Producing the other in international film festivals: festival fund, address and the making of authenticity in Gabriel Mascaro’s Neon Bull

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter addresses the influence of film festival funding on the making of world cinema, specifically in a context in which the cinematic portrayal of authentic cultures is a relevant feature “inherent to festivals’ formula for success” (De Valck, Screening World Cinema at Film Festivals: Festivalisation and (Stages) Authenticity. In R. Stone, P. Cook, S. Dennison, & A. Marlow-Mann (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to World Cinema (p. 394). London: Routledge, 2018). For analytical purposes, particular attention is given to a recent production set in Brazil: Gabriel Mascaro’s Neon Bull (Boi Neon 2015), which was a recipient of the Hubert Bals Fund (HBF). The HBF, a scheme set up by the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), offers emergent and independent filmmakers from countries of the global South help to develop, produce and post-produce their projects. Evoking theories related to mode of address, authenticity and academic debates on film festival funding, the chapter investigates to what extent the expectations placed on Neon Bull’s filmmaker by the HBF influenced the conception of the film. The first part analyses the terms and conditions that guide the HBF and how these are structured to prioritize works that address Western festival audiences interested in the allure of cultural difference. The second part, through a film analysis, reconstructs how creative choices were mobilized in Neon Bull to both dialogue and deconstruct narratively and aesthetically ideas related to authenticity and cultural uniqueness. The argument developed suggests that, while the rhetoric of authenticity has a central role to play in the regimes of representation welcomed by international film festivals, Neon Bull’s filmmaker negotiated such claims by addressing representations of otherness as a space in which to rearticulate and update ideas of cultural difference.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave handbook of screen production
Editors Craig Batty, Marsha Berry, Kath Dooley, Bettina Frankham, Susan Kerrigan
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783030217440
ISBN (Print)9783030217433, 9783030217464
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


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