Royal Anthropological Institute 14th International Ethnographic Film Festival in Los Angeles 4th-6th March 2016 at University of Southern California

  • USC venue of the 2015 RAI film festival in Bristol will showcase showings of all prize winners from Bristol (SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT WARNING). Additional possible selections from Bristol June 16-19th 2015 as available for US showings have not yet been determined.  

The prize winning films at The 14th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film listed below will be screened at the Los Angeles venue:


LOS ANGELES VENUE sponsored by USC CENTER FOR VISUAL ANTHROPOLOGY. Screenings Friday, Saturday & Sunday, March 4-6th, 2016. All screenings at Seeley G. Mudd Hall [SGM}on USC campusVermont Avenue Entrance at 36th Place (Gate #6).



Scroll down to view selections screened at the 2014 venue of the 13th International Ethnographic Film Festival of the Royal Anthropological Institute

PLAYING WITH NAN: Winner of Wiley Blackwell Student Film Prize

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 9:00am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall SGM 123  (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Dipesh Kharel, Asami Saito
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 88 mins
  • Country of Production: Nepal
  • Location: Nepal/Japan
  • Ethnic Group: Nepali
  • Language: Nepali (English)
Playing with Nan is the story of a young Nepali man who migrated to work in a Nepali restaurant in northern Japan. The film explores his daily life at work and his family at home, which reflects socio-cultural problems related to globalization. Twenty-eight years ago, Ram was born in a rural village in Nepal. Working on the farm Ram saw little hope apart from surviving in poor conditions. One day he decided to escape from the village and poverty. In Kathmandu he worked for 12 years at several restaurants. However, he could not change the family’s situation. He heard a beautiful story from a broker about the work and earning opportunities in Japan. He paid the broker US$ 20,000 to buy a work visa to enter in Japan. He borrowed the money from his relatives and friends with the commitment of paying them back later with 20 % interest. Several dramatic consequences occurred within Ram’s life and his family’s after his migration to Japan.

LIKE HERE LIKE THERE (SO HEDDAN SO HODDAN): Winner of Royal Anthropological Institute Film Prize

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 10:30am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall SGM 123  (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Anjali Monteiro, KP Jayasankar
  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Duration: 52 mins
  • Country of Production: India
  • Language: Sindhi, Hindi, Kutchi (English)

    Shah Abdul Latif Bhitaiis, is a medieval Sufi poet from Sindh (now in Pakistan). Umar Haji Suleiman of Kachchh, Gujarat, India is a self taught Sufi scholar; once a cattle herder, now a farmer, he lives his life through the poetry of Bhitai. Umar’s cousin, Mustafa Jatt, sings the Bheths of Bhitai. He is accompanied on the Surando by his cousin Usman Jatt. Usman is a truck driver who owns and plays one of the last surviving Surandos in the region. The film explores the lives of the three cousins, their families and the Fakirani Jat community to which they belong. 

THE PRICE OF DEATH: Winner of Richard Werbner Award for Visual Ethnography

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 11:25am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall SGM 123  (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Rebekah Lee
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 29 mins
  • Country of Production: South Africa / UK / USA
  • Location: South Africa
  • Ethnic Group: Xhosa
  • Language: English, Xhosa (English)

‘The Price of Death’ explores the cost of death in contemporary South Africa through the intertwined stories of Dikela Funeral Services, a family-run business based in a sprawling township in Cape Town, and the grieving family who hire Dikela to organize a funeral in a remote town 1000 kilometres away. In the context of economic deprivation and the devastation of an ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, the emergent funeral industry has created opportunities and risks, both moral and material, in post-apartheid South Africa.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 9:00am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall SGM 101  (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Adrian Strong, Paul S.C. Taçon
  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Duration: 34 mins
  • Country of Production: Australia
  • Location: Wollemi National Park, NSW, Australia
  • Ethnic Group: Indigenous Australian
  • Language: English

Wollemi National Park is one of the most rugged and wild parts of New South Wales, Australia.  Since 2001, a team of archaeologists, Aboriginal community members and bushwalkers has discovered and documented hundreds of archaeological sites, many with magnificent drawings, stencils, paintings and engravings in sandstone rock shelters and on rock platforms. Although they are believed to have been made hundreds and, in some cases, thousands, of years ago they remain significant for Aboriginal people today.  In this film the spirituality of some of the art, the Wollemi landscape and Aboriginal culture is explored through the thoughts and ideas sparked by visits to two of the most important sites, Eagle’s Reach and Gallery Rock. In the process, a pilgrimage-like journey is undertaken with a strong conservation message.

