Negotiating Identities in Catalan and Andalusian Festival Films since the Ley del Cine (2007)

  • Nicola Tomlinson

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis examines how contemporary film festivals and festival films within Andalusia and Catalonia negotiate their collective identities in light of the devolution of industrial powers promoted by the legislation known as the 'Ley del Cine' in 2007. In light of scholarship within Spanish cultural studies that has expounded 'the value of harnessing legal and cultural analysis' (Labanyi 2008: 120), this thesis deploys a combined approach of historical context, legislative manoeuvres and industry responses to analyse the manifestation of these ongoing negotiations through close readings of a corpus of films selected from film festivals held in Andalusia and Catalonia. In both Andalusia and Catalonia, film festivals constitute an area underexplored in scholarship; while studies have been conducted on festivals in other areas of Spain (Triana Toribio 2011), research on film festivals in the two autonomous communities published to date is limited to case studies of single events (Benavente 2004). As such, by drawing upon fieldwork conducted at the Alcances Festival de Cine Documental in Cadiz, the Seville European Film Festival, the Filmets short film festival in Badalona, and the Festival de Cinema D'Autor (D'A) in Barcelona, this thesis aims to contribute a new perspective to this area of study, observing how long-established and newer festivals from the capital and more peripheral urban locations negotiate their position within the local and broader regional geographical and cultural landscape. The thesis presents these events as case studies through which to examine their articulations of the cultural identities of the two autonomous communities. Deploying seminal works in the growing field of film festival research that examine such phenomena as 'city-branding' (Elsaesser 2005: 85) and the reciprocal transmission of 'social value' between events and their venues (Harbord 2002: 39), the thesis finds that these events play important roles as sociocultural nuclei in these communities, serving as focal points through which to debate, decentre and assert understandings of cultural identities, within the context of Spain and the autonomous communities themselves. Within the context of these film festivals, the thesis sets out to observe the configurations of narratives of cultural identity that emerge through the films exhibited and awarded prizes at these events, and thus the contributions that they make to the work of negotiating identities already begun by the events at which they appear. The textual analysis draws upon a wealth of scholarship from the fields of Spanish, Andalusian and Catalan cultural studies, as well as cultural theory, to observe how these films engage with, or depart from, long-standing representations of the two communities and their cultural traditions. In doing so, this thesis is the first investigation to make use of a combined approach of film festival studies and close readings to analyse the complex projections of cultural identities in contemporary Andalusia and Catalonia.
Date of Award31 Dec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorChris Perriam (Supervisor) & Abigail Loxham (Supervisor)


  • legislation
  • short film
  • documentary
  • identity
  • Andalusia
  • film festival
  • Spain
  • Catalonia

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