All posts by Denis Condon

New HoMER Podcast Series: Episode 1

The HoMER podcast is an opportunity for HoMERites to hear from members of the research group about their current research, their experiences of cinemagoing and all matters regarding exhibition and reception. Each month, there will be new interviews with HoMERites from around the world discussing their work.

In episode 1, Pete Turner has conversations with three members of HoMER. Anna Blagrove explains her experiences working with young film programmers through her organisation Reel Connections, Sam Manning tells us about getting back into cinemas after lockdown, and Kate van der Ven discusses the effects that the pandemic has had on screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival.

HoMER Webinar: “Is the Film Projector in the Right Place?” Back Projection as a Regular Practice in Brazilian Movie Theatres of the Silent Era’

The next HoMER webinar will take place on Monday 5 October, 5pm (UK time). Our speaker will be Rafael de Luna Freire (Federal Fluminense University), who will present on ‘”Is the film projector in the right place?” Back projection as a regular practice in Brazilian movie theatres of the silent era’.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting via Zoom.
The speaker will present a 20-minute paper, followed by discussion and Q&A.
Abstract
There are two basic kinds of film projection. In the case of the classic “cinema situation”, a projector is located at the back of the audience while it projects a film to a reflexive screen in front of the spectators. However, in a different situation, a projector located behind the screen can also project a film to a translucent screen for an audience in the opposite side.
In the US, the back projection – also called “rear-projection” or “background projection” – is a practice considered by film historians only as a now obsolete special effect. However, this presentation will focus on the widespread use of back projection in Brazilian movie theaters for regular film screenings during the silent period. Showing evidence of the use of this system of projection in many movie theaters from different cities of Brazil in the 1910s and 1920s, we will discuss its origins and consequences.
Evidently, we can trace the practice of rear-projection back into the phantasmagoria presentations of late 18th century, for example. Nevertheless, why in Brazil did this system of projection became so widespread, even if film historians, until very recently, have never acknowledged this practice? If in France the “projection par transparence” was a regular practice, our hypotheses is that the influence from French film culture at that time is what explains its adoption in Brazil. However, what were the specific conditions of Brazilian film culture that motivated back projection to become such a common practice in this particular national context? Was it a question of safety? Was it a result of the typical urban organization of lots in Brazilian cities? Finally, what were the consequences of its wide adoption? What changes in the film spectacle may have resulted from the need for a constant (therefore wet) translucent screen? This presentation intends to answer some of these questions.

HoMER Webinar: Memories as Transnational Practices: Interviewing Latin American Women about Cinema-Going during a Pandemic

The next HoMER webinar will take place on Monday 14 September, 5pm (UK time). Our speaker will be Dalila Missero (Oxford Brookes University), who will present on ‘Memories as transnational practices: interviewing Latin American women about cinema-going during a pandemic’
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting via Zoom.
The speaker will present a 20-minute paper, followed by discussion and Q&A.
 

Abstract

Is it ethical to conduct interviews about leisure and cinema-going during a lock-down? Are there any benefits in switching to on-line and remote interviewing?

In this paper I will reflect on the challenges of conducting qualitative audience research during the COVD-19 pandemic. The topic will be framed in the context of my on-going project “Investigating Cinema Memories and Transnational Practices: A Qualitative Study with Female Latin-American Audiences in Barcelona and Milan”, which is based on a series of in-depth interviews to Latin-American women, focusing on their memories and practices of cinema-going and media consumption, both in the country of origin and the current place of residence. Between April and June 2020 I’ve conducted 14 remote in-depth interviews, while my field-work in Milan and Barcelona has been postponed. The impossibility to establish in-person relationships and being on site has significantly challenged my methodology as well as the angle of my analysis, encouraging a more intimate and analytical approach. By adopting a feminist stand-point, which engages with reflexivity and valorizes women’s experiences as “situated knowledges” (Haraway, 1988), the project now focuses primarily on the exploration of memories as transnational practices, namely as border-crossing experiences. Following Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson’s notion of border-crossing as “knowledge production” (2013), I am testing the potential of the memories of leisure and cinema-going for the everyday negotiation of borders and distance.

Bio

Dalila Missero is a Research Fellow at the School of Arts, at Oxford Brookes University, where she is working on a project on Latin-American women’s media memories. She has received her PhD in Visual, Performing and Media Arts at the University of Bologna and has published essays on gender, sexuality and cinema in the Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies, Feminist Media Histories, About Gender, and The Italianist. In parallel with her new project, she is also completing her first monograph “Italian Women and Cinema: The Making of a Feminist Film Culture” for Edinburgh University Press.

HoMER Webinar: Cinema-Going and the 1918 Flu Pandemic

This panel brings together three historians whose research looks at the impact of the 1918 flu pandemic on cinema-going habits and the operation of cinemas in different national contexts. They will consider the response of cinema exhibitors, how the pandemic was reported in the trade press and the ways that audiences adapted to this crisis.

Each panellist will give a short presentation followed by a discussion and Q&A session. The three panellists are:

Denis Condon (Maynooth University)
Jessica Whitehead (University of Toronto)
Lawrence Napper (King’s College London)

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting via Zoom.