UNRAVEL: Nominee for RAI & Basil Wright Prize

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 9:35am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall SGM 101  (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Meghna Gupta, Lucy Norris, Tony Clark
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 14 mins
  • Country of Production: UK
  • Location: Panipat, India

Unravel follows the Western world’s least wanted clothes, on a journey across Northern India, from sea to industrial interior. They get sent to Panipat, a sleepy town and the only place in the world that wants them, recycling them back into yarn.

Reshma is a bright, inquisitive woman working in a textile recycling factory in small time India, who dreams of travelling the vast distances the clothes she handles have. While Reshma shows us how these garments get transformed, she and other women workers reflect on these clothes.

Dispite limited exposure to western culture, they construct a picture of how the West is, using their imagination and the rumours that travel with the cast-offs.



WHERE THE TRAIL MEETS THE SKY: Nominee for Wiley Blackwell Student Prize

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 2:25pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall SGM 124  (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: James Monahan, Andrei Simic, Jennifer Cool
  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Duration: 29 mins
  • Country of Production: USA
  • Location: USA (Pacific Northwest)
  • Language: English

The film explores the cultural life of the professional horsepackers in the American Pacific North West. The film attempts to move between the macro and micro by combining the inquisitive distance of observational cinema with the intimacy of formal and informal interviews. While most of the film focuses on the experience of five individuals, the project speaks to larger concerns that pertain to the construction of wilderness discourse, environmental ethics, history and tradition, and generational shifts in attitudes and behaviours.

VULTURES OF TIBET: Commendation for Wiley Blackwell Student Film Prize

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 2:00pm Seeley . Mudd Lecture Hall SGM 124  (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Russel O.Bush, Craig Campbell
  • Year of Release: 2013
  • Duration: 20 mins
  • Country of Production: USA, Canada, China, Tibet, India
  • Location: Tibet
  • Ethnic Group: Amdo Tibetans, Han Chinese
  • Language: Tibetan, Mandarin (English)

Sky Burial, a private ritual where the bodies of Tibetan dead are offered to wild griffon vultures, becomes a tourist attraction as Chinese modernization in Tibet invigorates an ideological conflict often hidden to the outside world. Vultures of Tibet focuses an observational lens on this rare anecdote of Chinese modernization in Tibet.

BRILLANT SOIL (TIERRA BRILLIANTE): Winner of Material Culture and Archaeology Film Prize

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 3:00pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall SGM 124  (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: José Luis  Figueroa Lewis
    Year of Release: 2012
    Duration: 93 mins
    Location: Mexico/ USA
    Ethnic Group: Purhepecha
    Language: Spanish, Purhepecha, English 

For centuries craft pottery has been one of the main activities of the indigenous Purépechas people from the northwest of Mexico. During colonial times the Spanish introduced the use of lead to the manufacturing process. Despite the knowledge that lead is a highly toxic ingredient, local craft potters have continued to use it in their glazes and as a result, they and their families have suffered the inevitable and irreparable health consequences. 
Brilliant Soil focuses of the touching story of Herlinda Morales, a native potter who has dedicated her life to the prevention of lead poisoning in her community. The documentary exposes her cause and does much to support her in promoting non toxic alternatives to lead. Moreover, it has helped Herlinda gain wider recognition for her local pottery and, to her delight, led to her being reunited with her long-lost brothers for the first time in years since they emigrated to the USA. 
An honest and moving story, Brilliant Soil captures the imagination and charm of Herlinda and her passion for helping her family and her fellow workers. Interest in her personal story has also created renewed interest in the pottery tradition of Purépechas, one of the largest and most important indigenous groups in Mexico.

