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This chapter takes the institution as its organizing term. It examines the queer film festival, which provides a vantage point from which to view cinema’s shifting role in world politics. Today, queer film festivals proclaim both that queers make films more worldly and that films make the world more queer. The chapter reads the rise of globalized queer film festivals in the 1990s alongside the emergence of international campaigns for the decriminalization of homosexuality. An examination of the cultural practices of film festivals in India, the United States, and Botswana complicates this human rights rhetoric, exposing how these events reimagine public spaces and audiences. Moving away from film texts to consider film exhibition, curatorial logics, publicity, activism, and social media practices, this chapter proposes the queer film festival as a space of tension, at once operating in complicity with globalized capitalism and inaugurating alternative figurations of queer life.

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