Around the World in 90 Films

Plan your days! Explore the full film and sessions programme with prize screenings, workshops, special events. Consult the interactive map of film locations in 38 countries.
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The Royal Anthropological Institute is pleased to announce that the following Film Prizes have been awarded at the 12th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film, London, 23rd - 26th June 2011.

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11th RAI Film Festival, 2009
CTCC, Leeds Metropolitan University

10th RAI Film Festival, 2007
GCVA, The University of Manchester

7th RAI Film Festival, 2000
SOAS, University of London

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British Library, BLCC FOYLE Learning Centre; Thursday 10:00-17:00

Welcome and Introduction: Richard Ranft  (Head of Sound and Vision at the British Library)
Session 1: Whose Film is it Anyway?

Joint presentation with Janet Topp Fargion and Chris Morrison

Chris Morrison, the British Library’s Copyright Assurance Manager provides an overview of copyright law and how it relates to providing access to Library collection items. The presentation is focussed on anthropological and other non-mainstream audio visual material, the barriers that the current legal system presents and some of the best practice approaches that the Library has adopted.

Biog: Chris Morrison is the Copyright Assurance Manager at the British Library and is responsible for ensuring best practice with regard to management of intellectual property rights and developing the Library’s intellectual property policy. He has been with the Library for 18 months and previously worked in the music industry, holding a number of positions at copyright collecting society PRS for Music ranging from Copyright Manager to Online Licensing Manager.

Biog: Dr Janet Topp Fargion is an ethnomusicologist with primary research interests in South Africa and the Swahili coast. She has published articles and recordings on the gumboot dance and on taarab music from these regions respectively. She is currently curator of World and Traditional Music at the British Library, a position she took up in 1994, where she has responsibility for the collection, preservation and dissemination of published and unpublished recordings of traditional music from all around the world. She is currently serving on IASA’s Executive Board as Editor and is an active member of IASA's Research Archive Section.

Intellectual Property and the Safeguarding of Traditional Cultures.
Brigitte Vézina (Legal Officer, WIPO, Geneva, Switzerland)

Synopsis: Normative and capacity-building programmes are underway at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to develop balanced and appropriate legal and practical means to protect the innovations and creative expressions of indigenous and local communities. Archives, like many cultural institutions whose collections comprise traditional cultural expressions (TCEs), have become pivotal spaces where debates opposing holders, curators and users can be examined, and potentially resolved. Archivists often have a first-hand experience with addressing IP and TCE issues, which may range from prior informed consent, acknowledgement, digitization, to benefit-sharing, etc. The WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) is a negotiating body discussing the international IP protection of TCEs and traditional knowledge, and the IP issues related to genetic resources. Some provisions could potentially be of interest to anthropological filmmakers, archivists and other researchers, who are important users and preservers of TCEs.

Brigitte Vézina
Legal Officer, Traditional Creativity, Cultural Expressions and Cultural Heritage Section, Traditional Knowledge Division, World Intellectual Property Organization

Brigitte Vézina is the legal officer at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on intellectual property (IP) issues related to traditional cultural expressions (TCEs). Upon joining WIPO in July 2006, she first worked in the Creative Industries Division, where she examined the contribution of the creative industries to national economies. Until June 2006, she worked for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, in their copyright department. She started her career as a lawyer with the Montreal-based IP law firm Robic. She holds a Master’s in law (LL.M.) from GeorgetownUniversity (2005) and a bachelor’s in law from the Université de Montréal (2002). She was called to the Bar of Québec in 2003. Brigitte speaks French, English, Spanish and German.

