[Filmfestivalresearch] Roundtable "On Greening Film Festivals" via Zoom 2-4:00 PM EST, January 13, 2022 (reformatted)
ger.zielinski at ryerson.ca
Sun Nov 14 19:47:46 CET 2021
(Sorry, apparently the formatting went askew in the last email, so here is
another try and improved!)
On Greening Film Festivals: A Roundtable on the Environmental Impact of
Film Festivals and Their Future Design and Operation. 7th Film Festival
at 2-4:00 PM EST [Toronto], Thursday, January 13, 2022.
Organized by Dr. Marijke de Valck (Utrecht) and Dr. Ger Zielinski (Toronto).
Free registration available via Webinar at
hosted by The Creative School Catalyst, Toronto, Canada
Now in the shadow of COP26 (UN Climate Change Conference) and as the global
pandemic recedes, it is time to consider the future shapes and flows of
film festivals in relation to the reduction of their environmental impact.
This roundtable brings together several film festival organizers and
scholars not only to compare notes on the general impact of festivals on
the environment and the important initiatives that have taken place at the
Locarno Film Festival (Switzerland) and San Sebastián International Film
Festival (Basque Country, Spain), but also to anticipate future directions
for festivals, among other types of events. around the world as the effects
of climate change become more pressing and cultural policies begin to
require corrective action.
Any event demands an investment in and exchange with its material
environment. Film festivals are no different, for example, they require the
transportation of their guests. The more important or prestigious the
festival, the more air travel is taken for granted, but this creates a
significant carbon footprint – How might such travel be mitigated without
denting the festival’s identity? Similarly, other aspects of the material
festival as an event are also important, such as the recycling of ephemera,
electric lighting, heating, cooling, and so forth. Furthermore, the nascent
subfield of environmental media studies aims to create new methodological
and theoretical frameworks for the study of the material environmental
consequences of media of all sorts – How ought energy sources themselves be
taken into account when considering online video streaming or internet
cloud storage? Energy sources range from, e.g., coal to nuclear to wind,
yet each has a very different impact on the environment. As post-pandemic
film festivals continue to explore online delivery, this question becomes
The Locarno and San Sebastián festivals are quickly becoming models for
others to consider and adapt to their own situations. The roundtable
participants will contribute their knowledge and expertise to help inform
and shape the film festivals to come.
Short biographies of participants (in alphabetical order):
Laura U. Marks works on media art and philosophy. She led the research
group Tackling the Carbon Footprint of Streaming Media and is founder of
the Small File Media Festival, www.smallfile.ca. Marks teaches in the
School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.
Fabienne Merlet is Head of Communication and Marketing at the Locarno Film
Festival. After graduating in Applied Languages and Translation, she now
attends a part-time Executive Master in Corporate Communication at
Rotterdam School of Management. She led the conception of the festival’s
first sustainability report in 2021.
Amaia Serrulla holds a BA in Audiovisual Communication from the University
Pompeu Frabra, Barcelona. She has worked at the San Sebastián International
Film Festival since 2011 and is currently Head of the Documentation and
Films Department. For six years she was a member of the Selection Committee
at Festival and since January 2020 she has been Head of the Thought and
Discussion area, where, among other projects, the project focused on the
transition towards sustainability of the festival has been developed.
Marijke de Valck is Associate Professor of Film and Media studies at
Utrecht University. Her research deals with transnational media cultures,
media industries and art cinema. She co-founded the Film Festival Research
Network, co-edits the festivals review section in NECSUS, and has published
widely on the topic of film festivals.
Ger Zielinski is principal investigator of the SSHRC research project
“Buffering Online and Off” on video streaming culture, festivals, and their
environmental consequences and is co-founder of the SCMS Film and Media
Festivals Scholarly Interest Group. He lectures in the School of
Professional Communication at X (Ryerson) University in Toronto.
Contact: ger.zielinski at ryerson.ca
Acknowledgement of the generous support from the School of Professional
Communication and The Creative School Catalyst, Social Sciences and
Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), The Film Festival Research
Seminar, and the Toronto Film Festivals Research Group.
Ger Zielinski, MA, MFA, PhD (he/him)
Professional Communication, Ryerson University*
350 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3 Canada (by post)
RCC 325A, Rogers Communications Centre, 80 Gould Street (by courier/office)
Principal Investigator, SSHRC Insight Development Grant "Buffering Online
"IN-SYNC OR NOT: Reflections on the Proliferation of Online Film Festivals
during the COVID-19 Global Pandemic" (2020, ZfM)
**In August 2021, the university announced that it would begin a renaming
process to reconcile the legacy of Egerton Ryerson for a more inclusive
We acknowledge that Toronto is in the 'Dish With One Spoon Territory’. The
Dish With One Spoon is a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and
Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land.
Subsequent Indigenous Nations and peoples, Europeans and all newcomers have
been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship and
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