Impressions from the Festival

When the strange becomes familiar, and the familiar strange, when what is near seems to gain distance and what seemed distant turns out be next door, then you probably are at the 6th Göttingen International Ethnographic Film Festival.
Since the 8 May, the IWF Knowledge and Media has become a lively centre of discussions on ethnographic film. Almost around the clock guests from all over the world, filmmakers, students of visual anthropology and others interested in film, register at the festival bureau. Both cinemas in IWF are filled in capacity crowd, even the benches in the foyer are occupied in order to see the films at the monitor there. The video library containing all the 240 films submitted for the festival is booked from morning till night, there is even a growing waiting list! The atmosphere is creative, relaxed, inspiring - everybody seems in an excellent mood..

IWF director Professor Christian Floto

In regard of the sunny weather on Thursday, IWF director Professor Christian Floto decided spontaneously to hold the opening ceremony not indoors, but in the IWF garden, an idea which also helped finding enough space for so many more festival visitors than expected.

On Saturday, 11 May, at 6.30 p.m. almost 200 spectators were eagerly awaiting the announcement of this year's winner of the Student Award: "And the Winner is: "Domov !" - a film by British filmmaker Rosie Read on a social institution in Prague.The jury to decide about the Student Award this year was composed of three internationally well-known anthropologists: Berit Madsen/Aarhus, Steef Meyknecht/Leiden and Joachim Wossidlo/Münster. Their statement for the winning film included the following passage: "Dealing with this apparent tragedy, the filmmaker remains sensitive to the humour and vitality of the two main characters. Instead of exploiting existing stereotypes, the filmmaker inspires her characters to stick to their individual qualities. By her direct and honest approach, Rosie Read makes the persons appear as complete humans. In "Domov" the close relationship between the filmmaker and the protagonists are materialized, in fact intersubjectivity becomes visual."

Cheered by the audience this award was handed by the first-ever winner of the Student Award, Catarina Alves Costa from Portugal. As Rosie Read could not be present herself, the award was handed to her former co-student, and now teacher, Amanda Ravetz from the Granada Centre of Visual Anthropology in Manchester.Apart from the Student Award the jury gave two commendations as honourable mentions: The film "Safar" was commended for its unusual quality of cinematography and its narrative structure as well as for its use and integration of already existing audio-visual material.The second honourable mention was given to the charming film "Chimney Sweep" by the young Polish film students Katarzyna Wala and Olga Stobiecka, a film about myth and reality of the profession of chimney sweepers. After the Award Ceremony two music films put the audience into the right mood for the ensuing party. And although that party lasted into the early hours of Sunday morning, many visitors were ready for further film screenings, which continued Sunday morning at 9.30, as at all the other festival days too.