Catching up with Gutenberg: how moving image is becoming the new vernacular.
Paul Gerhardt
(Archives for Creativity)
The video explosion on the web is actively shaping a new landscape for the production, distribution and re-use of the moving image. The rapid rise of moving images as the new vernacular is challenging the status of the printed word and forcing us to re-think the current obstacles and restrictions we place on the medium.  How do we address the anxieties around intellectual property, conditional access and creative engagement with our public collections?  Finally - and tentatively - how will these issues engage with media created by anthropologists? and what can we learn from their practice?
Biog: Paul Gerhardt runs the independent consultancy Archives for Creativity working with cultural organisations, public broadcasters and archives to stimulate the educational and creative use of film, television and sound. His career in broadcasting spans the early years of Channel 4 through to senior management at the BBC, where he conceived and led the BAFTA award winning BBC Creative Archive project.  He is currently the co-chair of the Film and Sound Think Tank for JISC, digital archives consultant for Arts Council England, Creative Director for New Deal of the Mind and consultant producer for The Nine Muses, John Akomfrah’s archive based feature film.  He was educated at the University of Hull and received a Doctorate from Oxford University.
Round Table
Chris Morrison, Janet Topp Fargion, Paul Gerhardt, Brigitte Vézina, Michael Eaton
Chair: Susanne Hammacher (RAI Film Officer, Festival Manager)
Biog: Susanne Hammacher is film officer at the Royal Anthropological Institute in London and coordinator of the RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film since 2002. She has been conducting fieldwork in Mexico since 1982 on aspects of market systems, gender and migration, textiles, community museums and audio-visual indigenous media. She is curating and facilitating various screening and outreach projects in London as well as working on the digitisation of the RAI collection. She is member of the steering group of the London Screen Archives.
Michael Eaton, MBE, director of Masks of Mer, introduces his film.
Biog: Michael Eaton has written dramas for the cinema, television, radio and the theatre and has broadcast and lectured widely.  He is currently working on a BBC documentary about Dickens and film.  He studied Social Anthropology as a Senior Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge and, thirty five years later, made The Masks Of Mer, a short documentary about Alfred Haddon and the making of the first ethnographic films in the Torres Straits in 1898.  He was awarded the M.B.E. for Services to Film in the 1999 New Year’s Honours List and is Visiting Professor in the School of Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University.
Masks of Mer
By Michael Eaton, OBE, UK, 2010, 37 minutes

The film by Alfred Haddon made in 1898 in the Torres Straits, lasting for less than a minute, is the world’s first anthropological cinema. The Masks of Mer tells the extraordinary story of this experiment and the masks worn in the sacred initiation ceremony Haddon filmed. And, for the first time since Haddon himself publicly presented the work, his films are ‘synchronised’ with the team’s phonographic recordings of islander’s speech – an experiment which this documentary reproduces.

Post-screen discussion with the director.

Session 2:

Is There Such A Thing As Truth in Visual Anthropology?

In Allakariallak’s Gaze:  the values and limitations of the preserved archival image. What is ‘documentary value’ and at what cost is it bought?
Keynote by Brian Winston (University of Lincoln)

John Grierson pointed to the ‘documentary value’ of Flaherty’s Moana in 1926, thereby not only identifying a film genre — the documentary — but also creating vexed ethical problems for filmmakers, participants and audiences. Grierson makes an implicit claim for the film’s ‘truth’ which is both difficult, if not impossible, of achievement and is anyway freighted with moral dilemmas when attempted. Within documentary no where are these difficulties more starkly encountered than with ethnographic film. The more the truthfulness of the film record is claimed — and nowhere are claims for documentary’s value more stressed than with anthropology — the greater the problems. What, then, are the archive’s ‘truths’ and who owns them?

Biog: Brian Winston has been involved with documentary since he joined Granada UK’s World In Action in 1963.  In 1985, he won a US prime-time Emmy for documentary scriptwriting (for WNET, New York). He has written extensively on the documentary including several books  (e.g. Lies, Damn Lies & Documentaries, 2000 and Claiming the Real II – Documentary: Grierson and Beyond, 2009). He has been a governor of the British Film Institute (and is currently editing The BFI Documentary Companion), and a Grierson Trustee. A feature-length documentary on Robert Flaherty A Boatload of Wild Irishmen, which he wrote, has just been released.
Coffee Break
Session 3: Future Archives
Moving images at the British Library: integration and investigation.
Luke McKernan (Lead Curator, Moving Image at the British Library)

Moving images are a new area for the British Library. Our interest is not in the medium for its own sake, but as it complements other subject areas, and we are keen to integrate moving image content alongside the books, journals, newspapers, maps, images and other knowledge resources held by the Library. However, although we are building up our moving image capability in selected areas, such as ethnomusicology, drama and oral history, we are developing plans with other moving image institutions that may significantly enhance the offering that we can make to researchers. Whatever the source, integration is key.

Biog: Luke McKernan is Lead Curator, Moving Image at the British Library. He is an historian of early and non-fiction film, and has written books on newsreels, films in the 1890s and Shakespearean cinema.

