List of Accepted Ethnographic Film*

  1. The Color of Spirits (2023)

    Roger Canals
    Associate Professor, University of Barcelona (Spain)

    San Juan, Puerto rico, 2023: the filmmaker had obtained permission to film in an esoteric shop how sacred images are blessed through tobacco. When he was preparing the equipment he accidentally pushed a button of his torch which activated a color mode. Lights of different colors began to flicker. He apologized but the medium said: "wait, keep this mode on, this is the way I see images during rituals!". This documentary essay is a collaborative experiment about the act of seeing and about the power of images as living entities. It is also a reflection on how a relationship of visual trust (Canals) is crafted through the cinematic process. The film ends by revealing something that no one had seen before...

  2. Leonia (2021)

    Juan Francisco
    Universitat de Barcelona, Spain

    Madrid, as the imaginary city of Leonia from the book Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, is a city suffocated by its waste production. Beyond its centre's pristine streets, an ever-growing mass of garbage surrounds the metropolis. While invisible to the citizens, waste is a hard reality endangering the livability of the city of Madrid. Like a "hyperobject" (in terms of Tymothy Morton), waste is systematically invisibilized to preserve the economic engine of the city propelled by tourism and consumption. This video installation is part of a more comprehensive research addressing waste management in Madrid. Through Italo Calvino's text, in this video, Madrid takes the role of Leonia, an allegoric city on the verge of collapse of its own trash production. Here pieces of found trash as "objet trouve" become an ominous presence that overflies the head of the passers-by. These flying entities were generated by photogrammetry from real objects brought from the periphery of the city —a technique for making 3D models through the composition of a set of actual photographs. The place is not less symbolic. The square of Sol where the video is made is the location of the city's municipality, ruled by Partido Popular (nationalist right-wing party) almost continuously since 1991. Yet it is not only the centre of this large city but the very symbolic centre of the country. Leonia is a critique of the economic system of consumption and the political management of the city, the individuals' implication and participation from the perspective of sustainable development.

  3. Pileni Paualala: Dried giant clams in the Reef Islands (2022)

    Peter I Crawford
    Professor, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

    The Reef Islands Ethnographic Film Project was started in 1994 by the two anthropologists, Jens Pinholt and Peter I. Crawford, and village communities in Bekapoa, Fenualoa and Vaiakau. Field and film visits took place in 1994, 1995-1998, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2017. This film is based on one such visit in June 2015, by Peter I. Crawford and Birgitte Hansen, a nutrition expert. The focus was on a diachronic study of nutrition, collecting information in three villages and comparing it with material from the 1970s and the 1990s. Pileni was one of the villages. Pileni is a so-called Polynesian outlier. Although the atoll is located outside the main reef lagoon, it forms part of the Reef Islands, Temotu Province, Solomon Islands. A clam shell is called paua and the dried meat called paualala. In this case it is the meat of huetea or giant clam (tridacna gigas). An entrepreneurial young man, John Knoxson, helped by family and friends, has found an innovative way of earning some cash income from what nature provides.

  4. The Songs We Sing, The Drums We Beat (2011)

    Kombong Darang
    Research Officer
    RIWATCH Centre for Mother Languages, India

    What happens when a community has to perform one of it's most important traditions but even the eldest among them are unsure of how to do it? Caught in this quagmire, the Kaasik community of Nocte tribe of Tirap District (Arunachal Pradesh) in the North East India embarks on a journey of reliving their past while reflecting on their future as a distinct culture.

  5. Allegories of Marriage (2023)

    Shrila Soren
    Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi

    Marriage is the embodiment of union and endearment, not just between two individuals, but between two families. According to the Santhal origin myth the marriage between Pilchu hadam and Pilchu budhi led to the creation and culmination of humankind. The rituals and beliefs associated with marriage form part of the oral traditions and are told, retold, and performed generation after generation. In contemporary times, even when there have been technological innovations, some rituals are practices maintaining the beliefs of the olden days. This is culture lag. The cultural practices take time to be replaced and are still part of the cultural repertoire. The stories, myths, tales, taboos, beliefs, formulas, and riddles associated with marriage are remembered via memory and preserved in this process. This ethnographic film delves into the marriage or bapla ceremony of Santhals which takes place in Jharkhand, India. An attempt has been made to understand the nuances of marriage rituals with kinship, gender, and ecology.

