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March 2013, Week 3


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Cynthia Miller <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 17 Mar 2013 17:15:30 -0400
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“Market Manners: The Exchanges Between Economies and Cinematic Style”

An area of multiple panels for the 2013 Film & History Conference on 
Making Movie$: The Figure of Money On and Off the Screen
November 20-24, 2013
Madison Concourse Hotel (Madison, WI)
DEADLINE for abstracts: July 1, 2013
AREA: Market Manners: The Exchanges Between Economies and Cinematic Style

How is cinematic style, from the glossy, high-budget set design of Lost Horizon (1937) to the rough, verité technique of The Blair Witch Project (1999)  a direct indicator of market influences? When and how does a film reflect stylistically the market that is creating or consuming it? How, for example, do the successes of mid-twentieth-century exploitation films such as Reefer Madness (1936) or, decades later, the virally-marketed Cloverfield (2008) illustrate the impact of contemporary promotional outlets and strategies? From the studio era to the present day, how do market influences – the box-office popularity of particular stars or subjects, the cost of technology or travel, the relationship between stock-driven economies and filmmaking choices – shape the manner of film? Major studios of the classical era thrived on “star vehicles” that showcased celebrities – Shirley Temple, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, or Clark Gable – whose fame they carefully burnished. How were films built around the celebrity market? Beginning in the 1950s, the rise of television and rock-and-roll yielded movies based on popular performers and programs. Current-events documentaries and docudramas, from Power and the Land (1940) to The Social Network (2010), have been pitched to audiences eager to see breaking news and real-world events dramatized on screen. When does the market for certain kinds of music or fashion or food or custom meaningfully determine a film’s own style? 

This area, comprising multiple panels, welcomes proposals examining the ways in which market factors influence the style of films, and the ways in which promotional strategies, from exploitation to viral media, are employed to address, appeal to, and expand films’ audiences.  Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

* It’s got the look: verité, hand-held, web-cam, and “authenticity” as a marketing tool

* Big at the box office: star-driven films and the culture of celebrity (Shirley Temple, Astaire and Rogers, Elvis, the Beatles)

* Game/toy-to-film adaptations and "pre-sold" juvenile audiences (G. I. Joe, Barbie, Clue, Battleship)

* Fad-based films: exploiting the cultural "flavor of the month" (The Twist, Gleaming the Cube, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, Mazes and Monsters)

* Current-events-driven documentaries (Power and the Land,  Farenheit 9/11, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Supersize Me)

* "Instant" TV-movie docudramas (Long Island Lolita, Victory at Entebbe, Challenger, The Burning Bed)

* Direct-to-video franchising (The Land Before Time, Barbie, Aladdin II: The Return of Jafar)

Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by July 1, 2013 to the area chair:

Tony Osborne, Area Chair
Market Manners: The Exchanges Between Economies and Cinematic Style
Gonzaga University
Email: [log in to unmask]

Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (

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