HoMER Webinar

Date: Monday 3 August, 5pm (UK time)

Speaker: Lior Tibet (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Title: The Irish Film Society and German cinema, 1936-1945

Please use the following link to register for this event:

https://durhamuniversity.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMvfuirrT4jH9d5TaGTkE93UtKyALPndZCo

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Abstract: This paper will look at the Irish Film Society as a case study for the complexity of international reception of German Cinema during the years 1936-1945. During the 1930s, the culturally conservative government of the young Irish state was reluctant to support local film productions and cinema culture. Founded in 1936, the Irish Film Society (IFS) wanted to counter this policy and develop the local film industry, by acquainting its members with artistical and educational films from all over the world, and promoting local film studies. Looking at the screenings and reception of German films in the IFS from 1936-45 will help highlight the importance of cinema as a cultural bridge in a time of war.

In order to reach a better understanding of Irish reception of the German cinema, this paper first reviews the situation of the Irish film industry in the 1930s. It then examines events held by the Irish Film Society during 1936-1945, relying on programmes issued by the IFS to its members correspondence and publications in Irish newspapers on German cinema. Finally, my paper focuses on one of the co-founders of the IFS, Liam O’Laoghaire, and his writing on German cinema in his book Invitation to the Film (1945). By doing so, this paper highlights the importance of local, non-governmental organizations in the reception and influence of German cinema on national cultures outside of Germany.

Upcoming Events

Date: Monday 14 September
Speaker: Dalila Missero (Oxford Brookes University)
Title: Memories as Transnational Practices: Interviewing Latin American Women About Cinema-Going During a Pandemic

Date: Monday 5 October
Speaker: Rafael de Luna Freire (Federal Fluminense University)
Title: Is the Film Projector in the Right Place? Back Projection as a Regular Practice in Brazilian Movie Theatres of the Silent era.

Date: Monday 2 November
Speaker: Maria Velez Serna
Title: Programming the Virtual Community Cinema

Date: Monday 7 December
Speaker: Jessica Whitehead
Title: Comparative Histories of Cinema Audiences

HoMER Webinar

Speaker: Paul Moore (Ryerson University)

Title: ‘When did “Starts Friday!” start? The shift to standardized movie opening days in North America’.

Time: Monday 6 July, 5pm (UK time)

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting via Zoom.

The speaker will present a 20-minute paper, followed by discussion and Q&A.

Abstract

All contemporary moviegoers know movies start Fridays, including at least forty years of my own personal experience. But when, why and how did this shift to a standardized, national opening begin? In May 1973, Variety reported Fox was “trying to line up other majors to go along with a proposed shift from Wednesday to Friday openings.” Was this a catalyst? Was the shift regional? Gradual? First only for wide-release blockbusters? Did some studios or chains or exchange territories test alternatives? Why was Friday chosen, and what factor was behind the industry-wide adoption of “Starts Friday!” as a tagline for almost all films “in theatres everywhere!” My answers turn to newspaper databases, combined with trade discourse in Variety and other available sources (for these quarantined times!) I will present at least one early case study of a metropolitan region, of a wide release on a continental scale, and word search hits for publicity catch phrases. This surprisingly simple question, “When did Starts Friday start?” has no quick and easy answer, and yet it holds the foundation for any investigation of American movie marketing and distribution and a cornerstone shaping the experience of blockbusters as part of weekends and mass leisure.

 Bio

Paul Moore (psmoore@ryerson.ca) is Professor of Communication and Culture at Ryerson University. His media histories of cinema exhibition and newspaper distribution in North America have focused on the relation between audiences and publicity, appearing in Film History, Canadian Journal of Film Studies, and  The Moving Image. Recent work maps early transnational “circuits of cinema,” also theme of the 2017 International HoMER Conference, which he hosted in Toronto.

HoMER 2020 Postponed

With great sadness, the HoMER 2020 organizing committee has decided to postpone this year’s conference. This decision is made in the light of increasing restrictions to international travel and the closing of educational institutions in Ireland in response to the COVID-19 crisis. We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused. We hope to run the conference next year in Maynooth but will be in touch again soon when we have had a chance to make more detailed plans.
In the meantime, we wish all the best to our colleagues, their friends and families and hope that you come through this crisis safely.

Registration Open for HoMER 2020: Integrating Traditions, 25-27 May 2020, Maynooth University, Ireland

Registration is now open for the HoMER Network’s 2020 conference, which will take place at Maynooth University, Co. Kildare, Ireland on 25-27 May 2020.

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Shelley Stamp (Film + Digital Media, University of California, Santa Cruz)

Professor Joao Luiz Vieira (Cinema and Audiovisual Studies, Universidade Federal Fluminese, Niterói) 

At HoMER 2019 in Nassau, the conference explored ways of developing a more theoretical and methodological grounding for New Cinema History research. Since emerging as a vibrant field of research in the early 2000s, New Cinema History has sought to distinguish itself from Film History by ‘shift[ing] its focus away from the content of films’, in order to examine cinema as a ‘site of social and cultural exchange’ (Maltby 2011: 3). However, in recent years there have been calls to reconsider the significance of the film itself within New Cinema History research. For the Homer 2020 conference INTEGRATING TRADITIONS, we would like to continue answering that call: as cinema historians, we have traditionally drawn on frameworks and methodologies found in fields such as Social Geography, Economics, and Psychology, but how do we integrate these approaches with those of Film History and Film Studies more broadly? Furthermore, in order to become ‘methodologically more mature’ as a discipline, we must also reflect on how we approach comparative research as an essential part of our studies (Biltereyst and Meers 2016: 25). Several empirical research projects have already used these methods within New Cinema History, comparing the cinema-going experience across cultural and geographical contexts; however, still lacking is the integration of productive methodologies from Film Studies.

The aim of HoMER 2020 is to investigate how the traditional approaches of Film Studies  – as well as those disciplines that have shaped NCH to date – can be productively integrated.