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Vol 1, No. 3: Film Festivals

The Harris Theater, owned by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and programmed primarily by Pittsburgh Filmmakers, is home to numerous local film festival screenings. (Photo: The Muse Dialogue)

The Muse Dialogue explores film festivals with a variety of perspectives, from a general history to a look at why film festivals have increasing relevance in the world of art. Explore the moving image, and walk with us as we consider its importance and role in our cultural landscape.

Kaleidoscope of Film Festivals

by Yu-San Cheng and Marie Zimmerman

Film has risen to be one of the dominant art forms over the last century, thanks in large part to the evolution of the technology behind it. With its growth, the film festival has become a ubiquitous phenomenon around the world. Whether seeking money, fame, celebration as an artist, or social impact, scores of filmmakers aspire to the great buzz created by exposure at film festivals. Cheng and Zimmerman survey the history of the film festival for The Muse Dialogue.

Film and the Burden of Success

by Andrew Swensen

Film has come to be one of the dominant art forms of our time, and yet it has to struggle with a problem: success. Our society so indulges in film that it has become a lucrative industry, and what a strange burden that is. Opera, painting, dance, and classical music struggle day in and day out to make it work – yearning for the audiences, the foundation grants, and the philanthropic gifts. Film, on the other hand, is big business — big bucks spent at our local multiplex, on Netflix, for premium channels, and on pay-per-view purchases.

So with all of this money pouring into an art, what could possibly be the problem?

A New Type of Festival and an Integration of Multiple Art Forms: The Case for SXSW

by Marie Zimmerman and Elyssa Jechow

In the 25 years since its inception, SXSW has strengthened its reputation and gained increasing recognition for its unique approach. Despite the challenges and complications of presenting three components, SXSW has established an identity in the growing world of film festivals, especially as “film” has evolved in technology and come to encompass forms of the moving image that have arisen with technological innovation. In the process, SXSW has become a credible voice in multiple art forms, and it continues to thrive.

Further Resources on Film Festivals, in Pittsburgh and Around the World

We encourage all to learn more about the festivals in Pittsburgh and around the world. For more resources, have a look at the links provided by TMD. And as always, we will gladly update our resource lists on an ongoing basis.

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