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Title: Branding Central America for an International market : practitioner networks in the region’s film production
Authors: Fallas Fallas, Luis Fernando
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This dissertation studies Central American Cinema’s (CAC) role in the creation of meaning and belonging in the 24 winners – fiction, documentary, long- and shortformat productions – in the category ‘Best Central American Film’ at the Ícaro Film Festival between 2009 and 2014. This is the first festival to use Central America as its organising logic for validating and distributing films, which in fact bear varying degrees of affiliation to the region. This deployment of CAC is closer to a marketing strategy for targeting global audiences than a useful taxonomy for understanding the region's filmmaking. My methodology uses Actor-Network Theory to track those instances where ‘Central America’ participates in the interactions and translations involved in a movie’s end-toend production process. The resulting map presents each film as a heterogeneous network of affects, hardly bound to notions of the isthmus's territoriality or its cultural imaginaries. Instead, these exchanges perform a field – in the sense that Bourdieu gives this term. Cinema’s production, reproduction and validation within this field rely on cultural and economic capitals of a global and deterritorialized character. In this relational perspective, cinema is thought of as existing on a symbol-commodity continuum since, within this field, films interconnect local, non-territorial, for-profit and non-commercial possibilities. I argue that these motion pictures perform the extraction of value through exoticization, matching Beller’s notion of the cinematic mode of production and its promotion of capitalism. Such actions coexist with sincere intentions of self-representation or militancy with regards to subaltern concerns. However, CAC is a label that obscures the diversity of these films' interactions by imposing the historical, economic and symbolic preconceptions of the isthmus upon them. Such strategy depends on, and nurtures, a revived colonial perspective, reproducing structural/societal inequalities and asymmetries. The main beneficiaries are individuals with easy access to worldwide exchanges and transnational mobility.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Modern Languages

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