Powell Still The Edge Of The World

A note about the poster and lead image for the 13th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film

The poster for the 13th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film is based on a film still from the 1937 Michael Powell film The Edge of the World. The film chronicles the decline of traditional lifestyles on remote islands in Scotland. The film was made on the island of Foula in the Shetland Isles, although it was inspired by the evacuation of St. Kilda. Mystical and nostalgic, the film describes the beauty of the Scottish landscape, the pull of modernization and the mainland, and the personal conflicts that result. The Edge of the World bridges art and anthropology. Although a professionally made fiction film, it involved local cast and required cast and crew to live on Foula. The still is of the moment when one of central characters dramatically goes over the edge. By referencing this film, the poster locates the festival within Scottish filmmaking traditions as well as asking questions about fact and fiction, about folklore and social change.

The poster was illustrated and designed by Matthew Carey Simos, an Edinburgh based illustrator and printmaker. He has taken Powell’s still as the starting point for a lino print which he then coloured in digitally. www.matthewcareysimos.com


Organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland (RAI) since 1985, it is an itinerant festival that moves biennially from one university host to another, in association with local community and cultural organisations.

The festival will be held from Thursday 13 June to Sunday 16 June 2013 in Edinburgh, hosted by National Museums Scotland and the STAR consortium. Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) is a collaboration between the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and St. Andrews. Over 60 new films will be screened alongside a conference 'New Observations' and a selection of special events and workshop about art & anthropology and the use of archival film.

The RAI Film Festival is held in collaboration with the Center for Visual Anthropology, University of Southern California.

Our Sponsors

The Festival gratefully acknowledges sponsorship from:

UDDA NMS SSGS ED Unversity of Aberdeen StAndrews WILEY