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Informing the content and programming of genre-film festivals

Case study: Beyond a cult-following: Informing the content and programming of genre-film festivals, as well as improving their reputation and long-term financial sustainability.

Staff: Dr Russ Hunter, Dr Jamie Sexton, Dr Steve Jones

There has been a recent expansion in genre-film festivals across Europe that focus on horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Yet despite their growing economic importance as cultural attractions, these events are often forced to operate within tight financial constraints, largely due to the popular misconceptions of funders and mainstream audiences regarding the ‘cult’ subject matter. Working with three leading European genre-film festivals, Northumbria University’s research informed new educational programming which transformed the profile, reputation, and financial sustainability of Kurja Polt in Slovenia, Offscreen in Belgium, and Abertoir in Wales. The festival-tailored, comprehensive educational activities increased genre-film fan engagement and attendance, attracted expert speakers, and enabled the festivals to promote professional validation for genre-film artists and genre film culture more broadly. Kurja Polt has become one of the fastest growing and most significant international film festivals in Slovenia and is regarded as an exemplar of good practice.

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