Georgia Aitaki works as a Lecturer at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Gothenburg. Her doctoral dissertation 'The Private Life of a Nation in Crisis: The Politics in/of Greek Television Fiction' (University of Gothenburg, 2018) addressed the role of television fiction in representing and shaping moments of heightened societal tension that take place throughout the life of a nation, while registering the ways these moments reflect back on identity questions. Parts of this work have been published in Media, Culture and Society, Social Semiotics, and Critical Studies in Television. Her current research interests revolve around the intersection of politics and popular culture, the production culture of commercial television, as well as the study of television revivals.
It is always a melancholic moment when a TV series concludes its cycle, when the finale is aired and the viewers realize that it is time for them and the favourite characters to go separate ways. Although reruns provide an opportunity for fictional worlds to return and for viewers to become immersed in them again, it’s foregone that the end is definitive. After all, closure is an important part of real-life experience and narrative closure is (often) an organic component of stand-alone or serialized fictions. In that sense, television revivals, i.e. new episodes of TV series that have seemingly concluded their onscreen journey, constitute an almost miraculous spectacle, a Lazarian-style return from the dead that defies the usual order of things and spreads joy to (television) believers. ... More
For three years in a row I have followed the International Film Festival of the city of Gothenburg and each year I am impressed by the warmness in which residents and visitors of the city embrace the largest film festival of the Nordic region. GIFF maintains its recognition as a “winter classic”; an event which rejuvenates the city in the midst of a freezing and dark period and infuses the gloominess of the West coast of Sweden with luminous images from all over the world. This year’s festival welcomed 450 films from 84 countries which were shown at 1031 screenings in 30 theatres around the city; this brief reports aims at covering the event’s main highlights with a particular interest in the festival’s focus, award winners, and honorary guests.
The 39th Göteborg International Film Festival featured a dual focus on countries with different, yet significant contributiong to the global film industry. On the one hand, Italy was honored as a film country with an established contribution to global cinema. On the other hand, the festival turned the spotlight on Nigeria, as the second-largest film industry in the world (following India), with a yet undiscovered value of cinematic stories in direct correspondence with societal developments. Both Italian and Nigerian films enjoyed a number of sold-out screenings, as well as parallel events and activities which enriched visitors’ knowledge about the context of filmmaking in each country, as well as the sources of inspiration for the production of cinematic stories. ... More
During the 38th Göteborg International Film Festival, which took place in the second largest city of Sweden between 23 January and 2 February 2015, we saw things that one does not see every day. This blog post is a brief report from the leading film festival in the Nordic countries: The first section is dedicated to some of this year’s highlights, whereas the sections that follow focus on more specific aspects of the event, including the special focus on European Cinema, the presence of films from Greece and films related to Greece, as well a mention of this year’s award winners.
The Festival’s highlights
One of this year’s festival’s highlights undoubtedly was the presence of legendary Swedish filmmaker and actress Liv Ullmann. Ullmann attended this year’s event and received the Nordic Honorary Dragon Award, while she also held a Master Class where she discussed her relationship with the art of filmmaking and her 2014 film Miss Julie. ... More
(Writer’s note: The following text is a general description of a PhD project in progress at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication of the University of Gothenburg. I would like to take this opportunity to invite thoughts, comments and suggestions for literature and/or audiovisual material which the project could benefit from. What is more, it would be highly appreciated if this project could be communicated to people from the Greek television industry who would be interested in contributing in the form of interviews with the researcher. For more information about the project or for feedback, suggestions, etc., I can be contacted by email: email@example.com)
In December 2012, during one of the most difficult seasons for Greek television fiction, a public discussion took place with the title “The magnificent absence of television fiction from Greek television” organized by the Scriptwriters Guild of Greece (1). Indeed, the seasons 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 marked a record low for the production of domestic fiction, both in terms of public and private broadcasting. Up until then, and especially after the deregulation of broadcasting in 1989, fictional programmes held a very prestigious position within the programming strategies of the channels and were mostly shown during the prime-time slots. However, when the economic crisis hit Greece, fictional programmes were framed as one of the greatest victims since the channels had to cut down on costs, and fiction has always been an expensive programme to make. Hence, during the above discussion, people from the industry talked about the dangers of having a media landscape without fictional programmes, the importance of fiction for the audience’s social imagination, the function of fiction as a provider of guidelines for everyday life and the value of fiction as a cultural product associated with national culture. ... More
There are many ways that an individual can experience a film festival. The following lines document my experience from the 37th Göteborg International Film Festival (24 January – 3 February 2014) as a new follower and new resident of the city. Instead of an exhaustive report on the participants, the awards and the surrounding activities, I chose to focus on some aspects of the event that I found particularly interesting during my first encounter with the largest film festival in Scandinavia. These include the festival as a forum for the discussion of contemporary socio-political issues; the festival as an occasion for a creative dialogue between practitioners and academics; and last, but not least, the festival as an accommodator for the discussion of problems and developments taking place in other media, such as television. Some highlights of the festival, as well as a brief comment on the presence and the reception of Greek films, conclude this report.
Before going into more details regarding the themes mentioned above, I would like to refer you to the welcoming message on behalf of the festival's artistic director, Marit Kapla, included in the event's accompanying publication. In her preface to the Programme, Kapla describes the experience of films as "moments of rediscovery"; instances when the individual finds the time for concentration and contemplation and manages to escape the plethora of information provided thanks to digital communication and technologies. Within this context, films are described as spaces in time where the human mind temporarily blocks out the fatigue caused by the continuous flow of information and images, and becomes re-sensitized to the visual stimuli and experiences by means of the cinematic form. ... More