Thursday, June 25, 2009

Diary for 25th June to 2nd July 2009

Lucy Special: The 11th Royal Anthropological Institute's International Festival of Ethnographic Film

Hi Everyone,

BOOKINGS ARE FILLING UP FAST for the11th RAI's International festival of of Ethnographic Film which is taking place in a week from today. For those of you who haven't had a chance to book tickets yet, now is your chance to do so!

The RAI's Festival of ethnographic film is a biennial event hosted by different universities around the UK. It is the largest most extensive ethnographic film festival in Britain. For people who are interested in film, learning about visual anthropology and finding out what anthropologists do, this is a very worthwhile event to go to. For aspiring or current anthropology students the festival provides an excellent networking opportunity for you to meet award winning anthropologists from around the world, watch and discuss their work as well as listen to critical debates on some pressing issues facing the discipline.

A special objective of the 11th edition of the festival is to bring together not only academic anthropologists and professional film-makers from all over the world, but also tourism scholars and experts, and members of the public, particularly from Leeds, Bradford and the Northeast of England.

The festival takes place over four days from the 1st-4th of July 2009 at Leeds Met University. The event kicks off with a very strong selection of student films that are up for the Wiley-Blackwell Student Film Prize. The prize is awarded to the most outstanding ethnographic video made by a student enrolled in a bona fide institution.

Here are some of the films up for the prize:

13:30, Wednesday 1st July, Theatre B

Director: Melanie Liebheit (GER)

"In the middle of a German province the tireless priest Sri Paskaran built the biggest Tamil Hindu temple in Europe. In 2002, he inaugurated it amidst industrial plants in the Westphalian village Hamm-Uentrop. The film accompanies the priest in his busy daily routine and during his arrangements for the annual temple festival expecting 20,000 believers. In the neighborhood, the locals cultivate their own traditions. Irene sells fast-food sausages in the local snack-bar and farmer Externbrink meanwhile has got a holy cow in his barn. An encounter of two universes full of contrast".

16:00, Thursday 2nd July, Theatre B

Director: Daniela Vavrova (SLO)

"Enet Yapai was six years old when I met her for the first time in 2005. Two years later I returned to Ambonwari village, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. Between November 2007 and April 2008 I followed Enet and her mother Alexia on their way to process sago, catch fish or collect grass for baskets and mats. Enet "entered" the camera in a way which we both found amusing and rewarding. The film is an experiment of a subtle and non-predictable interaction between Enet Yapai, the video camera and me".

On Saturday 4th July the festival has a special India Day where participants can join in for a special ticket of only £5 for the entire day!

Some of the highlights include:


9 am Saturday 4th July-Theatre A

Carol Slater (GB)
Year: 2005

"Mayomi is an intimate portrait of a young woman struggling to gain independence, whilst holding her troubled family together in post-tsunami Sri Lanka. Mayomi lost her husband to the Tamil Tigers, her mother and home to the Tsunami, and is not the only female member of her family, single-handedly caring for her disabled father, her alcoholic brother and his abandoned six-year old son. She is also still homeless and knows that in a country crippled by bureaucracy and corruption, this is unlikely to change. The film follows Mayomi as she struggles to overcome the obstacles in and outside her family. Her optimism and courage drives her forward and also provides the heart of this moving and intimate film".

Carol will be at the screening and there will be a Q & A session afterward.

You can watch a trailer of the film on-line at:

To pre-empt the India Day screenings on Friday the 3rd July internationally acclaimed film makers David MacDougall will be showing his film called Ghandi's children. Below is a description of the film.

"A monolithic building on the outskirts of Delhi provides food and shelter for 350 boys. Some are orphans, some have been abandoned, others have run away from home. About half are held under a court order having been picked up for petty crimes. Living at the institution for several months, MacDougall explores its routines, and the varied experiences of several boys. Despite the harshness of their lives, many show remarkable strength of character, knowledge and resilience. One day 181 child labourers arrive, placing additional strain on the building's deteriorating facilities. The institution does what it can, bus is it enough?".

In addition to the screenings there are several workshops and panel discussions such as the Participatory Youth film workshop, a round table discussing on broadcasting and distribution, and a meeting with the Visual Anthropology Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists. For more information take a look at the festival's website.

The last day of the festival is marked by Asen Balikci being honored by the RAI film Committee for his lifetime achievement and contribution to Visual Anthropology. To honor his work, a film made by Rolf Husaman called The Progessional Foreigner: Asen Balikci and Visual Ethnography.

Here is a brief description:
" Asen Balikci has been a leading figure in making ethnographic films for many decades. In a series of talks between Balikci and filmmaker Rolf Husmann in different locations, the life and work of Asen Balikci are shown and discussed: the film takes us from Asen's youth in Instabul to his career in Canada where he became famous for making the Netsilik Eskimos Sries, to filming in Afghanistan and then turning to two other activities of his: as a networker for the Commission on Visual Anthropology and as a teacher of Summer Schools in Siberia and Bulgaria. His film work among the Bulgarian Pomack and his still ongoing work in Sikkim (India) conclude the film which is not only the portrait of a famous expert in Visual Ethnography, but also more generally touches upon vital issues of ethnographic filmmaking".

The festival is an opportunity not to be missed. Registration is £50 for students/concessions, and £30 for a day pass. Other registration fees can be found here.

Take a look at the website for details on accommodation and how to get to Leeds. The festival is sponsored by the Royal Anthropological Institute and the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change, in partnership with the Northern Film School, Louis Le Prine Centre for Cinema, Photography and Television.

If you have any enquiries that you can't find answers to on the website, please feel free to contact Susanne Hammacher, the RAI's Film Officer at or phone 020 7387 0455.

Hope to see you all in Leeds!

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