This article is a cross-generational exchange of ideas and experiences that explores the intersections of film curating and activism. Its authors set forth accounts of their own experiences as scholars who have worked as film festival curators “on the side” from the 1990s to the present within the context of the new yet rapidly growing field of film festival studies, which provides a useful set of perspectives and methods for understanding how film festivals function and what significance and impact they can have on the multiple stakeholders involved, including but not limited to the filmmakers, festival organizers and staff, and audiences. Their experiences shed light on the ways that identity-based film festivals have evolved through engagement with economic and political forces of globalization and neoliberalism even as they function as important, fluid sites of community building where identities are negotiated, contested, and articulated.
Negotiating Political Identity in Community-Based Film Festivals: Reflexive Perspectives from Curator-Scholar-Activists
Marisa Hicks-Alcaraz is a doctoral student at Claremont Graduate University in the Department of Cultural Studies with interests in Chicanx/Latinx moving images, identity formation, ethnographies of cultural institutions, curatorial practices, and community- and feminista-based digital archiving. She has taught courses on Chicanx and Middle Eastern cinemas at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and is currently the director of programming for the Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles and Student Film Festival. She has curated programs for the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Chicano International Film Festival, Los Angeles; The Markaz: Arts Center for the Greater Middle East, Los Angeles; the Watsonville Film Festival; and the Vincent Price Art Museum, Monterey Park, California. Additionally, Hicks-Alcaraz is a cofounder of ImaginX en Movimiento (IXeM): A Latinx Moving Image Archiving Collective.
Eve Oishi is an associate professor of cultural studies at Claremont Graduate University with a research focus on Asian American, queer, and experimental film and video. Her work has appeared in anthologies and the journals Signs, Women's Studies Quarterly, Camera Obscura, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, and Aztlán. She is also an independent film and video curator who has organized programs for Outfest; MIX: New York Lesbian and Gay Film/Video Festival; LA Freewaves; the Silver Lake Film Festival; VC Filmfest: Los Angeles Asian Pacific American Film Festival; the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival; and the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
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Marisa Hicks-Alcaraz, Eve Oishi; Negotiating Political Identity in Community-Based Film Festivals: Reflexive Perspectives from Curator-Scholar-Activists. Feminist Media Histories 1 October 2019; 5 (4): 21–55. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2019.5.4.21
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