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ETHNOCINECA 2019

Welcome to cutting edge documentary cinema! From 23. – 29. May 2019, ethnocineca – International Documentary Film Festival Vienna presents the diversity of international documentary film art in Vienna. The 13th festival edition presents a programme that addresses current issues of political, social and cultural coexistence. With 59 films, numerous film talks and an extensive side programme, international filmmakers and social scientists, we invite you to engage with the world through the medium of film.

This year’s festival focus AT RISK attends to politically controversial, socially critical and deeply personal documentaries. Often filmmakers and their protagonists take high personal risks and endanger themselves to get their stories on screen. It is precisely these courageous productions that allow us to learn about the personal destinies of „others“ and to look beyond our own familiar life-worlds.

We have chosen films that respond to burning questions of our time and negotiate controversial topics in all their complexity: political hierarchies and power are juxtaposed with social utopias, economic principles with envisioned alternatives. Questions of future ecologies are met with visionary insight and cultural and religious boundaries are challenged by personal stories. Gender equality and sexuality are negotiated multi-dimensionally. What does it mean for people to be involved in front of and behind the camera and how can they address these questions from their respective life situations? These are some of the questions we address in this year’s side-programme.


We open with a keynote lecture by Dr. Eva van Roekel, filmmaker and anthropologist at the University of Amsterdam. In her talk Filmmakers at Risk she discusses opportunities and dangers of shared documentary filmmaking in politically precarious circumstances. Based on her own research with convicted Argentine military personnel, she invites us to critically questioning collaborative filmmaking. In this year’s masterclass, Ziad Khaltoum, who is visiting ethnocineca for the second time, allows us to gain insight into his experiences and challenges as a filmmaker in the Syrian war. He demonstrates how one can create politically significant and deeply personal contemporary documentaries about war and its consequences.

In the Worldmuseum, filmmakers Giorgio Ferrero and Alexander Hick will engage in a discussion about the risks of globalisation and the capitalist growth paradigm. We explore aesthetic, narrative and cinematic approaches to discuss a globalised economy, its implications for our climate and the people affected by it. In a film talk on After Prayers with filmmaker Simone Mestroni and cultural and social anthropologist Ulrike Davis-Sulikowski we explore the flows from poetry to riots, resistance and memory through historical and deeply personal experiences that are embedded in Mestroni’s documentary. Finally, on the last day of the festival seven films of this year’s ethnocineca filmworkshop At Risk in the City will celebrate their world premiere in the presence of the workshop participants.

We cordially invite you to join us, our guests and their films in the discovery of new worlds and perspectives. In the name of the entire team we wish you enjoyable screenings, exciting discussions and a stimulating festival!