Documentary Festivals and Linguistic Diversity

Found in Translation: Documentary Film Festivals and the Preservation of Linguistic Diversity”

International Forum Cinema of Small Nations, Film Literacy, and New Audiences
Santiago de Compostela. Friday, 24th October, 2014, 16:30 h (23-24.10.2014)
Panel: Itineraries for the circulation of small cinemas

http://www.estudosaudiovisuais.org/foro-internacional-cine-de-pequenas-nacions-alfabetizacion-filmica-e-novas-audiencias/?lang=en

Panel: Itineraries for the circulation of small cinemas
Coord.: Patxi Azpillaga (Euskal Herriko Unibersitatea)
To analyse who small cinemas are accessible, particularly through new screens and how they generate new modes of consumption.
Speakers:
• Marijke de Valck (Universiteit Van Amsterdam)
• Luz Delgado (Europa Cinemas) and Juan Heras (Cines Van Dyck)
• Aida Vallejo Vallejo (Euskal Herriko Unibersitatea)

FOUND IN TRANSLATION: DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVALS AND THE PRESERVATION OF LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY

Aida Vallejo Vallejo.
University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)

Abstract

In the last twenty years, a network of festivals specialising in documentary film has spread around the globe. This circuit has created alternative networks of circulation for a “minor genre” which serves as a natural vehicle for addressing linguistic diversity. The very nature of documentary, its relationship with the representation of reality and the preservation of cultural diversity, on the one hand; and the international character of film festivals as spaces for cultural exchange, on the other, positions documentary film festivals as privileged spaces for the preservation of linguistic diversity through film.

In this paper I will offer some insights into the possibilities and challenges that documentary film festivals offer for the exposure and promotion of different languages. Firstly, I will analyse the role of these festivals both as exhibition platforms for films which show minoritised languages, multilingual contexts, and/or even dialects and accents rarely present in fiction film; and secondly, I will focus on the strategies developed by documentary film festivals to facilitate communication among people coming from different countries, while preserving and promoting local languages and cultural diversity.

I will devote the first part of my talk to the texts (this is, the films) and their specificity as documentaries, and the second part to the contexts (this is, the festivals) and their linguistic policies.

Taking the trajectories of some documentary films which travelled the international festival circuit throughout the last decades as case studies, I will focus on the importance of film festivals to facilitate the circulation of small-production films which otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach an international audience. Looking at the narrative construction of these films, I will reflect on the importance of documentary as opposed to fiction, as the most suitable genre to represent issues related to linguistic diversity. In the second part, I will look at the modes in which festivals manage cultural interactions which take place within them, to reflect on their role of socio-cultural encounters where people talking different languages meet. I will also analyse the exhibition practices regarding the use of original version., subtitles and/or other translation modalities, in relation to the different kinds of audiences which conform the festival community.

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