Accepted Paper:

When a Film 'Travels': World Cinema and Its Local Audience  


Maayan Roichman (University of Oxford )

Paper short abstract:

At a time of thriving film festivals, many films are made to 'travel'. By exploring the relations formulated on social media between "world cinema" (Elsaesser, 2005) and its local audiences, this paper reflects on the effects of exhibiting artworks in global arenas.

Paper long abstract:

At a time of thriving film festivals, many films are made to 'travel' from the outset. Indeed, film scholars have demonstrated the ways in which "world cinema" (Elsaesser, 2005) has its own audiences, as well as aesthetic and thematic styles. Aiming for success abroad often means that in their homelands, less people watch these films. However, does it mean these films do not communicate with their domestic audiences at all?

This paper draws on a digital ethnography of Israeli social media platforms. It analyzes social media interactions and debates about a few recent Israeli films that featured in leading international festivals. By examining the types of comments and interactions surrounding these films, this paper offers a reflection on the domestic effects of exhibiting artworks in global arenas. Specifically, it shows how a film's ability to travel (i.e its success in film festivals) actually prompts different types of online engagements of local audiences— the same audiences who most likely have not watched and will not watch the full film.

Finally, by reflecting upon the methods employed in this study, this paper discusses the unique contributions digital research methods have to offer to studies of the art world, as well as the hesitations and challenges in combining them with other methods commonly used in the anthropology of art.

Panel P079
For an anthropology of the art world: Exploring institutions, actors and art works between circulation and territorialisation processes