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Developing World Cinema Audiences

In collaboration with Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle, the Durham-based team of researchers, including Andy Byford, Qing Cao, Anoush Ehteshami, Abir Hamdar, Francisco-J. Hernández Adrián and Dušan Radunović, is developing programmes that deploy World Cinema as a mode and means of confronting and debating some of the critical issues facing the contemporary world.

Our flagship collaborative enterprise in the context of the Open World Research Initiative has been the nine-day festival, What's Left? A Century in Revolution, which took place at the Tyneside Cinema between Friday 29 September and Sunday 8 October 2017. Marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution of 1917, this series of daily screenings and discussions examined the paradoxes of revolutionary cycles across the 20th and 21st centuries: their progressions and regresses, advances and returns to origins. Our focus was especially on the global reach and transnational interrelatedness of these events, moving from Latin America to the Middle East, from China to the former Soviet Union, from North Africa to Europe. While rooted in history, this festival's emphasis was on the significance of revolution today. Pursuing a non-nostalgic, critical approach to the meanings and enactments of revolution, the programme went beyond commemoration. In recognition that revolutionary transformations acquire meaning in and through the lives of ordinary people, the films shown and discussed exemplified, each in their own way, the intimate interlocking of personal and historical time. Emphasis was also placed on the link between moving image and political action. New visual media and technologies are examined as vehicles of revolutionary change, as means for creating a novel aesthetic of political radicalism, and as a fundamentally new lens for both experiencing and making history.

Our collaboration with Tyneside Cinema continued with the four-day festival titled Screening the Nation: Georgia 1918-2018, which took place between the 27 and 30 September 2018. Currated and hosted by Dr Dušan Radunović, the programme threads through the history of Georgia’s national film production from its early-Soviet avant-garde beginnings, via its Golden Age, to the most recent works, showcasing the role that Georgian cinema has played from its inception to the present day as a major public forum for this nation's perennial negotiation of its position between tradition and modernity, freedom and authoritarianism, East and West.

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