Professor Michael Raine presented a lecture at a two-week summer program sponsored by the Kadokawa Culture Promotion Foundation Media-Content Research Project in conjunction with the University of Tokyo. The annual summer program focuses on various aspects of Japanese popular media culture. The theme of the 2015 program was “Mediated Worlds: Sociality, Publicness and Celebrity” (http://kadokawa.iii.u-tokyo.ac.jp/summer_program/ and http://necs.org/node/105115).
The goal of this year’s program was to better understand how media technologies have transformed the category of celebrity and fame in Japan to produce new modes of socially mediated publicness. Consumer-information society has given rise to a culture of celebrity, wherein fascination with stars, pop idols, and personalities has erased the distinction between the public and private lives of individuals, and produced a society wherein spectacle, self-promotion, and surveillance structure everyday life and politics.
This year’s program focused on film, television, and social media. It examined socially mediated publicness in its many forms, including idols, voice actors, film stars, and television and net celebrities, also considering how audiences are organized into fan communities for the consumption of goods and services, how fan and social activities produce capital, and how public figures hold affective and social meanings for audiences and collaborators. In 2014, Professor Raine presented the paper “Character, Performer, Celebrity, Star: Popular Song Films and 1960s Media Mix” at the University of Tokyo summer program and in 2011 presented “Film as a Synthetic Art: Imitation, Copyright Infringement, and Masquerade in the Toho Film Musical” at the University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy.
Size matters – this is how one could capture in a slogan the ongoing research undertaken by several Film Studies faculty members, who focus on the opportunities and challenges faced by cinemas in small nations across the globe. But when is a nation or a cinema “small”? The cinema of small nations, says Professor Tobias Nagl, is usually understood as the film production of independent states with a population so small that their domestic market hardly supports the development of a homegrown film industry, making filmmakers either dependent on state funding, transnational co-production strategies or creative guerilla tactics.
After an international conference at Western in 2010 that explored these issues, Janina Falkowska, Tobias Nagl and Janelle Blankenship have now published two anthologies on the topic. Small Cinemas in Global Markets: Genres, Identities, Narratives, edited by Lenuta Giukin Janina Falkowska, David Desser, addresses aspects such as identity, revisiting the past, internationalized genres, new forms of experimental cinema, markets and production, as well as technological developments of alternative small screens. This anthology addresses the need to analyze the impact of small industries at local, regional, and global levels.
European Visions. Small Cinemas in Transition, edited by Janelle Blankenship and Tobias Nagl, examines the challenges cinemas in small European countries have faced since 1989. The volume explores how notions of scale and small cinemas relate to questions of territory, transnational media flows and globalization. Employing a variety of approaches from industry analysis to Deleuze & Guattari’s concept of the "minor," contributions address the relationship of small cinemas to Hollywood, the role of history and memory, and the politics of place in post-Socialist cinemas. A prominent film critic in Germany has written that the “global reach of the editors and contributors” of European Visions is “impressive.
Film lovers and filmgoers can look forward to Western Undergraduate Film Society’s annual Film Festival on Friday, March 27. The festival will be playing student made short films and awarding them for their efforts. Read more
Western News, October 30, 2014
On Aug. 13, 1961, the Berlin Wall was erected, thereby dividing overnight a city, families and dueling ideologies for the next 28 years. On Nov. 9, 1989, the world watched as jubilant crowds gathered on both sides of that Wall to celebrate the opening of its crossings. Germany’s postwar division was over. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Western News asked five scholars to reflect on its meaning a quarter century out.
Written by Tobias Nagl, Film Studies
As our plane from Copenhagen was approaching the flat Berlin skyline on a sunny afternoon in July, we did not yet know the flight of the victorious German soccer team was scheduled to arrive from Brazil only a few minutes later. Once we had picked up our suitcases with clothes, baby toys and books for our sabbatical and entered the arrival hall of Tegel airport, the signs of athletic – and national – pride could hardly be missed: flags everywhere, children with painted faces, cheering girls in soccer tricots and a few men who already had one too many beers, waiting behind the barriers in eager anticipation of their heroes. Read more
Brent Holmes, The Western Gazette, May 17, 2014
A Western student has landed a job working as an intern at the biggest film festival in the world. Alissa Chater, a fourth-year film studies student, will be bumping shoulders with at the Cannes International Film Festival this month. Read more
Brent Holmes, The Western Gazette, April 3, 2014
Last Friday night, Western graduate, Gazette alumnus and current director of the Toronto International Film Festival, Cameron Bailey, delivered a lecture on the development of a global brand for TIFF. It has been a long journey for Bailey, who started writing movie reviews for the Gazette in the 1980s. Bailey remembers the experience at The Gazette and how it got him where he is today. Read more
Have you been hearing about zombies seemingly everywhere lately? Well, good news, you aren’t going crazy — it’s actually happening.Zombies, who you may recognize as the mindless walking dead creatures who occasionally feast on humans, have penetrated popular culture to such an extent that they now garner university courses dedicated to them — even at Western. Read more
By Adela Talbot, Western News, August 7, 2013
Video games have come a long way since Nintendo first dominated the market in the 1980s. Three decades later, Rob McCallum has plans to go a long way to document the Nintendo saga, all the while hunting for its classic games. Read More
Janina Falkowska, Professor in Film Studies, has been involved in international projects with Poland and other European countries for the past 15 years. She has participated in international conferences dealing with Europe and the European unification project and has developed a steady research relationship with the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, the oldest university in Poland. With the participation of the Jagiellonian University, she has organized conferences and workshops in Poland and Canada.
Her research interests involve not only cinemas in Poland and other European countries but also small cinemas in other geographical regions. Along this line, she has been involved in the organization of three international conferences on small cinemas in Canada, the United States and Romania. Together with David Desser and Lenuta Giukin, she has most recently edited a book Small Cinemas in Global Markets. Genres, Identities, Narratives.
To honor her great contributions to the promotion of Polish cinema abroad and to recognize her Full Professorship in Europe, in 2013 Professor Falkowska was awarded a habilitation degree by the Jagiellonian University at a lavish ceremony in the university’s oldest Great Hall. The photograph on the left depicts this medieval ceremony.
by Adela Talbot, Western News April 12, 2012
Social media, the very tool that's brought the world together, is likewise responsible for worldwide alienation, according to one Western student. Read More
by Paul Mayne, Western News May 24, 2012
Nicole Cheese didn’t know what she would discover when she looked through her camera’s viewfinder. What she captured amazed even her. Offered by the Faculty of Arts & Humanities for the first time last semester, the third-year course Special Topics in Film Studies: Service Learning took students out of the classroom and into the community where they spent nearly four months at a number of community-based organizations. Read More