Report of the Selection Committe

Report of the Selection Committee of the 26th International Festival of Ethnological Film

 

The Selection Committee of the 26th International Festival or Ethnological Film received 160 submissions. The Selection Committee reviewed 42 films produced in Serbia, 25 student films and 93 international films. The Selection Committee reviewed the films between 1 June and 15 June 2017.

A large number of films that can be classified as anthropological describe the political context of the times in which we live and are engaged in terms of the struggle for human rights, with particular emphasis on identity problems. It has been observed that many festival submissions revisit gender roles and sexuality in various ethnic and religious communities, taking an analytical approach to society’s, religion’s and family’s attitudes to individuals of different sexual orientations. That is why the Committee has selected two films dealing with very similar topics – one to be included in the Competition Programme and the other for the Student Programme.

 

Most films share a documentary format, the length between 60 and 90 minutes, but there are also films reaching up 120 minutes in length. Some of them are good films that have been included in the Competition Programme due to their topicality, compliance with the Festival’s genre and their cinematographic expression. Similarly to the previous editions of the Festival, there is a great imbalance in the quality and quantity of local and international films. The vast majority of international films meet all professional standards and deliver a remarkable cinematographic expression. Quite oppositely, in dealing with local films, the Selection Committee has encountered an inappropriate approach to important topics, complete absence of cinematographic expression and means, and an incomplete structure of submitted works. On the other hand, it is possible to find films that fully meet the requirements that a film as a means of artistic expression is supposed to meet but their topics significantly depart from the genre of the Festival.

 

In the twenty-sixth edition of the International Festival of Ethnological Film, the Selection Committee has observed a strong tendency towards engaged political films and works that deal with social issues, such as emigration, political exile, problem of gay populations in environments with a strong religious tradition, the position of children in African countries.

 

Upon considering the ethnological and anthropological aspects of the films submitted for the 26th International Festival of Ethnological Film, it is noticed that one part of the local production pursues the reconstruction of what is considered a traditional culture, whereas the other focuses on an ethnographic depiction of real culture and/or telling identity narratives, be they historical or modern. Similar tendencies are also observed in the production of the countries in the Balkan region (Croatia, Romania). International films are highly diversified in terms of themes and content, and this is understandable, keeping in mind the cultural diversity of world cultures. There is an apparent trend marked by the interest in the exotic (not only in terms of displaying cultural phenomena that look extraordinary to the representatives of Western cultures) and in the ethnography of spaces stereotypically considered exotic from the perspective of Western European culture. A number of films among international submissions address current social processes and problems. However, it has been observed that these films do not deal with the defined topic from a strictly speaking anthropological point of view.

 

When selecting films for screening at the Festival, we were guided by the following criteria:

 

1.      Returning the Festival to its original principles, i.e. a more consistent implementation of the genre policy, focusing on as pure as possible ethnological and anthropological film. Over the past several years, the category of ethnographic/anthropological film has been relativized. If we assumed that practically every film that deals with people and shows people is an "anthropological film," it would mean that all other festivals that show people and human problems are anthropological. Ethnology/anthropology still has its clear and precise definition as a scholarly discipline and its spheres and methods of research. Accordingly, the films presented at this Festival should reflect this.

 

2.      Cinematographic aesthetics has imposed itself as another criterion: how successfully a topic is shaped using the cinematographic language; to what extent it complies with its rules; how clear it is; how good its cinematography is; how appealing it is in terms of editing rhythm...

 

3.      It is recommended to the Festival Board to clearly limit in the Festival Regulation the maximum number of films by the same author (three at a maximum), so that authors cannot submit a dozen films, i.e. their annual or multi-year production.

It is necessary that authors and production companies focus on quality – both cinematographic and ethnographic/ethnological/anthropological quality.

 

4.      In accordance with the Statutes, the Committee decided to include in the Competition Programme the film The Last Dance, directed by Diego D'Innocenzo and produced by TERRA Srl, Italy, in 2012. The film is a poetic and deeply moving story of a boy who spent his childhood in a temple studying dance dedicated to gods, in an environment marked by relative existential security in over-populated and poor India. At the threshold of adolescence, a fateful question arises: "What's next? To plunge myself into the insecurity of everyday life in the film and entertainment industry as a professional dancer or continue the journey in one of the many sects?” The film presents outstanding visual quality – excellent cinematography, good image and sound editing, and a coherent ethnological and anthropological story. These features are certainly good recommendations for this film.

