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Screening the World Research Collective

Researching international and foreign language film festivals in Australia
International film festivals are booming in Australia. Yet little is known about the nation's foreign film festival landscape. We aim to offer interdisciplinary insights into the developing film festival industry and how it impacts on local communities.

About us

We promote research into international film festivals and the eventisation of cultures through film festivals in Australia. We are interested in the organisation and mechanisms behind these events, including aspects such as institutional backgrounds, programming and cultural agendas. 

While international film festivals have been discussed in sociology, management and tourism studies, the research focussing on multilingual and ethno-cultural film festivals is still sparse.

What sets international and multilingual film festivals in Australia apart from other film festivals? What defines their curatorship? Which decisions inform their programming? How do they benefit multicultural Australia?

These questions inform our focus on the histories of both established and emergent international and foreign language film festivals of varying scales within the cultural landscape of Australia.

Our people

Current projects

  • Italian film festivals in Australia: Dr Giorgia Alù
  • Korean and Japanese film festivals: Dr Benjamin Nickl
  • Latin American film festivals: Dr Fernanda Peñaloza
  • French film festivals in Australia: A/Prof Michelle Royer and Dr Andrea Bandhauer


Through our research and events, we explore the narratives of a diverse range of film festivals with enquiry into their status as staples of national identity.

Conference papers

Michelle Royer and Ben Nickl

International Film Festivals: The Unknown Yet Important Players in Australia’s Multiculture Scene

There is increasing speculation that film festivals “will develop into the most important public platform for films alongside the internet, in other words, they will assume the traditional function of cinema and television” (Lars Henrik Gass, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen). Such an outlook on the opportunities, and also challenges, associated with film festivals suggests that relevant stakeholders (governments, secondary industries, cultural organisations, and festival programmers themselves) need to know more about the complex narratives of these festivals. This complexity, as is argued in this paper, stems from a host of assumptions made about film festivals’ audience motivations and programmers’ curatorial practices, and, ultimately, the alleged purpose of film festivals. For instance, established international film festivals, which screen annually in NSW, have grown over the years in economic relevance.

However, little is known to the NSW film market and its players in order to determine the social impact and cultural value of these film events. International film festivals in Australia have long outgrown their original function of presenting and promoting foreign film. Today’s international film festivals are increasingly assuming social key functions such as community networking, strengthening of local infrastructures, and the provision of a wider range of transnational cinema aesthetics to Australian viewers in urban, suburban, and rural contexts.  


Co-organised with Sydney Ideas

Date: 6 November 2018
Venue: Old Geology Theatre, Edgeworth David Building, University of Sydney

We explore the role of international film events in 21st century Australia with Australian film icon David Stratton as well as curators from the French, Japanese, Palestinian, Latin American and Sydney film festivals.

Listen to the podcast | Forum report

Date: 13 June 2018
Venue: Woolley Lecture Theatre 325, John Woolley Building, University of Sydney

The interdisciplinary Film Festival Events conference and roundtable discussion is as an all-day event, bringing together film studies researchers, film event practitioners and LOTE teachers from NSW and Victoria.

The event ran in association with the Disciplines of Germanic Studies, French and Francophone Studies, and International Comparative Literature and Translation Studies from the School of Languages and Cultures.

View program (pdf, 2.4MB) | Conference report


Associate Professor Michelle Royer
Associate Professor Michelle Royer
Visit Associate Professor Royer's academic profile


Profile shot of Dr Benjamin Nickl