  6. The Himalayan Gaddi Women: Negotiating voice and space (2023)

    Kanika Sharan
    Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi, India

    While on field research in the Gaddi villages of the Himalayas, I was wonderstruck by the women's various roles. This community is patriarchal, but there has been a culture of women taking on many responsibilities of running the family, community, and village. Gaddi women, thus, from politics to agriculture, can be seen doing many tasks. During the early phase of anthropological literature, tribal women's issues were invisible, or women were seen as exotic and objectified regarding their physical attributes and sexual practices. They were presented as either promiscuous and sexually free or as pure and chaste. Later, they were depicted as strong, hard-working, or of high status in the family and community or without any status. A shift began with the rise of feminist discourse in anthropology from the 1970s onward. This led to a better understanding of women's roles, positions, rights, and knowledge of gender relations in the communities. With time another trend that emerged and attached to feminist anthropological literature was the focus on women's issues and development. Women were seen as either "active participants in the conservation of their culture or as helpless victims of the forces of globalization, cultural change, and modernization." This documentary focuses on the Gaddi woman and their wedding rituals. Through this, Gaddi women precisely reflect their voices, identity, sense of personhood, and selfhood while negotiating with patriarchy in everyday activities and rituals.

  7. Hanging by a thread (2023)

    S Bala Prasanna
    Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi, India

    "HANGING BY A THREAD" is an ethnographic film shot in Coimbatore city of Tamil Nadu which is famously known as the textile capital of India. The film revolves around an age-old occupation of the weavers' community living in the outskirts of the city where multiple generations of families practice the intricate craft of weaving sarees which is the heart and soul of their life. The film is about this craft which is hanging by a thread in the present era due to the modern anthropogenic environment. It explores how occupation, life, and the generations are closely knit while being subject to the brutal force of market and time.

  8. Indigenous Knowledge System of Kishan (2021)

    Nituranjan Dash
    Researcher, Utkal University

    The Kisan adivasi are found in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The term ‘Kisan’ has been derived from a Hindi term which means peasant or farmer. They are migrants from Nagpur area and are considered to be an offshoot of the Oraon tribe. They live in the forest depending on forest produces and cultivation. Skilled in cultivating the land, rice and minor millet called gulji are their major crops. Women have taken up mat weaving and making of broomsticks from date palm leaves as a household industry, the men are also engaged in brick making and carpentry. They still applied the traditional methodology of cultivation. Wooden plough and bullock are the primary agricultural implements. They use kodali, khurpi and sickles for vegetable cultivation. Among the cereals, paddy, rahar, black gram, red gram, horse gram, oil seeds (til) etc are commonly cultivated by the Kisan tribe.The land is a hereditary right of Kisan. For their treatments, they usually follow traditional way of healing. Due to long distance of their settlements from the city and lack of availability of such educational and medical facilities, kishan use natural herbal leafs, roote, edibles and fruits to cure many diseases. This documentary mainly focused on the life history of a medicine man named Tahasil Toppo of Sundargarh district who has been practicing ancestral occupation since his childhood. He also sharing his journey as a medicine man.

  9. Bamboo Shoot In My Basket (2019)
    Mhari Topli ma: Basta

    Aajad Singh Khichi
    Samaj Pragati Sahayog, SPS Community Media, India

    As the monsoon rain recedes, Kala Bai and her friends row the boat across the Narmada River to the forest to pick tender bamboo shoots. It’s a delicacy and the people in her village wait for this season to relish the dish. Kala Bai feels that eating and food habit is a tradition that gets passed on over generations and that is why she makes it a point that the family eats together their meal. The film is part of a series on local food and cuisine that are part of the tradition in the tribal villages of Narmada Valley and are a rich source of nutrition and well-being but are soon disappearing due to changes in attitude and lifestyle.

  10. Phang in my basket (2019)
    Mhari Topli ma: Phang

    Sandip Bhati
    Samaj Pragati Sahayog, SPS Community Media, India

    Phang (Midnapore creeper) grows wild during monsoon. Kehendi Bai cooks the fresh leaves with moong daal (lentil) and the family relishes it with jowar roti (millet bread) and pepper-garlic condiments. A great favourite with the older generation even preferred over fish & meat, but Kehendi observes that the younger generations are losing the taste as well as the knowledge of cooking it. The film is part of a series on local food and cuisine that are part of the tradition in the tribal villages of Narmada Valley and are a rich source of nutrition and well-being but are soon disappearing due to change in attitude and lifestyle.

