Call for papers

15th Annual International Small Cinemas Conference:
Changing Policies, Transforming Audiences and Work Practices In-flux
November 5-7, 2024
Zagreb, Croatia

The 15th Annual International Small Cinemas Conference is organized by the Department for Culture and Communication, Institute for Development, and International Relations (IRMO), Zagreb, Croatia, in partnership with the Industry Program of the Zagreb Film Festival (ZFF) and the Academy of Dramatic Art (ADU), Zagreb.

In recent years, the film industry has globally faced a series of transformations at the level of production, distribution, and consumption. The rise of streaming services caused the most significant changes. Additionally, the audio-visual (AV) industry faced a crisis due to restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In North America, and currently in India, we have seen screenwriters and actors strike to oppose changes. But what are the implications of present changes on film industries and what is their impact on big production markets compared to small cinemas? This conference edition will discuss the main challenges of film production and distribution in so-called ‘small countries’ compared to ‘big markets.’ It will focus on public policy responses to dynamic changes in the audio-visual field, examine viable and sustainable business models, and consider how to ensure cultural diversity at global and local levels. What is the available research data revealing about patterns in audio-visual content consumption and how are small markets reaching local and international audiences? What public policy instruments are at our disposal to initiate a dialogue between controversial production practices by worldwide corporate streaming services and local audio-visual industries? How does this affect small markets in comparison to larger ones? How are the working conditions of small-market film workers changing when entering global service productions? What are the economic and aesthetic pressures on local productions in small film industries? Among all the mentioned issues, which ones foster or impede the success of films from small-market countries? And what is the meaning of success in the given context: does popularity equal quality?

Topics for discussion may include, but are not limited to:

  • film audience consumption habits in small markets
  • small market distribution patterns and means of reaching local and global audiences
  • AV festivals ecosystems and their role in enhancing diversity
  • the relationship between public policy instruments and production practices of global corporate streaming services in small countries
  • the impact of investment obligations for streamers in small and larger markets
  • the influence of AI on film production and distribution
  • the unionization and working conditions of film workers in national markets
  • the economic pressures on local productions in small film industries
  • the impact of COVID-19 on different film ecosystems: production, distribution, and consumption

This interdisciplinary conference invites contributions from film, media and cultural studies, media economics, sociology of media and communication, sociology of culture, cultural sociology, cultural and media policy research, etc.

Submissions should include the title, author(s), institutional affiliation, an abstract of up to 250 words and a short bio of the presenter(s). We welcome pre-constituted panels with a maximum of three presentations. Panel abstract submissions should be up to 600 words, describing the role of each presenter within the panel.  Working language of conference is English.

Submission deadline: June 15, 2024. July 16, 2024 (Extended).
Confirmation of acceptance: July 12, 2024. August 12, 2024.

Please submit your abstract here

The conference is aimed at academics, policymakers and film industry professionals. It will include a keynote lecture, paper presentations, roundtables, and screenings, and it will be part of the Industry Program of the Zagreb Film Festival Program (ZFF).

The conference registration fee is 80EUR or 50EUR for PhD students.

For additional information, please contact the conference organizers at or visit the conference website at:

The conference is part of the CresCine project ‘Increasing the international competitiveness of the film industry in small European markets’ (no. 101094988) supported by the Horizon Europe programme of the European Union. For more information, please visit: