2023 "Community Building at the Cinema" Seminar Series

on Zoom (2:30 pm CET=GMT+1), 27. January 2023.

2023 "Community Building at the Cinema" Seminar Series

Dear all,

We are very pleased to share this year’s program of the “Community Building at the Cinema” seminar series.

The first event of the year will take place online on January 27 (2.30 pm, Paris time, GMT+1). We will welcome:

Ifdal Elsaket (Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo), “Boycotting "The White Rose": Cinema-Going in 1930s Egypt”
Cara Caddoo (Indiana University), “Rentals, Roadshows, and Representatives: Exhibiting US Race Films for Black and Interracial Audiences in the Silent Era”

(Abstracts below)

To receive the Zoom link, please register by writting to the organisers. Those who registered last year will receive the link automatically.

We also wanted to let you know that the closing conference of the “Community Building at the cinema” Project will take place on November 28-30, at the Musée du quai Branly, Paris.

Save the date! More on that topic soon.

Best wishes,

Morgan Corriou, Caroline Damiens, Mélisande Leventopoulos



Ifdal Elsaket, “Boycotting "The White Rose": Cinema-Going in 1930s Egypt”

By the 1930s, cinema-going was one of the most popular leisure activities in Egypt. The cinema was a site of pleasure and relaxation and a place to socialize and connect. Against a backdrop of economic depression, heightened political uncertainty, and anticolonialism, the cinema was also a contested site upon which visions of citizenship, inclusion and definitions of “Egyptian-ness” were drawn into sharper focus. 

Focusing on the relatively unknown and short-lived call to boycott the 1933 Egyptian film The White Rose, this paper will examine how going to the cinema, at times, engendered volatile nationalist anxieties about national belonging in Egypt. For some young Egyptians in the early 1930s, the purchase of cinema tickets and the decision about which cinema to attend was imbued with political significance.

What can a study of the calls (and ultimate failure) to boycott The White Rose tell us about movie-going and exhibition in the interwar period and what can it elucidate about tensions between rising movie fandom and broader public debates about cinema venues and exhibition practices? This paper is based on a work in progress and will explore some of the challenges involved in examining cinema audiences and exhibition in interwar Egypt.


Cara Caddoo, “Rentals, Roadshows, and Representatives: Exhibiting US Race Films for Black and Interracial Audiences in the Silent Era”

If “the test of an independent producer is his method of distribution,” as Mae Huettig wrote in her 1944 study Economic Control of the Motion Picture Industry, how did the race film industry fare? This paper seeks to answer this question by comparing the exhibition and distribution practices of four race film companies: the William Foster Photoplay Company, The Lincoln Motion Picture Company, the Micheaux Book and Film Company (later the Micheaux Film Company), and the white-owned Norman Film Company. As I trace their overlapping, occasionally conflicting, and sometimes cooperative efforts to establish an effective and profitable system of distributing their films to theatrical and non-theatrical venues, I consider how these developments might reshape our understanding of Black American cinema, independent film distribution, and the broader development of Hollywood cinema during the transitional period.