CFP: Contemporary Film Form and Criticism

The deadline for this is rapidly approaching - and it's not the most convenient scheduling for American scholars - but it looks like a great conference.

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Continuity and Innovation:
Contemporary Film Form and Film Criticism


University of Reading Film Conference
5th – 7th September 2008

Contemporary film displays both its debt to the established forms and practices of narrative cinema, and to international developments in aesthetic practice and in new technologies that subtly shift the boundaries of cinema’s aural and visual field.

At the same time, contemporary film criticism negotiates a shifting relationship with its own histories and present – its histories of textual analysis and film theory, and its present landscape of concerns with identity, new delivery and reception contexts, digital remediation, and so on, explored against the backdrop of a volatile socio-historical moment.

This conference seeks to consider the critical challenges contemporary film form poses for us as film critics and theorists, in an approach rooted in the detail of the film text itself. In addition, the conference wishes to reflect and engage with the diversity of contemporary aesthetic choices and filmmaking practices. On the one hand, the conference will explore the continuities and innovations in contemporary film style, to move towards an account of contemporary cinema’s aesthetic practice and the ways in which these formal elements shape the production of meaning. On the other hand, the conference will provide an important opportunity to explore and extend the continuities and innovations possible in contemporary film criticism.

Keynote speakers include Douglas Pye and Adrian Martin. In addition, film practitioners will be discussing their work.

We invite papers that attempt to meet these interpretative, analytical and critical challenges through direct engagement with contemporary films. In addition to the familiar pattern of panel discussions and plenaries, the conference will include workshops in which speakers will present frameworks for analysis of the detail of a movie, as an introduction to discussion. Titles of films to be discussed at the conference will be circulated in advance.

Proposals for three kinds of presentation are invited:

• Close readings grounded in detailed analysis (20 minute papers).
• Discussion of historical, theoretical or critical issues related to the interpretation of contemporary film style (20 minute papers).
• Workshop introductions, designed to open up issues about a sequence (or sequences), as a prelude to extended debate (workshops will last 90 minutes).

The deadline for proposals is 1st April 2008. Please send your 200-word proposal and brief biography by email to filmconference_at_reading.ac.uk. Enquiries should be directed to the conference organisers Lisa Purse and John Gibbs at the same email address.

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