  11. Roselle in my Basket (2023)
    Mhari Topli ma: Ambadi

    Iqbal Hussain
    Samaj Pragati Sahayog, SPS Community Media, India

    Ambadi in my Basket (Mhari Topli Ma: Ambadi) is part of the series on local food.Hari bai from Potla, a remote tribal village in the Narmada Valley loves ‘ambadi’ (English name Roselle), a seasonal tangy vegetable. She vouches on the nutrition values of ‘ambadi’ for her incomparable energy and good health even in her old age. The film follows one season of Hari bai sowing, harvesting and relishing the tangy dish along with the process of storing its magenta petals to enjoy it through the year.

  12. Flower of Mother Earth (2022)
    Jameen Ma Ka Phool

    Pradeep Lekhwar
    Samaj Pragati Sahayog, SPS Community Media, India

    Natthu kaka waits for the rains with much hope each year, hoping to find the wild mushrooms (jameen maa ka phool) which spring out when the rains hit the ground. He finds them when he goes to graze his goats in the forests. He specially mentions the taste of these mushrooms, and talks of its nutrition too. He reminisces the times from his childhood when they were abundant and the taste he would enjoy thoroughly as a boy. With receding forests and erratic rains, it is hard to find these edible mushrooms. Natthu kaka disseminates the knowledge he has- of wild plants and their medicinal values with the new generation. This film is a story of his relationship with the forests and the times he has spent in its lap.

  13. Uneyholo (2018)

    Anirban Dutta Gupta
    Andaman Nicobar Tribal Research Institute

    This is a story of the Jarawas of the Andaman Islands and how they live with their traditions and knowledge about their forest. This film explores this through the honey-collecting practices of the community. While the Reserve forests in which they live are protected by law, the Jarawas are aware of how the outside world threatens their traditional ways in the forest. They continue to believe however that the forest is where their lives are secure and it is there they would like to live. With the start of the warm season, the forests explode with Uneyholo, or “searching for something in a special manner”. This is the prime honey collecting time. This film not only highlights the unique skills and knowledge informing this collective practice but also delves deeper into the contemporary challenges faced by the community. The Jarawas are one of the five Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands whose lives and culture are threatened by forces of change brought in by a phase of unprecedented contact with the outside world. Community Elders are evidently worried. Through a series of conversations, they said that their children and grandchildren should never forget how to live in the forest even if they had to live outside it. To address this concern, it was decided that the Jarawas’ traditional knowledge be systematically organized, conserved and transmitted in a manner that would not be eroded by contact with the outside world. This film is part of that effort.

  14. When I Was Small (2019)

    Shuchi Prasad

    Young children of 21st century India hear a myth, the Mahabharata, which was written 5000 years ago, from a storyteller. The story sparks questions and ideas in the mind, and amongst the narratives of the myth, a childhood is shaped as they are confronted with questions of gender, power, womanhood, masculinity and what it means to be who we really are. The filmmaker, an Indian woman born and brought up with the stories of the same myth told by her grandmother, takes another look at the ancient text as it is heard by new ears.

  15. I'm Yet To See the Mountain (2020)

    Debankon Singh Solanky

    An ancient forest houses a secret world of children in which myths and dreams are whispered. As the forest is threatened, so is their imagination.
Online Screening
  1. Prof. (Dr.) A. Aiyappan – A Great Indian Anthropologist (2021)

    Dr. M.S. Mahendrakumar
    Associate Professor and Head
    Department of Anthropology, Kannur University, Kerala, India

    Part I – A Journey to the World of Prof. (Dr.) A. Aiyappan (17.45 Mts)
    The documentary gives an insight on the academic contributions of Prof. (Dr.) A. Aiyappan. He was the Chairman of the World Anthropology Congress, New Delhi, 1978. Prof. (Dr.) Aiyappan was elected as the Honorary Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Great Britain, in 1980. He was Chairman of the National Committee of the Xth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (ICAES) held in New Delhi, in 1978. Prof. Aiyappan was the first trained anthropologist of Kerala, who took Ph.D. in Anthropology from the LSE under the guidance of Prof. Raymond Firth in 1937. Prof. Aiyappan had close association with Prof. Bronislaw Malinowski. Aiyappan was the Director of Madras Government Museum. He was invited to Utkal University to establish the Department of Anthropology and where he worked as the Professor and Head of the Department of Anthropology. Prof. Aiyappan was appointed as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kerala in 1969-1971.

