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Accepted Paper:

Ethnographic Film Festivals in Germany - what do we see?  


Baerbel Hoegner

Paper short abstract:

In 2020 Germany will host two ethnographic film festivals. The paper analyses the discourses during these events and to what extend new visual technologies influenced the selected films.

Paper long abstract:

Since 1994 the German International Ethnographic Film Festival takes place every two years. After two interim presentations in 2016 and 2018 in Koblenz, the organisers decided to continue once again in Göttingen (May 2020). In addition, the new Two Rivers Festival of Cross-Cultural Documentary Cinema (June 2020) has emerged in collaboration with the Institute of Cultural Studies at Koblenz University. Both festivals invite for the submission of films produced after 2017 and place special emphasis on students productions. Hence, visitors will see new and contemporary productions. While the Göttingen festival with its long "tradition" invites filmmakers that look at socio-cultural processes in a wide sense of the term, Koblenz intends to explore the possibilities of audio-visual forms of representation beyond conventional formats. Based on participant observation of the two settings the paper will explore the topics and regions, as well as visual styles, forms of narration and discourses on visual ethnography to be found and expressed during these festivals. Using the two events as representations of exemplary current ethnographic filmmaking, the summary aims at clarifying to what extend new visual technologies influenced the outcome of the screened films. Of particular interest is the notion of an "exotic gaze": May it be applied to some - or many? - of the presentations, did it play a role among the criteria for the selection of the productions, and how do viewers experience and discuss the issue?

Panel P089
Ethnography and new 'habitus' of visual productions