 

Having carefully reviewed all submitted films, the Selection Committee has decided to include the following films into the Competition Programme:

 

1. Weaving story (Spain)

2. Grab and run (Spain, Germany)

3. A story of Sahel Sounds (Germany)

4. Curupira  (Portugal)

5. Spirits (Thailand)

6. Our Mountains (Brazil)

7. Kukshel Guys (Russia)

8. In Search of the Shaman (France)

9. Mohamed, the First Name (France)

10. Sacred Water (Belgium)

11.  Guru, a Hijra Family (Belgium, France)

12.  Small people. Big trees (Russia)

13.  Wavrin, from the Manor to the Jungle (Belgium)

14.  How is Your Grandfather? (Germany)

15.  Paa Joe & The Lion (Great Britain)

16.  The Strange Story of Prince Dethmer (France)

17.  The Last Dance (Italy)

18.  Obećanje (Promise) (Serbia, Belgium)

19.  Šanko si Bonka zalibi'
(Šanko Fell in Love with Bonka) (Serbia)

20.  Naši ljudi (Our People) (Serbia)

21. Kao da živimo zajedno
(How to Live Together?) (Serbia)

22.  Nema zadušnica (No Panikhide) (Serbia)

 

The total duration of the selected films is 17 hours.

 

The Selection Committee has included the following films into the Informative Programme:

 

  1. 1. Tama Gaun – the Copper Village (Nepal, Norway)
  2. 2. The Devil's Moves (Spain)
  3. 3. Here Come the Spirits (Czech Republic)
  4. 4. Maria Flies away (Italy)
  5. 5. Ne stidim se sela rođenog
    (I’m not Ashamed of My Home Village) (Croatia)
  6. 6. Pemba returns to Goli (Spain)
  7. 7. Socotra, the Island of Djinns    (Spain)
  8. 8. The Dust of Time (Russia)
  9. 9. Boli Bana (Belgium)
  10. 10. The Women of Warm Hands (Mexico)
  11. 11. Among Houses and the Cosmos (Norway)
  12. 12. The Girls' Club (Italy)
  13. 13. Colours of the Alphabet (Great Britain, Zambia)
  14. 14. Oskara (Spain)
  15. 15. Future, It's far too big (Italy)
  16. 16. Gentle Roots (Romania)
  17. 17. LebanonWins the World Cup (Lebanon)
  18. 18. Ballad for Syria (Turkey, Syria)
  19. 19. Razgovori pokraj puta: Rade Vujić
    (Talks by the Road: Rade Vujić) (Serbia)
  20. 20. Razgovori pokraj puta: Bosa Vasiljević
    (Talks by the Road: Bosa Vasiljević) (Serbia)
  21. 21. Kazandžija vatru založio (Brazier Lit a Fire) (Serbia)
  22. 22. Nunta (Serbia)
  23. 23. Golubinačke mačkare (Golubinci Carnival)   (Serbia)
  24. 24. Udruženje mirazdžija (Son-in-law’s Society) (Serbia)
  25. 25. Dok jaganjci ne utihnu
    (Until the Lambs Get Silenced) (Serbia)
  26. 26. Sedamdeset kuća – nigde nikog
    (Seventy homes – No People) (Serbia)
  27. 27. Ljope na škrip (Creacking Shoes) (Serbia)

 

The total duration of the selected films is20 hours.

 

The Selection Committee has included the following films into the Student Programme:

 

1. Dress-scapes of Accra (Ghana)

2. Gezoindelach (Israel)

3. Dust (Nepal)

4. Ladies of my Family (Japan)

5. Swamp Dialogues (Norway, Romania)

6. The Feel of History (Norway)

7. Carpe Diem (Macedonia)

8. Nije život jedna žena
(There’s more of Life than a Woman) (Serbia)

9. The Simphony of Skopje (Macedonia)

                                                                                                         

The total duration of the selected films is five hours.

 

Belgrade, 16 June 2017.

Vesna Dušković

Prof. Dr. Ljiljana Gavrilović