Ethnographic film festival launches 10th edition tonight

Ethnographic film festival launches 10th edition tonight

Documentary lovers and anthropology enthusiasts alike will feel right at home at Cinéma du Parc tonight. That's where the tenth edition of the student-run International Ethnographic Film Festival of Quebec (FIFEQ) will kick off with a screening of Orania, made by German director Tobias Linder.

The film opens a window onto the lives of the 800 inhabitants of Orania, a South African town in its Northern Cape province. All those who reside in Orania are Boers (white Afrikaans), who refuse to engage in the multicultural Rainbow Nation that South Africa has become since the end of apartheid in 1994. Instead, they choose to preserve their way of life in isolation. 

With 30 or so screenings at three universities between today and March 17, there is a film at FIFEQ for everyone. As the films are grouped by topic, a movie-goer with an affinity for memory and aging or an interest in spirituality would do well to attend Friday's screenings at McGill University. An ethnographist who is looking to push the boundaries of the field, on the other hand, would perhaps find Sunday's grouping of six experimental films at Concordia more appealing.

With films on such a wide range of topics and approaches being presented at the festival, organizers have set up a panel discussion to broach the question of "What is an ethnographic film?" on March 14, with Manon Barbeau and Mylène Guay of the mobile video production studio Wapikoni Mobile, Alexandre Enkerli of the ArtNet project and Philippe Messier, a doctoral student in anthropology at McGill University.

It's no accident that the festival also showcases student-made films; it's organized by students in partnership with the Montreal universities and the Université Laval in Quebec City. FIFEQ is solid proof of the creative energy that Montreal students, including Indecent Xposure's own Christelle Saint-Julien, bring to this city.

Orania screens tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Cinéma du Parc. Ticket prices for opening night are $11.50, or $8.50 for those under 25. All other FIFEQ events are free of charge. To learn more about the festival and to consult their line-up, visit www.fifeq.ca.

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