International research project for Gender Equity Policy (GEP) Analysis in Screen Industries (2021-2024)

The project „GEP Analysis: Assessing, Understanding, and Modelling the Impact of Gender Equity Policies (GEP) in the Film Industry“ (04/2021–03/2024) aims at redefining how we understand and address gender inequality in the film industries internationally. As part of the joint Open Research Area (ORA) for the Social Sciences programme it is funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Germany; Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), United Kingdom; and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

The GEP Analysis project will focus on the industry norms, structures and practices that constrain gender equality in the screen industries. Using a mixed method, interdisciplinary approach the project will draw on quantitative and qualitative empirical media research, cultural policy studies, communication science and network data science to investigate two core research questions:

1. What are the industry norms, structures and practices that constrain women’s participation in the international screen industries?

2. Which policy levers and interventions can most effectively deliver fundamental shifts in industry norms, structures and practices and improve women’s participation in the global screen industries?

GEP Analysis will specifically work across the social sciences to combine analyses of heterogeneous quantitative data with analyses of the policy and decision-making contexts that shape the political economy of specific national screen production industries. This evidence base will provide the foundation for an analysis of the preconditions as well as the industry programs and public policy/regulatory interventions required to create foundational change.

As a multidisciplinary cooperation under the direction and overall coordination of PI Prof. Dr. Skadi Loist (Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF, Germany), the project combines expertise in different methodological approaches and disciplines as well as extensive empirical knowledge on relevant geographical areas (Canada, Germany and the UK in their international context).  For the first time, qualitative expert interviews and the social relationships of the industry are combined with economic and financial data in the interaction of various subprojects for media research.

The subproject, led by CI Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Prommer (University of Rostock, Germany), is creating a new database that combines data sets on women’s participation in the European, German, British and Canadian screen industries with data from the other subprojects. 

The subproject, led by PI Prof. Dr. Doris R. Eikhof (University of Glasgow, Great Britain) and CI Dr. Amanda Coles (Deakin University, Australia), will provide an overview of existing policy measures, conduct interviews with experts and exchange information with representatives of the industry. 

The subproject, led by PI Prof. Dr. Deb Verhoeven (University of Alberta, Canada), uses the latest big-data and networking methods to model and visualize the complex interrelationships of industry structures.


BMBF-funded project on Circulation (2017-2022)

In August 2017, the project Film Circulation on the International Film Festival Network and the Impact on Global Film Culture for which I act as project leader and primary investigator has started and is currently hosted by the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf. The project is sponsored for 3 years by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the scheme “Small disciplines, high potential”.

“Film Circulation on the International Film Festival Network and the Impact on Global Film Culture” (BMBF 2017-2022)

Since the establishment of the first film festivals in the 1930s, the festival sector has proliferated and diversified into more than 6.000 festivals taking place in every region, size and thematic specialization.  Festivals make films accessible to broader audiences beyond commercial exhibition, serve as networking hub for the film industry and are a significant part of global film culture.  The project “Film Circulation on the International Film Festival Network and the Impact on Global Film Culture” uses the potential of the small discipline Film Studies to investigate the influence of film festivals on global film culture.

The study is based on theoretical models of the film festival network developed in Film Studies and tests them the first time in a broad empirical study and aims to expand these models in dialogue with the industry.  The aim of the project is, first, to create a data set of film circulation within the festival network for about 2,500 films based on the complete program of six major film festivals within one festival season, documenting the run from premiere to the end of its festival life.  Secondly, this data collection forms the basis for the development of a new method for the visualization of the complex temporal and spatial circulation patterns of the films in the festival network: mapping the festival runs.  To this end, approaches from the digital humanities and geo-visualization are activated in order to develop new analytical methods for Film Studies.  Further analysis of this mapping, thirdly, will lead to a nuanced evaluation about how films, depending on parameters such as country of origin, genre, budget circulate within the far-reaching festival network, and how festivals influence the distribution of films in global film culture.

The results of the project will shine a light on the relevance of the festival network for film exhibition.  Instead of investigating film festivals purely from an economical perspective, the Film Studies approach also addresses the aesthetics and creative structures of global film culture.  This opens up new perspectives on the circulation of films, which are relevant to the discipline as well as the film and festival industry.  The project thus contributes to the understanding of global film culture, for instance, by analyzing how genres and topics, aesthetic innovation and filmmaker successes are influenced by festivals.  These results take up current discussions on globalization and changing media technologies within Film Studies and beyond the borders of the academy will also provide new impulses for the industry.



International Screen Industries Consortium (ISICon)

In December 2016, Deb Verhoeven (kinomatics) and I established an international network of screen industry researchers and organisations to analyse the relative position of women in film industries across the globe.

ISICon has three major objectives:

  1. To enable researchers to undertake meaningful comparative studies of different screen industry jurisdictions (or territories)
  2. To assess the impact of different policy mechanisms across those jurisdictions and to establish an international evidence base for policymakers looking to improve equity in screen industries
  3. To apply new digital research techniques such as Social Network Analysis to understand how different jurisdictions overlap and to assess the impact of gendered creative networks on the screen industries at international scale

The network comprises of individual and organisational members from eleven film industries (with more to follow) covering the vast majority of screen production centres around the world. Currently included are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Romania, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States.

This international network brings together existing studies on local and regional data for the first time and tackles methodological challenges for assessing local differences and global similarities in data-driven studies.


Special Issue “Queer/ing Film Festivals” (2018)

Together with Leanne Dawson (University of Edinburgh) I edited the special issue on “Queer/ing Film Festivals” as part of a series exploring Queer European Cinema, past and present for the peer-reviewed journal Studies in European Cinema published in 2018.


