Previous Film Conferences


Spectators? Between Cinema and Social Networks

18th International Bremen Film Conference

The 18th International Bremen Film Conference will take place January 17-20, 2013. The conference will be held annually under the cooperation of the University of Bremen | Department 9 and the Community Cinema Bremen | CITY 46 in association with further cooperators.

Under the headline "Spectators? Between Cinema and Social Networks", the Conference concentrates on the changement of spectatorship.

Spectators are a constitutive part of film, whether they find themselves in a cinema, at a film presentation in a café, or in some other public place assembled for ‘public viewing’. Today, audiences can also form across social networks. In other words, film is inconceivable without spectators, both as a construction of meaning and as social practice. By way of new forms of presentation and distribution, today the audience is changing and diversifying, and new forms of spectatorship are emerging as has occurred throughout the history of film. The Eighteenth International Bremen Film Conference takes up these transformations and looks at the spectator between the cinema and social networks.

Janet Staiger | University of Texas, Austin || Guillaume Soulez | Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris || Josep Maria Català | Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona || Mattias Frey | University of Kent, Canterbury || Heide Schlüpmann | Goethe Universität Frankfurt || Wolfgang Weileder | Newcastle University

You can download the program here (in German).

A program for graduate students and doctoral candidates on the same topic proceeds the conference.

   | Further information

The Interface Image. A New Mind for the Post-spectator

Josep M. Català

By considering the interface as a mental model, we propose the study of the new forms of exposure arising from digital technology as the correlate of a new mentality, characteristic of the current transformations that the figure of the spectator is undergoing. The most prominent feature of this mentality is the flux between hybrid and transient states, one relevant example being the uncertainties between reality and fiction (imagination).

This new type of mental organization has a visual correspondence, which completes the process of overcoming the classic visuality that started with cinema more than a century ago, and results in a series of new forms of exhibition, like the installations or the Web documentaries, whose aesthetics and functionality is linked to a new kind of post-spectator.

Saturday, January 19, 2013, 16:00h

Josep M. Català is Dean of the Communication Sciences Faculty. Full Professor at the Audiovisual Communication Department. PhD in Communication Sciences at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Master of Art in Film Theory at the San Francisco State University. B.A. in Modern History at the University of Barcelona (UB). Director of the Master de Documental Creativo from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Fundesco Essay Award for La violación de la mirada (The Rape of the Look), and Essay Award at the XXVII Irun's Literary Contest for Elogio de la paranoia (In praise of paranoia). Award from the Spanish Association of Film Historians. Editor of Imagen, memoria y fascinación: notas sobre el documental en España (Image, memory, and fascination: Notes about the Film Documentary in Spain), author of La puesta en imágenes: conceptos de dirección cinematográfica (The mise-en-image: concepts of film directing) and many more. He currently teaches Visual Studies and Film Documentary at the UAB.

   | Information Sheet.

The Incorrigible Spectator

Mattias Frey

For decades film theory has debated how cinema sutures spectators into identification with the fiction. However, in cognitive, psychoanalytic and phenomenological approaches to the subject it has always been assumed that the spectator has been captivated by the film—that he or she remains calmly seated and watches the film from beginning to end in a concentrated manner. Nevertheless, it often happens that the spectator becomes annoyed, bored or disgusted; sometimes he or she watches in a distracted manner or leaves the screening. This talk examines this important case. Using examples from cinema history and today, it examines the »incorrigible« spectator.

Sunday, January 20, 2013, 10:30h

Mattias Frey is Senior Lecturer for film studies at the University of Kent, UK. His lectures and research concern on film critique and film culture. His publications include Postwall German Cinema: History, Film History and Cinephilia (Berghahn, 2013); he is co-editor of Cine-Ethics: Ethical Dimensions of Film Theory, Practice and Spectatorship (Routledge, 2013).

   | Information Sheet.

The New Dimension: Media, Internet, and Audiences. The Case of Interactive Documentary

Guillaume Soulez

In a recent advertising in newspapers and elsewhere, the French television channel Canal Plus suggested to the readers that the end of »Kindia« was not written. »Kindia« is an interactive documentary on Guinea, in relation with NGO's humanitarian projects, depending on the participation of the audience itself. This Kindia case is one of the most visible aspect of a contemporary trend to renew the relation beetween films and audiences through internet. This intervention will underline how interactive documentary (or web documentary) deals with old issues such as authorship, point of view, montage and "creative treatment of reality" (Grierson), issues which are now part of the viewers' activity.

Saturday, January 19, 2013, 12:00h

Guillaume Soulez is Professor for Cinema and media studies, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris III, Département cinéma et audiovisuel.
He leads the research group The Renaissance of television inside the Institut de recherches sur le cinéma et l'audiovisuel (IRCAV, Sorbonne Nouvelle). He is associated with two research laboratories of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and coordinates with Philippe Marion (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium) the Intermediality 2015. Cinema, television, internet project. He founded in 1991 the TV viewers' national association Les Pieds dans le Paf. Association nationale des téléspectateurs.

   | Information Sheet.

Nuking the Fridge. Great Expectations and Affective Reception

Janet Staiger

As the acceleration of conversations between film producers and fans have increased over the past thirty years, the broad awareness of forthcoming projects has a potential downside. Will the film meet audience expectations? This problem is exacerbated when the film is a sequel, part of a carefully calculated genre franchise for which an unsatisfactory entry could harm profits beyond the most immediate box office. "Nuking the Fridge" considers US fan reception of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). While many fans enjoyed the film, others were, as director George Lucas predicted, disappointed.

At least amongst the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) crew, three major themes of disappointment developed. One involved Steven Spielberg's authorship. A second concerned the story structure with fans using film and literary analysis to criticize pacing, clarity, and (lack of) suspense. The third theme, for which the marketing might have prepared viewers, involved dissonances between the formula of Indiana Jones as the fans had constructed it and this sequel.

Friday, January 18, 2013, 17:45h

Janet Staiger is the William P. Hobby Centennial Professor Emeritus of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. As a theoretician and historian of film and television, she has published on the Hollywood mode of production, the economic history and dynamics of the industry and its technology, post-structural and feminist/queer approaches to authorial studies, the historical reception of cinema and television programs, and cultural issues involving gender, sexuality, and race/ ethnicity.

Her books include Political Emotions (2010) co-ed. with Ann Cvetkovich and Ann Reynolds, Convergence Media History (2008) co-ed. with Sabine Hake, Media Reception Studies (2005), Authorship and Film, co-ed. with David Gerstner (2003), Perverse Spectators: The Practices of Film Reception (2000), Blockbuster TV: Must-See Sitcoms in the Network Era (2000), Bad Women: Regulating Sexuality in Early American Cinema (1995), Interpreting Films: Studies in the Historical Reception of American Cinema (1992), and The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960, co-authored with David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson (1985).

   | Information Sheet.