‘The festival is ours’: Power dynamics of community participation in the Alter do Chão Film Festival

Débora Póvoa*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Although festivals are often promoted as opportunities for community empowerment, power dynamics during festival organization might hinder such potential. To discuss this issue, this article examines the Alter do Chão Film Festival (FestAlter), an originally collaborative project in the touristic village of Alter do Chão, Brazil. Through 16 interviews with festival stakeholders, the article unveils the changing power dynamics within the organization of the festival, and how these impacted the event's goals of community participation. I argue that the organization of this event moved from union to rupture among festival stakeholders – a trajectory caused by managerial divergences regarding the meaning of community participation and a lack of understanding of the history, culture and socioeconomic circumstances of Alter do Chão, an Amazonian village marked by enduring legacies of colonial exploitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-215
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant number CoG-2015_681663)

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.

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