Chilean film festivals: promotors of film culture and cinephilia in Chile
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date31/07/2022
Itier, Sebastián Alejandro González
This thesis addresses the role of film festivals in Chile in creating, promoting, and consolidating film culture in Chile since its first initiatives emerged in the 1950s to the end of the 2010s. This thesis focuses on the development of film festivals as exhibition spaces for Chilean and international cinema, providing a specific vision of film festival studies, exposing the topics covered in this thesis as cinephilia, film culture, film communities, festival networks, and the conformation of Chilean film studies. The thesis explores the different definitions of film festivals; however, I will propose understanding the festivals as meeting places for a national cinephilia, gathered around their love for cinema. In this way, the thesis is inscribed within an expanding area of studies from a Latin American perspective. The central aim of this thesis is to explore how a large number of film festivals in Chile have established themselves as an exhibition circuit that keeps the cinephilia and film culture of a film community active. In this way, the thesis discusses the concept of an international "film festival network" (Stringer 2001, Elsaesser 2005, de Valck 2007) to find similarities and specific differences between this global network of festivals and the incipient Chilean film festival circuit. Using the concept of film festivals as an "Open System" (Fischer 2009) as a reference, I propose a circuit model based on the analogy with the water cycle. Thus, the thesis proposes that film festivals in Chile are organised in a virtuous cycle, where a group of festivals act as condensers of resources (films, guests, funds, press), use them and return them to the environment in three main processes: sublimation and deposition as the relationship between film festivals and film historiography; runoff as the circulation of films through the rest of the film festivals in the circuit; and infiltration and subsurface flow as the formative role played by cineclubs and film schools. A cinephile interest mediates all these processes. As a result, resources are transformed into new resources, understood as new films, and new filmmakers and a new generation of cinephiles, which are returned to the environment condensed again by this group of festivals, nourishing this "virtuous" circuit. Furthermore, this thesis explores the water cycle model through two case studies FICValdivia and SANFIC. These film festivals have consolidated themselves as the main condensers within the Chilean circuit, achieving international connections and prestige. Moreover, the thesis put in tension the model's operation with the circuit analysis during the Chilean social outburst of October 2019 and the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020. Finally, the thesis also dialogues with the expansion of Chilean film production since the mid-2000s, analysing its links to global trends in auteur cinema and observing its circulation in international film festivals.