Festival aims

The principal aims of the Festival include:

  • providing a high-profile international forum to increase the accessibility of anthropological films to academic, media professionals and the public
  • screening outstanding recent works in ethnographic film and related documentary genres and unreleased or rare films
  • showcasing the work of young filmmakers in these genres
  • exploring new trends and their influence upon one another and on visual anthropology
  • providing a marketing platform for international and British productions
  • building connections and promoting discussion across the global community of visual anthropology
  • promoting cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue through ethnographic film
  • contributing to intercultural dialogue and raising awareness of, and within, local communities.

A special objective of the 13th edition is to bring together not only academic anthropologists and professional film-makers from all over the world, but also scholars and experts, and members of the public, particularly from Edinburgh, Aberdeen and St. Andrews, Scotland.


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