    Part II - Remembering Prof. (Dr.) A. Aiyappan (24.15 Mts)
    The second part of the documentary reconstructs the life of Prof. (Dr.) A. Aiyappan through the memories of many people including his daughter Dr. Santha Balachandran. The film production was started in 2011 and completed in 2016 and it was uploaded in YouTube on 28-6-2021 for the first time. The production of the film was started 23 years after the death of Prof. (Dr.) A. Aiyappan.

  2. House of the Goddesses: The living need light, the goddesses need meat (2022)

    PhD student, Cambridge university

    House of the Goddesses: The Living Need Light, The Goddesses Need Meat is an ethnographic study of the goddess cult in a village in coastal south-eastern China (Wenzhou) and is the second documentary of a planned trilogy about goddesses by anthropologist Gennie Zhang. The documentary explores the village’s rituals of local Daoist goddesses ChenShiSi NiangNiang. It explains to viewers how the goddess statue at the Niang Niang temple “marries” into the region in a manner which integrates the statue via a systematic marriage performance between the goddess effigy and the local community. This performance includes a consecration in which the goddess statue becomes imbued with the goddess’s essence, followed by a meat feast, unusual for a local religious goddess. The goddess thus becomes the village’s protector and disaggregates into two distinct personae and relationalities: an idol (ouxiang) of worship and a “newly married bride” (peiou). Casting the goddess as a bride, and soon afterward identifying her as the “ritual mother” of local newborns, establishes “Chinese ritual kinship” with locals. The kaiguang ritual is thus analogous to a wedding, mobilizing physiological alchemy in the service of human and natural fertility.

  3. 3.ON THE SHORE (NA BŘEHU) 2022

    Milan Durňak
    University of Pardubice, Czech Republic

    The anthropological film Na břehu/On the Shore is a probe into the life of the Czech national lacrosse team, which participated in the 2019 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships in British Columbia. The film follows the process of generational change of players, the formation of the collective identity of the group, the everyday life of the tournament over three weeks and its impact on the physical and mental condition of the team. The authors also open up the topic of professional and amateur sport.

    The use of participant observation allows the audience to experience the specific sporting reality of the Czech national team. At the same time, the film leads to a reflection on transnationalism in sport and its manifestations in top international competitions. The image of the sporting event is also created through a network of other actors who, through their actions, directly and indirectly shape its complex form. From a visual-anthropological point of view, the film is specific in its use of a collaborative approach, which consists, among other things, in a constant creative dialogue. Within it, the authors seek to reflect the carnal experience of the national team and convey it to audiences outside the lacrosse sport community. The fatigue and exhaustion of the players from the long and demanding tournament schedule is thus translated into the duration of the film.

  4. The Wancho Animation Workshop and the Story of the Gourd (2022)

    Tara Douglas
    Adivasi Arts Trust, U.K

    An Animation Workshop brought a group of young people from a Wancho village in remote Arunachal Pradesh to Shillong to collaborate with scholars at North-Eastern Hill University, students and faculty from design schools across India and several independent young designers from NE region. During the workshop, the eclectic team achieved the planning for a short animated film titled "The Wancho Story of the Gourd". The documentary film presents a discussion about tribal culture, the oral storytelling traditions and the processes of translation and adaptation for the audio-visual medium.

    The Wancho Animation Workshop and the Story of the Gourd was premiered at Kamhua Noknu village, Arunachal Pradesh on 5 Dec 2021.

  5. At the moment of death (Moute Rang) 2022

    Ajay Raina
    Post Grad Diploma – FTII, Nirma University, India

    After the mass exodus of Hindus in 1990, only about 3000 remain in Kashmir.

    Following his earlier award-winning film about the exodus in 2001 (Tell them, the tree they had planted has now grown), the filmmaker revisits Kashmir to follow a group of local activists who travel all across the Kashmir valley to document their vanishing—they meticulously archive their cultural and spiritual history, their traditional festivals and an ancient way of life. This film chronicles the process of extinction and the struggle to stay alive.
* (Screening of the confirmed films is subjected to registration)