema art on behalf of film industry, business, and the making of auteurs. Non-celebratory and participatory in nature, the small festivals exhibit a range of films that I argue to be able Sinophone civic engagement rather than “Chineseness”. They go along with the festivals’ own strategies of awareness and involvement that translate festival cultures and dissent cultures into local terms, through the practices of selection and adjudication, special activities, funding, networking, and training. The prospects of these festivals are validated with the borrowed term, “awareness economy” that intends to raise coordination of academia and industry to generate innovation. I adopt this notion to refer to the small festival networks forming a certain alternative cultural economy through the symbolic significance given to civic engagement as awareness of what documentaries can contribute to the culture of dissent on the one hand, and to the reproduction of independent documentaries on the other.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherPalgrave Macmillan-
dc.relation.ispartofChinese Film Festivals: Sites of Translation-
dc.titleWhat Can Small Festivals Do? Towards Festivals as Testimony to Expanded Civic Engagement in Post-Handover Hong Kong-
dc.typeBook_Chapter-
dc.identifier.emailYau, ECM: yaue@hku.hk-
dc.identifier.authorityYau, ECM=rp01179-
dc.identifier.doi10.1057/978-1-137-55016-3-
dc.identifier.hkuros269565-
dc.publisher.placeNew York-

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