Sites of Initiation: Film Training Programs at Film Festivals

  • Marijke de Valck
Part of the Global Cinema book series (GLOBALCINE)


The movie business is a fast-moving world, in which new technologies can turn existing practices upside down and where everybody is looking for ways to “make it.” It is an extraordinary business that defies regular approaches to education and career development. It seems, then, that the education of the filmmaker does not stop once training in a well-established film school has been completed. Instead the initiation of young talent into key practices merely begins at this point, as does the major process of sifting out the lucky few, who succeed, from those who will continue to struggle throughout their professional careers. In this chapter I will look at the role film festivals play in the development of emerging filmmakers. My focus will be on the European continent. At the start of the new millennium, a series of training initiatives developed by European film festivals quickly gained popularity and acquired significant influence in the industry. Dieter Kosslick, director of the Berlin International Film Festival, took the tenth anniversary of the hugely successful Berlinale Talent Campus as an occasion to reflect back on the ambitious undertaking in question:

When we prepared the first edition of the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2003 this idea sounded wonderful, desirable and forward-looking on the one hand—and totally crazy on the other. How could the complex system of one of the world’s leading film festivals stand another 350 accredited guests, and how would all this be financed? Today, as we celebrate the 10th edition, we can easily say: The Berlinale Talent Campus is one of the best things that has ever happened to the Berlinale! The Festival and the Campus interact efficiently on many levels. While the Talents profit from the input of distinguished Berlinale guests, the Festival itself is refreshed by mingling in young filmmakers from all over the world.1


Training Program Talent Development Training Initiative Training Ground Generation Campus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    For an elaborated overview of the rise of coproduction markets, see Marijke de Valck, “Filmfestivals, coproductiemarkten en de internationale kunstcinema: het CineMart model van matchmaker onder de loep,” Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis 13.2 (2010): 144–156.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Read more on this topic in Julian Stringer, “Global Cities and International Film Festival Economy,” Cinema and the City: Film and Urban Societies in a Global Context, ed. Mark Shiel, and Tony Fitzmaurice (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 2001), 134–144;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. and Marijke de Valck, “Berlin and the Spatial Reconfiguration of Film Festivals,” in Film Festivals: From European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2007), 45–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 9.
    Berlinale Talent Campus, “General information,” 4 April 2012, (accessed May 9, 2012).Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    TorinoFilmLab, “About us,” (accessed May 9, 2012).Google Scholar
  6. 13.
    TorinoFilmLab, “Disclaimer,” (accessed May 14, 2012).Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    FEST 2012, “History,” 1527&lang=en (accessed May 9, 2012).Google Scholar
  8. 26.
    International Student Film Organization, “Members area,” (accessedMay 10, 2012).Google Scholar
  9. 27.
    Binger FilmLab, “Industry,” (accessed May 10, 2012).Google Scholar
  10. 28.
    Thomas Elsaesser, “Film Festival Networks: The New Topographies of Cinema in Europe,” in European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005), 96.Google Scholar
  11. 29.
    Julian Stringer, “Raiding the Archive: Film Festivals and the Revival of Classic Hollywood,” in Memory and Popular Film, ed. Paul Grainge (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003), 81–96.Google Scholar
  12. 30.
    For an elaborated version of this argument see Marijke de Valck, “De rol van filmfestivals in het YouTube-tijdperk,” Boekman 83 (2010): 54–60.Google Scholar
  13. 45.
    For a similar argument concerning the influence of festival funds on Latin American cinema see Tamara Falicov, “Migrating from South to North: The Role of Film Festivals in Funding and Shaping Global South Film and Video,” in Locating Migrating Media, ed. Greg Elmer et al. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010), 3–21, 25.Google Scholar
  14. Also see Miriam Ross, “The Film Festival as Producer: Latin American Films and Rotterdam’s Hubert Bals Fund,” Screen 52.2 (2011): 261–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 46.
    Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (New York, NY: Routledge, 1994), 36.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Mette Hjort 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marijke de Valck

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations