Recycle or perish? A multi-method investigation into the cultural value and industrial sustainability recycle film cultures in small Western European film industries

01 October 2021 → 30 September 2025
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Fiction film
  • Social sciences
    • Intercultural communication
    • Political economy of communication
    • Media audience research
Recycle Film Cultures Cultural Identity European Cinema
Project description

Since the start of the new millennium, a significant change took place in the production strategies of European film industries. Inspired by Hollywood-like production and distribution practices, European film industries started to increasingly focus on producing film remakes, sequels, and TV spin-offs, which we take together under the newly coined concept of ‘recycle film cultures’. Quite surprisingly, this is not only the case for the major European film industries, but also for smaller ones with limited resources. This project aims to critically examine the economic and cultural implications of the rise of recycle film cultures in three small Western European film industries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark) by means of three research steps. First, we will map these recently emerged recycle film cultures by building and analyzing a database as well as conducting a network analysis. Second, a production and distribution analysis will examine whether, and how, this – often pejoratively framed – trend contributes to sustainable national film industries and to the European filmic ecosystem as a whole. Third, attention will be paid to the cultural implications of recycle cultures through an audience and critical reception analysis. Overall, the project investigates whether the Western European recycle film cultures strengthen the commercial basis of the film industries, weaken the diversity of films, undermine or rather facilitate mediated cultural encounters, and/or ultimately lead to a cinematic monoculture.