Report on the 15th German International Ethnographic Film Festival

May 13th - May 17th, 2020

Screening room

The festival is organised by an association, founded in May 2007.
The festival takes place normally in the heart of Göttingen. Due to the Covid 19 pandemia it took place online this year.
The festival is founding member of CAFFE - Coordinating Anthropological Film Festivals in Europe.
The Festival Programme, was composed by an international selection committee, including former and new members. More than 323 media had been submitted. 57 films were selected, 25 for the student category, 32 for the main festival.

As every year, the student film competition was of special interest and many commented on the very good quality of the films. Beside the presentation of new productions the festival had various main topics:Chances of Surviving, Dealing with Heritage, Impacts of Urbanisation, Questions of Belonging, Gender Roles, Womens’ Perspectives and Women Coping with Crisis.

GIEFF Student Award 2020 Ceremony

The student award giving ceremony was conducted online. All the respective filmmakers and the members of the two jurys were present. 

GIEFF Student Award 2020 - Jury

Itsushi Kawase (Japan)
Simone Pfeiffer (Germany)
Trond Waage (Norway)

Manfred Krüger Student Award 2020 - Jury

Caterina Alves Costa (Portugal)
Peter I. Crawford (Norway)
Judith Schein (Germany)

GIEFF Student Award 2020

The Jury (Itsushi Kawase, Simone Pfeifer and Trond Waage) decided to award the GIEFF student prize to a film from and about Egypt.

The GIEFF Student Award went to the film
Flox  by Hady Mahmoud, Egyptian.

Egypt, 2019, 45,5 min
Location: Egypt, Cairo

Inspired by the everyday struggle of micro-bus drivers in Cairo, “Flox”, the title of this film and the name of the micro-bus as pronounced by its drivers, is an observational documentary that looks at the intricate interplay between class and gender. Specifically, it explores how micro-bus drivers perceive and negotiate their masculinity in a mega-city like Cairo. For them, driving a difficult vehicle, handling inter-group conflict, struggling with poverty and substance abuse only makes them wish not to see their children inherit the same job. The film is about the beauty and the dark side of the chaotic life of the urban poor who are forced to create a state within a state in order to survive.

Two Honourable Mentions

Additionally the jury awarded two special mentions.

Descending with angels

One Honourable Mention went to the film
Sky, Earth and Man by Caroline Reucker, German.

Germany, 2018, 70 min
Location: Morocco 
Production: Caroline Reucker and Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg

The wind is ever-present in this portrait of the Moroccan desert. “Sky, Earth and Man” tries to get a hold of the windswept cities and landscapes of the Atlas Mountains and the people who live there. It follows Ahmed, Yusself, Lahcen and Idir whose stories enable the viewer to witness their daily lives, desires and feeling of belonging. They are members of the Berber tribe Ait Seghrouchen. While some of them still lead a traditional lifestyle based on animal breeding, more and more members leave the normadic tradition behind to follow their own more modern way of life. This is not without conflict but once a year, everyone comes together again to celebrate the Lemma Festival .

Descending with angels

One Honourable Mention went to the film
Coleum by Coralie Seignard, French.

France, 2020, 30 min
Location: France, Corsica
Production: Grec (Groupe de Recherches et d'Essais Cinématographiques)

Three pigs are taken to the slaughterhouse by the man. Once they are dead, their meat is carved by the man and his son. The grandson observes the scene.

Manfred Krüger Student Award

The Jury (Catarina Alves Costa, Peter I. Crawford and Judith Schein) decided to award the Manfred Kürger student price to a film from Slovenia about Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Manfred Krüger Student Award went to the film
Lukomir, My Home by Manca Filak and Žiga Gorišek, Slovenians.

Slovenia, 2018, 61 min
Location: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lukomir

Lukomir is the village with the highest altitude above sea level (1472 m) in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite the decrease in population and the increase in tourism during the last decades, transhumant pastoralism remains one of the main types of economy in the villages of Bjelašnica. Transhumance and seasonal migration of families and their flocks of sheep characterize the life of their residents. Shot between April 2014 and May 2017, “Lukomir, My Home” is an ethnographic film that portrays an older couple’s everyday life. The filmmakers accompany the couple while they carry out most of their everyday chores, release the sheep into the valley and eventually return to Lukomir.

Discussing Films, Discussing Filmmaking and Exchanging Ideas

This year 55 films from filmmakers of 30 different nationalities telling stories about people in 42 countries were presented online.

Over 1100 people registered for the festival. They were coming from all over the world, primarily from Germany and Europe, but also from all other continents.

Lively online discussions


Due to the online version of the festival the discussion were organised in groups after the morning, afternung and evening screening. Nearly all filmmakers were able to attend the discussion. The group discussion were lively and inspiring.

You can find the discussion in the GIEFF-Mediathek.

Vistors could participate by sending a comment before or during the discussion. 


We are very grateful for the support of the filmmakers to screen their films in an online version of GIEFF.

Special event: Guardians of Productive Landscapes

This year we dedicated the Sunday morning to a special project: The Guardians of Productive Landscapes film series.

Currently more than one and a half billion people practise subsistence agriculture that produces about fifty per cent of the domestic food consumed in the developing world. The Guardians of productive landscapes film series shows how such a mode of production involves only human and animal labour, and only local resources. Being non-poisoning, non-destructive, bio-diverse, and sustainable this mode of production makes a valuable contribution to the preservation of the biosphere. The series aims towards new policy initiatives that treat these guardians of productive landscapes as partners in a joint struggle to save the endangered planet, - and it explores the constraints and enabling conditions for such a partnership.Work on the series has begun in Ethiopia but is meant to extend also to other parts of the world like those described in the FAO document Globally important agricultural heritage systems. A legacy for the future (Parvis Koohaftan and Miguel A. Galtieri2011).

Following the presentation of the films and the discussion with the filmmakers a group of specialist talk about the project and about projects which were developed newly in the context of the Guardians of Productive Landscapes project.

Further information

Many Thanks to the Festival Staff

The festivals war mainly executed by members of the GIEFF association

Special thanks to:

  • the designer
  • the technical team
  • the catalogue editors

Without the help of many young students it would not have been possible to organise the festival.

Special thanks to:

  • the interns

Travelling GIEFF

Since several years our festival films are travelling through out Germany and the world, very often they are shown at conferences or in seminars at the university, sometimes also at local cultural events.
If you are interested to organise a Travelling GIEFF please let us know:

There have been screenings of some films in ethnographic film events in

Articles on GIEFF 2020