Intangible heritage – music, performance and dance, in sound, film and text in the British Library.
Isobel Clouter (Curator of World and Traditional Music at the British Library)

Since the early ‘constructions’ of ‘sound films’ the aim to reproduce through the image and the soundtrack an accurate representation of the way in which we perceive the world in sound and vision has remained core to documentary values. In the world of archives these different parts are often stored separately; film in one archive, sound in another and notes and photographs yet more separate still. The reunification of these separate parts in the digital age is just beginning and it is at this exciting juncture that we find ourselves presented with the possibility that future archives can create “new truths” in anthropological research. A preview of the recently digitised films in Arnold Bake’s collection C52, and C1074 Peggy Harper and Frank Speed’s Nigerian dances will be included in the presentation.

Biog: Isobel Clouter is a curator of World and Traditional Music at the British Library, with primary interests in acoustic and visual ethnography. Past research in acoustic ecology, creative field-recording and acoustic phenomena has resulted in BBC and Resonance FM radio broadcasts and publications on cd and in print.  Isobel was the instigator of the British Library UK soundmap, a public engagement project which sought to document the UK soundscape through the use of mobile recording technology.


The new system of digital access to moving images in the Hungarian Museum of Ethnography.
Janos Tari (Head of department of the Hungarian Ethnographical Museum, Filmstudio and Archiv)

Motion picture audiovisual documentation was considered an important achievement of early ethnological research in the first decades of the 20th century, particularly since the technology of the time and the level of technical development did not yet allow the general spread of up-to-date visual documentation. The most important task of audiovisual archives is to keep a record of the audiovisual documents, preserve and restore them and provide access to them. By the end of the 20th century it was obvious that the great quantity of motion picture material accumulated could only be made available for research and to the general public with digitisation and the development of a special search system meeting visual requirements (enabling searches to be made in the films on the basis of visual motifs, themes and keywords).With the help of a tender the Museum of Ethnography has developed this programme and created a complex multi-purpose digital database for its motion picture collection.

Biog: Janos Tari, is Head of department of the Hungarian Ethnographical Museum Filmstudio and Archiv. Janos has been directing and shooting documentary films as a cameraman in different subjects, organizing an exhibition on the history of ethnographic cinema and editing a multi media and INTERNET ethnographic film catalogue of the Ethnographic Museum, as well as co-working in the restoration project of archival ethnographic film records digitalization.


Ethnographic film, customary law and indigenous video archives in Quiché, Guatemala.
Carlos Y Flores (Mexico, Anthropologist & Filmmaker)

This paper explores the uses of indigenous video archives on customary law practices in the municipality of Santa Cruz del Quiché, Guatemala, for the production of ethnographic films. While the original footage is conceived within k’iche’ communities as records of confessions of local criminals and ways of teaching other members of the community about Mayan law practices, the ethnographic films resulting from these practices and original material are resignified at an academic, and global political level. This raises a number of issues about the relationships between academic forms of archiving and knowledge production and the communities themselves.

Biog: Carlos Y. Flores has a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Manchester, UK, where he specialized in visual anthropology at the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology.  He has published numerous articles on visual anthropology, political violence and processes of community reconstruction in the Maya region. He has also collaborated on indigenous community video projects in Guatemala, Chiapas and Mexico City. Carlos Y. Flores is currently working at the Department of Anthropology at the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos in Mexico.


Breaking films to make them whole – new approaches to the Powell-Cotton Angolan Film Archive.
Catherine Moore (ESRC funded PhD student based at the Powell-Cotton Museum in Kent)

Working with an ethnographic film archive shot in the 1930’s in Angola and Namibia my desire to innovate is rooted in ethnographic research with the source community and through recording their contemporary responses to the archive. This research prompted me to no longer think of the films as linear, singular, units but as a mass of possible connections, relationships and juxtapositions. Filming responses and combining them with original footage also meant the archive needed to be able to visibly grow and flex. This led me to develop a flexible and visually satisfying form of archive display/database that allows the viewer to create their own route through the archive, a prototype of this display will be demonstrated during the session.

Biog: Catherine Moore is an ESRC funded PhD student based at the Powell-Cotton Museum in Kent, her research has developed into a Heritage Lottery Funded project that will place the ethnographic film archive at the centre of a new exhibition.
Closing Remarks
Workshop ends



The RAI Film Festival will be held in central London at University College London’s new Roberts Building, Torrington Place, WC1E 7JE.