The festival format usually follows a spectacle logic, and so it is expected that every new festival edition has to be bigger and more attractive, or maybe that is just the commercial logic of the market that luckily we do not depend on. We are a small festival team that represents a rare and almost invisible niche of ethnographic film, so we do not depend on the market spectacle and we can afford conceptual experiments like the one we did this year. The competition programme based on the selection of films gathered through an open call was substituted by the direct selection of films from the authors we wanted to present, which means that there will be fewer films altogethe Although (as a test) we gave up on an open call and festival competition, our film selection gathers a specific range of films that we can use to recognise new movements in ethnographic film. We are interested in reflexive films that are open to genre hybridity and experiment, ethics of representation are still more relevant for us than aesthetics, and in film content we always search for the justification of its form and vice versa.
The film A Început Ploaia by Michele Lancione is a result of a two year long activistic engagement in protest against eviction of the Roma population in Bucharest. On the other hand, the film Dolce Vita by Ana Trebše captures the displacement of a young couple to the island of Kaprije and their involvement in the life of a small village. Both films were chosen because they are realized in close interaction with the community whose everyday life is portrayed.
We still insist on films that critically examine the role of filmmaker and surpass fixed representation of those being filmed. In the film Happy People (Within a Walled World) Josefien van Kooten and Anna Witte reflect their own positions while documenting the refugee crisis in Greece. The film And-Ek Ghes is made as a collaboration between Philip Scheffner and Colorado Velcu and it tackles the limits between filmmaker and his subject. It multiplies different views and opens space for narration in which the subject becomes the director of his own film.
We are continuing the collaboration with artists whose films contain elements of ethnographic film. We will present the film Monument by Igor Grubić, an observation of the relation between anti-fascist monuments and nature. Almost Nothing by Ana Hušman is focused on grasping the relations between the natural and the cultivated in the island landscape.
Besides the anthropological point of view, tourism is an interesting topic for us as ETNOFILm festival collides with the beginning of the tourist season in Rovinj. The film Tourism! by Tonći Gaćina is an authorial comment on the paradoxes of Croatian tourism and the film Highway Rest Stop by Isabelle Ingold reveals the invisible side of rest stops on the motorway in the north of France.
This year, an even bigger emphasis is given to the discussion between the filmmakers and the audience, as this aspects has, through the years, proven to be the most valuable. Considering the fact that we wish to create a place for interaction between anthropologists, documentarists and other authorial approaches, we see moderated discussion with the gathered authors as an opportunity for interdisciplinary dialogue as well as a way to bring ethnographic film closer to our local Rovinj audience and our international guests.