VI International Festival of Visual Anthropology "Mediating Camera" took place on the 7-12 October, in Moscow. The main purpose of the Festival, according to its name, is creating the dialogue of cultures, mutual understanding and respect between the different peoples and confessions, and, consequently, preventing ethnic and religious conflicts. Films of visual anthropologists are notable for the harmonious combination of scientific knowledge and cinema art.
The Festival founders and organizers are Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) and the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of Russian Academy of Sciences (IEA RAS). Russian State University for the Humanities (RSUH), Moscow House of Nationalities and Community Center of the Eastern District of Moscow "Mossovet" also took part in bringing the Festival to existence.
The desire to participate in the festival "Mediating Camera”-2012 declared 150 authors representing all the continents of the world. 35 best films about peoples’ life in Australia, Cambodia, Argentina, Cameroon, India, China, other countries and also various regions of Russia were selected for screenings.
The viewings were followed by lively discussions, whilst the audience had the opportunity to ask their questions to visual anthropologists (directly or via Skype).
The festival was started with the Russian-Norwegian seminar. Evgeny Aleksandrov read the lecture about Russian contribution to visual anthropology. Oksana Vasilchikova (Master in Visual Cultural Studies at the University of Tromso) talked about educational opportunities in Norway.
During the festival three Master classes took place at the Russian State University for the Humanities. The directors of the Festival «Contro Sguardi» Andrea Ravenda and Fabrizio Loce-Mandes (Italy) presented the results of their studies with methods of visual anthropology in the lecture «”Sick of Coal”. Visual annotations for a dark energy ethnography in the South-East Border of Italy». The seminar by a Canadian Professor Nevenka Redzic Toth «CINEMA EYE: Raison d’etre for visual anthropology. Scientasts as «a man with the movie camera» in visual anthropology» dealt with a crucial problem. Tamara Nikolic Deric – the director of the «ETNOFILm» festival, shared with Moscow colleagues her own experience in organizing festivals in Croatia.
There were also three special programs («Traditional Culture in a Globalizing world: the Historical Heritage and Tourism», «The Ancient Religios and Culturies in the Contemporary World», «History and Culture of Old Belivers») and the workshop that were held in the Moskow House of Nationalities.
The main intrigue of the festival "Mediating Camera" was the debut competition. Names of the winners among debutants were nominated at the festival closing ceremony. Grand prize was given to Japanese ethnomusicologist ITO Satoru for his film «Creation and Chanting of Lik Yaat» about a traditional Buddhist ritual in Chinese province Yunnan. The second prize was given to the film «Unravel» by Meghna Gupta (India) about a group of Indian workers engaged in the recycling of Western clothes. The third place was shared between films «Radonitsa» by Julia Kovalchuk, Russia (Novosibirsk) (about Belarusian village in Siberia) and «Shooting Freetown» by Kieran Hanson, United Kingdom (about the life of young artists in post-war Sierra Leone).
Additionally two remarkable works from the main program were awarded with special prizes: «Back from Jupiter» by Erik Stromdahl (Sweden) and «Cholita Libre: If You Don’t Fight, You’ve Already Lost» by Jana Richter (Germany).
Traditionally the last day of the festival was dedicated to the workshop conference held in the MHN. Russian researchers reported on their latest research using the methods of visual anthropology.
The festival holds on the voluntary basis, this fact determines its creative style and openness for many different forms of cooperation. There were students of Lomonosov MSU and post-graduates of IEA RAS who took most active part in its preparation and holding. They translated the subtitles for the films and helped interpretations during the demonstration as well as undertook a lot of organizational problems. The Festival was supported by the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Italian Institute of Culture in Moscow, Goethe-Institut in Moscow, the Cervantes Institute in Moscow, the Embassy of Sweden, the Embassy of Norway, STMEGI Foundation and others.
The organizers hope, that the Festival will be able to become another step in the popularization of visual anthropology. With this purpose there are planned a series of film screenings and discussions at various venues in Moscow and other Russian cities, including Samara, Vladimir, Khanty-Mansiysk, Pskov and Ufa.
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