Despite its important role in film festival experiences, media encounters, post-screening talks in particular, have only been sporadically discussed so far. This study probes into the meanings attached to media encounters in the Chinese context, by focusing on film festival-goers’ motivations and experiences at the 19th Shanghai International Film Festival. Based on in-depth interviews and participant observation, results show that SIFF goers expect to get close to film industry professionals, and by attending talks, they hope to gain insights into the film production process and discover the personal drives of production team members. The respondents draw a line between meeting celebrities and meeting film production members, showing an outspoken preference for the latter based on articulations of professionalism. Contrary to their expectations, most SIFF goers experience a clear distance between themselves and the film industry professionals. This rift is not criticised, but justified by both practical arguments and ideas about how it should be. We conclude that talks at the SIFF enrich the communal setting of the film festival and provide more opportunities for social engagement, while at the same time reconfirming the special status of media professionals.

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Participations, Journal of Audience and Reception Studies (online)

Reijnders, S., & Xu, M. (2018). Getting close to the media world? On the attraction of encountering film industry professionals at Shanghai International Film Festival. Participations, Journal of Audience and Reception Studies (online), 15(1), 84–104. Retrieved from