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Film festivals and migration

Migration A–Z


  1. Marijke de Valck

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm234

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

de Valck, M. 2013. Film festivals and migration. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


Film festivals have become a widespread phenomenon since their inception at the Venice Film Festival in 1932, the first festival to be organized on a regular basis. Film festivals proliferated in particular from the late 1960s onward. Today a film festival takes place every day somewhere: the estimated total number of film festivals varies from 700 to 1,500 annually. From studies on film festivals (e.g. Dayan 2000; Turan 2003; De Valck 2007) it is clear that they (can) serve various agendas or interests – geopolitical, economic, as well as cultural. However, their main function is cultural: to screen films that fall outside the circles of regular (commercial) distribution and exhibition. It is through film festivals that niche films – more commonly referred to by scholars as well as programmers and critics by terms like “world cinema,” various “national cinemas,” “art cinema,” and “auteur cinema” – reach global audiences. Moreover, with competition programs, prizes, and press coverage, festivals are able to add value (symbolic capital) to such films and, in this way, act as stepping stones to further distribution, for example via art-house exhibition, TV broadcasting, video on demand (VOD), and DVD releases.


  • cultural diversity;
  • cross-cultural;
  • transnationalism;
  • borders