Report on the 5th Göttingen International Ethnographic Film Festival

April 27th - May 2nd, 2000

5th Göttingen International Ethnographic Film Festival

Following the great success of the first four Göttingen Ethnographic Film Festivals, the fifth festival in 2000 was again held on IWF premises.
The festival structure was based on the well-known combination of a student competition and a main festival. While students had a forum and chance to compete with other students, the main festival was free of a competition. Here, the focus was on intensive discussions of screened films with the film makers directly after the screening. The IWF once again functioned as a bridge between Western and Eastern Europe, including the Far East. New film productions from all over the world were accepted and screened. The final day of the festival was devoted to a scientific conference, in which a large number of participants had been given an overview of the topic "Teaching Visual Anthropology".

As a "Travelling Festival", a small collection of the films was additionally screened during the year on several other locations in Germany and world wide. Locations included Hamburg, Saarbrücken, Venice, Padua, and Milan. A four-hour presentation was shown at the meeting of the Australian Anthropological Society in Perth, Australia. Until submission deadline more than 130 films had been submitted, including 40 student films.

The Festival Programme was composed by the international selection committee, which included former members and new ones. This year the committee consisted of Ethnologist Felicia Hughes-Freeland (University Swansea, Wales, Great Britain), Visual Anthropologist Peter Crawford (University Aarhus, Denmark), director of the audio-visual laboratory University Ljubljana, Nasko Kriznar (Slovenia), Visual Anthropologist Metje Postma (University Leiden, Netherlands), Media Scientist and Film Maker Klaus Stanjek (University for Film and Media, Potsdam, Germany), and the Afrikanist and Media Scientist Philippe Lourdou (University Paris, France). This year's Student Award Winner was selected by David MacDougall (Australia), Jean Lydall (Germany), and John Bishop (USA).

Yi Sicheng

Special recognition goes to four student film makers from Kunming, province Yunnan, Southwest China, whose films were selected and who attended the festival. These both technically and artistically remarkable films of good quality were produced within the curriculum of visual anthropology at the Yunnan University in 1999.

The Student Award winner was "Yesterday - a Girl, Tomorrow - a Woman" by Ingeborg Solvang from the Tromsö University in Norway. Beside the main price the award "Special Recognition" was given to Yi Sicheng from Kunming, China for "Quing, the Newspaperman".

On the Main Festival 30 films by film makers from many countries were shown, including the USA, Netherlands, Australia, China, Russia, Denmark, and Hungary. All film makers were attending the festival. The festival programme once again reflected a large scale of ethnographic and documentary film making. Some of the numerous highlights were the documentary film "Mobuto- King of Zaire" by the Belgian director Thierry Michel and the European premiere of David MacDougall's new film "Doon School Chronicles".

This year's festival perpetuated one of the regional focuses of Chinese films. These included the impressive film "A Daba - a Shaman in Himalaya" by the Chinese ethnologist Cai Hua.

Video Library

During the whole festival the "Video Library" was open for the public. Here, visitors could watch all films of the festival

The Scientific Conference with a workshop on "Teaching Visual Anthropology", which followed directly after the film festival, was attended by more than 50 people. The topic was chosen because the IWF was involved in the formation of a curriculum on that topic in Kunming, Southwest China. Lecturers were representatives of the following institutions: Department of Social Anthropology, University of Tromso (Norway), Granada Centre of Visual Anthropology, University of Manchester (Great Britain), Centruum voor Visuele Anthropologie, University of Leiden (Holland), East-Asia-Institute of Visual Anthropology, University of Yunnan, Kunming (China), Institute of Folklore, University of Zurich (Switzerland), Mediterranean Institute, University of Malta, and the Institute of Ethnology, Göttingen (Germany).

The large participation of the conference as well as the huge number of visitors during the whole festival confirm the positive resonance of attendants and film makers. The Göttingen Ethnographic Film Festival once again succeeded in confirming its position as an integral part within the international festivals of documentary films and Ethnology. The sixth festival in 2002 will keep the same structure and quality.