ROCKERILL - REKINDLING THE FIRE: Winner of Material Culture and Archaeology Film Prize

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 1:00pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 123 USC Campus

  • Director/Anthropologist: Yves Mora
  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Duration: 53 mins
  • Country of Production: Belgium
  • Location: Belgium
  • Language: French (English)

Five years ago one of the oldest industrial buildings of Charleroi- ‘les Forges de la Providence’- was saved from demolition, being bought by two citizens: Thierry Camuy and Mika Hell. Together with some close friends and artists, they turned it into a place of alternative creation which became a symbol of renaissance and image rehabilitation for the whole region.

IRISH FOLK FURNITURE: Commendation for Material Culture and Archaeology Film Prize

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 2:00pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall SGM 123  (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Tony Donoghue
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 8 mins
  • Location: Ireland
  • Ethnic Group: Irish
  • Language: English

An animated documentary about repair and recycling in rural Ireland. In rural Ireland old hand painted furniture is often associated with hard times, with poverty and with a time many would rather forget. Because of this association much of the country’s furniture heritage lies rotting in barns and sheds. In the making of this film 16 pieces of abandoned folk furniture were restored and returned back to their daily use. The film was shot in a green environmentally friendly way using local crafts people, local narrators and inexpensive secondhand equipment. Only natural light was used to shoot this film.

ANCESTRAL DELICATESSEN: Commendation for Material Culture and Archeology Film Prize

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 2:10pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall SGM 123  (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Gabriel Folgado
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 15 mins
  • Country of Production: Spain
  • Location: Spain / France
  • Ethnic Group: Spanish
  • Language: Spanish (English)

Families living in the country in the region of El Bierzo, Spain, still maintain many aspects of their traditional way of life, especially those related to their work on the land and their relationship with Nature.

Despite an increasing use of machinery, some of these tasks are still carried out as they have been over the centuries, keeping their ancestral essence alive. Such is the case of the harvesting of chestnuts.

'Marrons glacés', made from chestnuts, are one of the most famous confectionery products of France.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 2:30pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall SGM 123  (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Itsushi Kawase, National Museum of Ethnology, Japan
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 28 mins
  • Country of Production: Japan
  • Location: Gondar, Ethiopia

In Gondar, the possessed body of the Zar spirit medium is referred to as Yäzar Färäs (literally meaning ‘the horse of Zar') In this rhetoric, spirit possession can be understood as the spirit riding the body of the medium. The film portrays a woman who devotes her life to Zar spirits and explores the sensory quality of the interaction between her and various spirits including Seyfou Tchengar, who is said to be one of the most powerful spirits in the region.

ALGORITHMS: Winner of Dogwoof Audience Film Prize

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 3:20pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 123 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Ian McDonald

  • Year of Release: 2012

  • Duration: 96 mins

  • Country of Production: India

  • Location: India / Serbia / Sweden / Greece

  • Ethnic Group: Indian

  • Language: English, Hindi, Tamil, Odiya (English)

In India, a group of boys dream of becoming Chess Masters, driven by a man with a vision. But this is no ordinary chess and there are no ordinary players. Algorithms is a documentary on the thriving but little known world of Blind Chess in India. Filmed over three years, from one world championship in 2009 to the next in 2011, it follows three talented boys from different parts of India and a totally blind player turned pioneer who not only aims to situate India on a global stage but also wants all blind children to play chess.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 1:30pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)
  • Director/Anthropologist: Hugh Brody
  • Year of Release: 2013
  • Duration: 30 mins
  • Country of Production: Canada/ South Africa
  • Location: South Africa
  • Ethnic Group: San

From 1996 to 2008, Hugh Brody worked wtih the ‡Khomani San of the southern Kalahari on their land claim. This work generated over 130 hours of footage. The resulting interactive DVD compilation contains 16 chapters (total 4.5 hours). 

