This session focuses on "handcrafted anthropological films"— films with negligible budgets that engage questions within anthropology. Discussants will explore the challenges of sustaining a filmmaking practice amidst demands of mainstream academia and conventional media models.
In film festivals and classrooms, boundaries between highly produced documentary films with ethnographic content and films exploring anthropological questions are often blurred. The increasing appropriation of ethnographic film by production companies raises questions about the possibilities and place for filmmaking as part of the anthropological project. What is lost by meeting the expectations of mainstream media -- both in budget and in terms of inquiry? Is there a future for ethnographic film that resists the demand for work made with high production values?
This session focuses on what we term ‘handcrafted anthropological films’—that is, films made with negligible budgets and dedicated to exploring questions and debates within anthropology. How can this kind of work be supported? Where can it be screened? In this session, discussants will explore the challenges of sustaining a filmmaking practice amidst the demands of mainstream academia and the pressure to conform to conventional media models.
Twenty-five years ago, David MacDougall highlighted the distinction between films about anthropology and anthropological films. It remains a central issue for ethnographic filmmakers today. Taking craft as a central concept, we will explore its significance in shaping a distinctive visual and multimodal anthropology.
Accepted papers:Session 1 Friday 10 March, 2023, -
Anna Grimshaw (Emory University)
Sydney Silverstein (Boonshoft School of Medicine, Wright State University)