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NECS post-mortem: Concordia’s fine showing in Milano

Concordia’s faculty and graduate student communities were well represented at NECS’ “Creative Energies / Creative Industries” conference in Milan last week. At least 8 current and former members of the MHSOC presented on topics as wide in range as the conference itself: from screens in city streets to those in museums and galleries; the inner work of performers in films to the inner workings of film festivals; to the gendering of nations and individuals on both sides of the camera.

NECS provided a welcome opportunity to catch up with Rossana Domizi, who visited Concordia from Università di Roma Tre during the fall 2013 semester, and whose paper on the shifting interaction of urban screens and urban representations was potentially the first of the entire conference.

Film festivals were definitely the hottest topics among Concordians this year, with professor Rosanna Maule, and graduate students Giampaolo Marzi and Antoine Damiens all proposing distinct methodologies for understanding the ever-evolving circuits of film distribution, festival operation, and audience participation. Giampaolo took on the additional challenge of simultaneously running the annual MIX Milan festival whilst participating at NECS, with Antoine attending panels by day and introducing festival screenings by night. MIX Milan represented Antoine’s second of three film festival jobs this summer, having recently volunteered at Cannes and en route to Lyon’s queer film festival, Ecrans Mixtes.

Giampaolo and Antoine were joined on the all-Concordia panel by fellow graduate students Yuriy Zikratyy and Fulvia Massimi, whose respective papers on Jack Smith and Xavier Dolan presented a compelling counterpoint to the ways in which filmmakers can become both limited and aggrandized by their festival and other live appearances. Professor Tom Waugh made a surprise appearance to this panel, in support of his four protégées.

On separate panels, graduate students Dan Leberg and Beatriz Bartolomé Herrera challenged the ways in which cinema can be studied by considering, respectively, meaning making from the screen actor outwards, and the relocation and subsequent reconfiguration of blockbuster films in artistic venues beyond the movie theatre. Despite their differences, both papers generated lively discussions on the pedagogical interaction of scientific and humanistic knowledge, and the possibilities and limitations of theoretical versus “real” spectatorship. Dan chaired a panel on film acting, which managed to not only hold a respectable audience despite the overwhelming heat of a fourth floor classroom in the late afternoon, but also initiated promising discussions on creating a joint Concordia-Amsterdam-York acting panel for SCMS 2015.

Other NECS highlights included the keynote presentation by Jason Mittell on “complex television”, the wonderfully-catered closing reception in a park-side estate in downtown Milan, Antoine’s ongoing battle with host Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore’s wifi service, Dan getting over his jetlag, and attending a public screening of an ill-fated Italian World Cup match in the Piazza Castello.

Stay tuned for more pictures as they become available!

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