For the San living within South Africa, the apartheid regime meant a final eviction from their last remaining lands. Denied the right even to speak their own languages, the ‡Khomani became a diaspora of people, fighting for their heritage, without rights to land, work or even a place to live; refugees in what was supposed to be their own country. In 1999, a small group of ‡Khomani San succeeded in winning a land claim, as a result of which many were deemed to have rights to land and places to live in new security.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 7:55pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Kieran Hanson
  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Duration: 29 mins
  • Country of Production: UK
  • Location: Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • Ethnic Group: Urban Sierra Leoneans
  • Language: English, Krio (English)

A decade since Sierra Leone's devastating civil war, from the ashes rises a new dawn of creativity in audio-visual media. Inspired by Jean Rouch's ‘shared anthropology’ and ‘ethno-fiction’, Shooting Freetown follows three people forging their way in film and music in the nation's capital, facing the constant struggles with vision and resourcefulness. By incorporating collaborative video projects, their stories give a fresh image of post-war Freetown - presented to the world through their own lens


Venue: Sunday 9th March, 11:15am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Arpita Chakraborty, Avadhoot Khanolkar, Shweta Radhkrishnan, Anurag Mazumdar, Amol Ranjan

  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 28 mins
  • Country of Production: India
  • Location: Mumbai, India
  • Language: English, Hindi, Marathi (English)

At the heart of Mumbai’s mill country, Lalbaug-Parel, stands Bharatmata Cinema, one of the remaining single screen theatres that plays only Marathi films. The theatre is an iconic reminder of a colourful working class culture which is now on the decline in Mumbai. Through the narratives of Kapil Bhopatkar, the owner, and Baban, one of the oldest employees of the theatre, the film explores the history and development of Bharatmata as a space for articulating the cultural identity of Mumbai’s working class and ponders on its existence and survival. The characters, through their widely disparate socio-economic classes, come together in their passionate love for cinema and their celebration of the main character in the film, Bharatmata Cinema itself.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 8:55pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Ravi Shivhare, Anshu Singh, Aniket Kumar Kashyap, Shikha Kumar Dalsus, David MacDougall
  • Year of Release: 2013
  • Duration: 82 mins
  • Country of Production: India, Australia
  • Location: New Delhi
  • Language: Hindi (English)
This film presents the work of four young filmmakers of New Delhi. From March to May 2012 they took part in a video workshop at the CIE Experimental Basic School, a government primary school. Each of the filmmakers was eleven years old. Their films offer a special perspective on Indian family and working life.

GODS AND KINGS: Winner of Intangible Culture Film Prize (Music – Dance – Performance)

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 7:00pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 124 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Robin Blotnick, Jubilee Films, Garrett Cook,Rachel Lears
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 87 mins
  • Country of Production: USA
  • Location: Guatemala
  • Ethnic Group: K'iche Maya
  • Language: English, Spanish, Maya-K'iche (English)
At a festival in a sleepy Guatemalan mountain town, traditional dances are disrupted by an eerie spectacle where horror movie monsters dance beside Maya gods and Cold War dictators. As old and new masqueraders compete for attention in the town center, the audience confronts a strange 

VILLAGE AT THE END OF THE WORLD: Winner of Dogwoof Audience Film Prize

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 8:50pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 124 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Sarah Gavron
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 76 mins
  • Country of Production: UK/Denmark
For some it’s paradise, for others it’s the last place on earth they want to be.  For most, Niaqornat is simply home.  There are real pressures on a place like this – the ice is melting, the government no longer wants to subsidise the supply ship that brings food that can’t be hunted locally, and people are leaving due to the lack of work. The film is a portrait of a traditional fishing community struggling against the challenges of globalisation. The story of Lars, the only teenager in town planning his escape is paralleled by the adults' attempts to maintain the community's fishing economy. Ultimately Village At The End Of The World is a film that reflects the dilemmas of most small communities all over the world, this one just happens to be in one of the remotest spots on earth.

