5th Annual Southeast Asian Cinemas Conference (ASEACC)


The first decade of the 2000s has seen a stunning upsurge of independent cinema in a number of Southeast Asian countries. This development has been one of the motivations of the Annual Southeast Asian Cinemas Conference (ASEACC), and this year we want to focus completely on the issue of identity. We invite contributions that address the somewhat contentious notion of “independent cinema” from different theoretical and methodological angles. The concept of “independent cinema” means something very different in the emerging countries of Southeast Asia than in the US or Western Europe, and we want to tease out some of the particular qualities of independent cinema in the region.

We want to ask what “independence” means in countries, where the commercial film industry is slowly bleeding to death, but where the distribution is often dominated by commercial chains that are rather disinclined to show independent films. We are interested in papers about the situation of independent distribution channels, be it

“microcinemas” in galleries, socio-cultural centers or people’s living rooms, or on the Internet. We are looking for contributions that address the specific aesthetics of independent films from the region. In particular, we encourage papers that study the work of individual independent filmmakers or analyse specific indie films. Finally, we will focus on the situation in this year’s host country, the Philippines. As is our tradition, filmmakers will participate in open forums and screen their works.


Another focus of this year’s conference will be the role of technology and “new media” in the creation of an alternative “mediascape” in the region. We invite papers that examine the influence of digital technology on the film language that Southeast Asian film makers are developing.


We are also encouraging contributions that engage with historic aspects of dependence and independence, such as the colonial legacies of some European countries in Southeast Asia or more contemporary inter-dependencies between Europe and Southeast Asia (for example, the policies of European film festivals, funding bodies or production companies such as the Rotterdam Film Festival, the Hubert Bals Fund, Fortissimo, etc).


  • Alternative funding/distribution channels and bodies
  • Issues of identity and representation in independent film
  • Interdisciplinary approaches in alternative media production
  • Independent film and the mainstream
  • Festivals and grant-giving bodies
  • The Local and the Global
  • Independent film in the Philippines


Manila, The Philippines, November 18 – 23, 2008

Please send an abstract (max. 500 words) of your proposed paper to one these members of the program committee of the conference:

Dr. Rolando B. Tolentino:

Dr. Sophia Harvey:

Dr. Gaik Cheng Khoo:

Dr. Tilman Baumgärtel:

DEADLINE: May 21, 2008

We are currently attempting to get funding for travel subsidies and accommodations but cannot offer any as yet. Prospective participants are strongly encouraged to secure their own travel funding. We are also trying to get discounted hotel and dorm rooms for conference participants.

The conference will be accompanied by screenings of selected independent films from Southeast Asia from November 18 – 19 and on November 23, 2008.

For more information on the conference visit our website: