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Ethnocineca 2017 Review

In its eleventh edition in 2017, ethnocineca once again united international documentary cinema in Vienna. Together with the audience and numerous international filmmakers as well as guests from the field of the arts and science, the festival celebrated – with an additional seventh day – the great variety of contemporary documentary film and ethnographic film in particular.

Our main program and the five award sections contained 54 films altogether. The winners of the three awards IDA, EVA and ADA were selected by our much-appreciated juries, while the audience decided on the best film in the program for our up-and-coming filmmakers, the ethnocineca Student Shorts Award (ESSA). Our newly established International Shorts Award (ISA), the winner of which will also be selected by the audience, formed a new highlight in this year's program during the award ceremony. In the comprehensive side program, which contained the annual keynote lecture, a panel discussion, a masterclass and several film-discussions, we invited the audience to join a deepening form of debate about documentary film and especially about this year’s festival focus, Radical Minds.

Click here or on the picture to the right for our complete Review. We wish you a pleasant summer and we will be back in autumn with the call for films for our 2018 festival edition!




Winners of Ethnocineca 2017

International Documentary Award (IDA):
VALENTINA by Maximilian Feldmann

Jurystatement: The film Valentina is a gentle portrait of a remarkable girl, living at the margins of society. It is the kind of margin that is to a large extent unknown to us, because we prefer to look away instead of being confronted with the reality of life of the Roma people. The International Documentary Award goes to a film that captivates us through its impartiality, its honesty and not least, through its outstanding camera work. The jury congratulates the director and his team for a moving and demanding oeuvre and wishes them all the best for their future work.

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Excellence in Visual Anthropology Award (EVA):
Moritz Siebert, Estephan Wagner, Abou Bakar Sidibé 

Jurystatement: The film is using a participatory approach (by handing the camera over to the main protagonist) and addresses a topic (migration) that are recurrently dealt with by many contemporary filmmakers (ethnographic and not) – yet Les Sauters offers a fairly unique insider perspective on the perils of border-crossing in today’s world. This film offers a valuable counterexample to many speculative documentaries which also attempt to address the question of migration and border-crossing. It is empathic, yet never rhetorical, and depicts the exercise of hope and repetition that engages large parts of the world’s population today.

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Austrian Documentary Award (ADA):
Helin Celik, Martin Klingenböck

Jurystatement: A kitchen is built, a vegetable garden set up and Easter eggs are painted. However idyllic this scenario seems, supported by remarkable camera work, a kind of frank, poetic imagery, the circumstances are tragic. The film takes us into the daily life of a refugee camp and approaches its protagonists with incredible gentleness. The people there tell us of their narrow escape, their anxiety, their suffering, but also of their hopes and desires. Uncertainty eats away at them, so much so that the little joys of their daily lives become even more significant. And the film insists on showing these little joys.

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International Shorts Award (ISA):
RAKIJADA by Nikola Ilic

Audience Award. From the heart of Serbia comes a story of an Eastern Asterix and Obelix saga: Pranjani is a small village in central Serbia. Locals earn their living abroad or as farmers. Many count themselves among the Chetniks, Serbian patriots and WWII resistance fighters. So far, so normal. But every May, the Rakijada takes place - a championship that is all about who can drink the most, balance on wooden poles and brew the best magic potion – Rakija, plum brandy. A portrait of a sleepy village that shines a new light on the Serbian soul, while never losing sight of the typical humour of the Balkans.

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Ethnocineca Student Shorts Award (ESSA):
FUCK WHITE TEARS by Annelie Boros

Audience Award. With the intent to make a film about the protest movement, Annelie Bros travels to Cape Town in South Africa. When she arrives, the students turn her away: they don't want her, as a white person, to make a film about this Black protest movement. The filmmaker wants to understand why and shows us a film of a film that she couldn’t make.  This is about the centuries-old imbalance of power in South Africa, deep-rooted rascism, 20 years after the end of Apartheid, and ultimately film-making itself. 

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