Mapping Queer Film Festival History

For my PhD project on LGBTI*Q film festivals I created a map of LGBTI*Q film festivals globally (see below).  In the last 3 years since the update, many new festivals have come into existence and several colleagues have shared information on older (now extinct) festivals.  The updated version [9 Feb 2018] can be accessed here:

This updated map lists the LGBTI*Q film festivals that have existed since 1977. Here, 392 individual festivals screening in 407 locations are listed that have come to my knowledge.

The list is structured in chronological order by founding year (and alphabetically within each year). Furthermore it is subdivided by decades: 1) 1980s (1977-1989) in blue, 2) 1990s (1990-1999) in green, 3) 2000s (2000-2009) in yellow, 4) 2010s (2010-2018) in purple.

Festivals which have been active within the last 12 months of this update (9 Feb 2018) are marked by a pin with a dot, festivals which ceased to exist are marked by an empty pin and with the first and last year of existence.

As the list has reached a length that makes it hard to scroll down, I encourage you to use the search bar to look for a specific festival name or location.

If you know of an LGBTI*Q film festival not listed here, please get in touch with details.

This map lists 326 LGBT/Q film festivals in 346 locations operating globally since 1977, many are now extinct (pin with a dot=existing festival, empty pin=terminated fest).
The historical development of the LGBT/Q film festival circuit is represented by color-coding, each color indicates a specific period. I follow the 4 phases proposed in Ragan Rhyne’s PhD thesis “Pink Dollars: Gay and Lesbian Film Festivals and the Economy of Visibility“ (2007). 1st phase (BLUE: 1977–1990): these festivals were established; 2nd phase (GREEN: 1991–1996): marked by building relationships between festivals and the commercial industry; 3rd phase (YELLOW: 1996–2001): the gay and lesbian film festival model proliferated globally; 4th (RED: 2001–2006): major sponsorship links to television developed (Rhyne: 4-5). The current, final phase (VIOLET: 2007–2015) is largely characterized by differentiation and network building. [18/9/2014]

When looking for a specific festival or city, use the search button. The festivals are not listed alphabetically but by their founding year.


Film Circulation: TEDDY Film Study

Together with sociologist Ann Vogel (HU Berlin) I am conducting a survey-based study with the aim to map queer film circulation through the international film festival circuit.  Based on a large sample of films that screened at the Berlinale (2001-2014)  and were listed as eligible for the TEDDY Award, we are asking the filmmakers, producers, sales agents and distributors to provide information about the festival and theatrical run of their films after the Berlinale screening.  On the basis of the incoming data, we will investigate the relationship between films, prizes, film festivals, the circuit, and commercial exploitation.


EWA Study “Where are the Women Directors in European Film?”

The European Women’s Audiovisual Network (EWA) released the report “Where are the women directors in European films? Gender equality report on female directors (2006-2013) with best practice and policy recommendations“, which is the result of a two-year study and statistics-gathering exercise in seven countries: Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, UK. EWA’s data has been gathered through two sources: a comprehensive survey of national contexts and statistics provided by the seven research teams, and a questionnaire distributed through national professional organisations to almost 900 professionals, male and female, working in and associated with the European film industry. The results have been analysed with the assistance of experts from Sheffield Hallam and Rostock Universities. Findings have been discussed at a series of meetings held during the research period.

Together with Elizabeth Prommer I have written the National report on Germany.

This comparative pan-European study has been written and led by Holly Aylett (Birkbeck College, University of London) under the Project Direction of Francine Raveney (EWA Head of PR). Whilst the study was organised and managed by the European Women’s Audiovisual (EWA) Network it was carried out with the support and collaboration of many institutions, including: the Austrian Film Institute, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, CNC (France), the University of Rostock, Birkbeck College (University of London), Centre d’histoire culturelle des societies contemporaines (CHCSC – Université de Versailles/Université Paris-Saclay), Direzione Generale Cinema/MIBACT (Italy), Swedish Film Institute, Creative Skillset (UK) and the Centre for Regional, Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University and the British Film Institute.



Film Festivals: History, Theory, Method, Practice

Together with Marijke De Valck and Brendan Kredell I have been working on a textbook on film festival studies Film Festivals: History, Theory, Method, Practice, which features 12 original essays by key authors in the field.  It is has been published with Routledge in March 2016.


Who Directs German Feature Films? Gender Report: 2009–2013

Only every fifth feature film (22%) between 2009 and 2013 has been directed by a woman. These films obviously impress with their high standard of artistic quality as films by women receive film awards at a higher rate and have a more successful festival run. This success is remarkable considering that on top of the underrepresentation of women in film production their films usually have to be realized with smaller budgets. These are the results of the study “Who Directs German Feature Films? Gender Report: 2009–2013” (Feb. 2015) by the Institute for Media Research at the University of Rostock led by Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Prommer and Skadi Loist.

The full report can be downloaded here.


Queer Film Culture: Queer Cinema and Film Festivals

Conferene taking place 14-15 October 2014 at the University of Hamburg in conjunction with the 25th Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage Hamburg | International Queer Film Festival (14-19 October 2014).

The conference was metioned and reviewed in a few high-profile publications:

  • B. Ruby Rich’s keynote lecture “Publics and Privates: Revisiting the New Queer Cinema” has been translated into German and published online by Spiegel Online as “Queeres Kino: Einsam durch Netflix?“.
  • Jan Künemund wrote about the second day of the conference and the discussions of recent trends in Queer Cinema taking place there in “Queer, entzaubert” for SISSY: Magazin für den nicht-heterosexuellen Film #24 (2014): 32-33. [Online PDF here]
  • Katharina Lindner (University of Stirling) wrote an excellent review of the full conference for the academic journal Transnational Cinemas.