CFP for SCMS 2014: 'Commercial Auteurs"

full name / name of organization: 
David Richler / Carleton University

SCMS March 2014, Seattle WA
Proposed Panel title: "Commercial Auteurs"

Following in the mode of what Timothy Corrigan calls the "commerce of authorship" - wherein the director-auteur circulates as a paratextual phenomenon, "a critical concept bound to distribution and marketing aims that identify and address the potential cult status of an auteur" - this panel seeks to explore the sites of intersection between the concepts of the auteur, art, and commerce. Since the publication in 1990 of Corrigan's highly influential article, "The Commerce of Auteurism," many studies have examined the paratextual role of the director-as-star, as a powerful meaning-making agent. With the advent of digital platforms such as the Internet and DVDs, directors have been afforded increasing opportunities to reframe the meaning of a text in even more sophisticated and intricate ways. Moreover, the heightened visibility of the filmmaker has become a general fixture of world cinema—whether in the context of popular or independent film, or what generally circulates on the festival circuit—, increasingly positioning the director as a brand name and presenting the auteur as an important cultural figure.

This panel seeks to build on Corrigan's assertion that the auteur has acquired a renewed life in the postclassical era as a vehicle of promotion and advertising. We invite papers that deal with authorship in the broader context of a globalized commercial industry. We are especially interested in studies which analyze works of promotion and advertising as both texts themselves and as authorial inter-or para-texts, independent of yet interconnected to an intricate world of other texts and contexts, as auteurs advertise not only their own films and themselves but other entities as well.

Possible themes and topics include but are not limited to*:

- The paratextual construction of the director as a brand name (as author, star, entertainer, entrepreneur, innovator, creative genius, etc…)

- Film directors making commercials (e.g. Harmony Korine, Spike Lee, the BMW films, etc., but also directors whose careers have been mainly in advertising, such as Roy Andersson in Sweden).

- Film directors making music videos (e.g. Martin Scorsese's "Bad" for Michael Jackson, early work of Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, David Fincher, etc.).

- The designer as auteur: Trailer, poster, and title designers, and the impact of digital technologies on their paratextual presence (i.e. DVDs, Youtube, etc...).

*contemporary and historical studies are both welcome.

Please send a 300-word abstract, a bibliography and a short bio by Friday, August 2nd to David Richler ( and/or Thomas Dorey ( Notifications about acceptance or rejection of proposal will be sent by August 10th (the deadline for conference proposals is August 30th).