Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Visual Studies

First Advisor

Prof. Mette HJORT

Second Advisor

Prof. LAW Suk Mun Sophia


According to UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity there exists a need in light of the “imbalances in flows and exchanges of cultural goods and services at the global level” to enable “all countries, especially developing countries and countries in transition, to establish cultural industries that are viable and competitive at a national and international level” (2001).

The dissertation explores ways in which viable cultural industries can be established in developing countries. More specifically, the focus is on the development of film industries in countries in transition. Three national film industries, examined in light of their historical development and contemporary situation, provide the empirical basis for the dissertation’s claims and arguments.

The three developing countries under investigation are Bhutan, Mongolia, and Myanmar, and in each case the study traces the historical trajectory of the relevant film industries leading to the mapping of the recent trends and tendencies. The examination of the individual cases foregrounds industrial and commercial challenges and solutions rather than the aesthetic or stylistic properties of specific films. That is, the study seeks to explore how educational practices, production modes, approaches to distribution and exhibition, and cultural policy measures have facilitated or thwarted the emergence of film industries in three developing countries in the Asian region.

The approach taken builds on the call for a more inclusive approach to the study of world cinema (Nagib 2006). Equally important is an analytical approach derived from the field of small national cinema studies, one that underscores the need to explore solutions to problems facing filmmakers in countries sharing similar developmental challenges (Hjort & Petrie 2007).

Following this conceptual perspective the study aims firstly, through its historical examination, to contribute to expanding the historiography of world cinema, where little to no attention is given to these largely unexplored national cinema cultures. Secondly, following the mapping of the contemporary situation of the institutional and organizational make-up of the film industries in question, the aim is to identify the systematic challenges and opportunities that are embedded in specific film sectors. The approach is applied with the intention of facilitating a constructive discussion that explores and compares proactive strategies. The point ultimately is to identify models that might be more generally relevant and thus transferable across national boundaries.

Recommended Citation

Grøn, N. (2016). World cinema beyond the periphery: Developing film cultures in Bhutan, Mongolia, and Myanmar (Doctor's thesis, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from