Negotiating Pink Film Programming at LGBT Film Festivals

pink-film-programming.jpgNegotiating Pink Film Programming: A Comparative Analysis of European LGBT Film Festivals

Researcher(s) (CIMS)

Frederik Dhaenens

Funded by

FWO travel grant for a long stay abroad


This project wants to confront, qualify and fortify the emerging work on the LGBT programming strategies of LGBT film festivals by studying the way heteronormativity is negotiated in the production and programming of a selection of long-running European LGBT film festivals. The aim of this project is twofold: First, it wants to understand how LGBT film festivals negotiate heteronormativity in their mission statement, production and program. Second, it inquires to what extent distinctive European urban settings might affect the way a seemingly similar LGBT film festival is conceived and produced and, as such, uncover how heteronormativity is negotiated on a local level.

At least two studies will be conducted to fulfill the aim of this project. The first study explores how programmers of LGBT film festivals approach their curatorial practices and, specifically, negotiate the ongoing identity debates with particular cinematic demands on the one hand, and desires of audiences on the other. The second study researches how established and long-running festivals deal with the turn to homonormativity (i.e. the incorporation of heteronormativity by LGBT individuals and communities). It inquires to what extent a resistant and activist approach to programming is exchanged for a more homonormative approach.Here, at least two established festivals will be studied into depth; The festival BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival –which was organized for the first time in 1986– and Pink Screens FilmFestival –organized for the first time in 2002.

This qualitative study is informed by critical media studies, cultural studies, festival studies and queer theory, and uses ethnographic and textual methods. The research will be conducted in collaboration with the Film Studies Department at King’s College London, where researcher Frederik Dhaenens will work as a visiting research fellow (under supervision of Prof. dr. Rosalind Galt) from February until May 2016 and prepare and conduct the research of the programming strategies at BFI Flare.