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Keynote & Opening Party


Thursday, 04.05.2017, 7 pm | Votiv Kino, Gr.Saal 

KEYNOTE | Dr. Michaela Schäuble, Assistant Professor for Social Anthropology with emphasis on Media Anthropology at University Bern


Times as these, when there is much talk about “fake news”, “alternative facts” and “post-truth” entail an increased demand for evidence, factuality and realism in public consciousness. And indeed, documentary film is currently thriving and increasingly appears to be the genre of choice for those committed to ‘truth’, as documentary is still believed to possess a more direct connection to ‘the real’. Thorough research, verification, and documentation are skills in high demand and a number of recent documentary films aim at disclosing confidential information, raising (political) awareness or giving voice to unheard, marginalised groups.

In the introduction to an edited volume on Collecting Visible Evidence, Jane M. Gaines proclaimed in 1999: “The Real Returns” (Gaines 1999: 1-18). But how many times can ‘the real’ return in film history? And where has it been it in the meantime? 

In my keynote address I propose to critically examine cinematic realism and discuss documentary film as a democratic art form. In doing so, I do not refer to objectifying documentaries as tools informed by scientific rationality or empirical facts – documentary film is never just a factual record or a representation of events, but potentially instrumental for political commitment, participation, and radical socio-political transformation. Rather, challenging realist aesthetics and engaging with the seemingly contradictory observation that the greatest realist films employ emotions and narrative ambiguity, I draw on André Bazin’s famous claim that “some measure of realism must always be sacrificed in the effort of achieving it” (Bazin 1967: 30). After decades of radical constructivism the most radical objective of documentary film is to tackle the realities beyond the reach of constructivism.

Keynote held in Englisch.

Thursday, 04.05.2017, 10 pm | Votiv Kino, Café & Foyer


We’re inviting everybody after our opening film to join us for our official festival opening party in the café and the foyer of the Votiv Kino.

With wonderful wine – provided by Family Ebinger – and a small buffet we want to celebrate the festival opening together with our sponsors, filmmakers, audience and the whole team. In old ethnocineca tradition, we’re also proud to offer Austrian Schnaps from Theresia and Josef Berger.

The evening’s musical highlight will be Julian Horn (Club Atlantis), turning his turntables for a vibrant start in the festival week.