STORI TUMBUNA: ANCESTOR'S TALES: Commendation: Intangible Culture Film Prize (Music – Dance – Performance)

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 7:00pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 123 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Paul Wolffram
  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Duration: 89 mins
  • Country of Production: New Zealand
  • Location: Papua New Guinea
  • Ethnic Group: Lak People
  • Language: English
In 2001 Paul Wolffram, a cultural researcher, travelled to one of the most isolated and unique corners of the earth. He spent over two years living and working among the Lak people in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea. As his relationships with the people grew he began to glimpse a hidden reality, a dark and menacing history that loomed over his host community. Over time the sense that something is amiss grows. As his curiosity deepens Paul brings to light dark secrets that set in motion a compelling and deadly set of events.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 2:00pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Mike Day
  • Year of Release: 2010
  • Duration: 59 mins
  • Country of Production: Scotland/ UK
  • Location: Scotland/ Northern Atlantic
  • Ethnic Group: Gaelic, Scottish
  • Language: English

This film follows a vanishing community’s beloved and unique tradition. The Gaelic speakers of Lewis in Scotland are the only people in the EU exempt from a ban on hunting gannets, but they are only permitted to hunt them once a year on a desolate island 40 miles offshore. This is the first time in 50 years that they have allowed it to be filmed- and most likely the last.

Every August ten men from Ness set sail for Sula Sgeir, a desolate island far out in the Atlantic. Following in the footsteps of countless generations, they leave their normal lives behind to reach the remote hunting ground.The men live on the island for two exhausting weeks, sleeping in old stone bothies among ruins built by monks over a thousand years ago. They work ceaselessly, catching, killing and processing 2000 birds using traditional methods before returning home with this rare meat so cherished by the people of Ness.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 11:00am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Yasmin Fedda
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 64 mins
  • Country of Production: UK
  • Location: Syria
  • Language: English/Arabic

 Salem is an Iraqi fashion designer in Damascus. Botrus lives a remote existence in a hillside monastery. This  documentary offers a unique perspective on what the dream of freedom means to two very different people in the face of a brutal regime, offering a vital snapshot of life in the year before Syria’s uprising.

Director Yasmin Fedda said, "On one of my regular visits to Damascus, my grandmother took me to the monastery at Mar Musa where I met Botrous. I became fascinated by his story and his community. I then met Salem who was struggling as a refugee in the city. Their contrasting lives and their willingness to talk on camera gave me the perfect opportunity to document their experiences of life in Syria."



Venue: Sunday 9th March, 12:10pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 124 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Anna Mbiya Katshunga
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 43 mins
  • Country of Production: Germany
  • Location: DR of the Congo/ Germany
  • Language: French, Germany (English)

The film Swimming in Space links different perspectives to the same configuration of problems, anchored in the social, political and economic life of Lubumashi, DRC: On the one hand the perspective of an expatriate living in Berlin, who returns to his hometown after thirteen years and has to realize that the same structures he tried to fight under the Mobutu regime are still prevailing. On the other hand the perspective of theater actors living in Lubumashi, criticizing the behavior of the government in their plays and demanding considerable change. This creates a dense picture of society “up to its neck in the swamp of its past. However the heads stay afloat and the mouths call for change”.


Venue: Sunday 9th March, 11:45am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Gonzalo Chacon Mora
  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Duration: 7 mins
  • Country of Production: UK
  • Location: Ladakh, India
  • Ethnic Group: Ladakhi
  • Language: English, Ladakhi (English)

This short film constitutes a brief observational study of daily life in the streets of Leh (Northern India). Looking at the making and use of Buddhist Prayer Wheels, it is an attempt to explore the interaction between spaces and religious objects, meanings and cultural practices.


Venue: Sunday 9th March, 10:00am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 123 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Zachary Stuart and Kelly Thomson, Linus digim' Rina
  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Duration: 75 mins
  • Country of Production: USA, United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea, Australia
  • Location: Trobriand Islands, Melanesia

In 1915, Bronislaw Malinowski set out to document the ‘exotic’ practices of a small group of islanders off the coast of Papua New Guinea. With extensive data on sex, magic and spirits of the dead, his work would set the stage for anthropologists for decades to come and bring him fame as one of the founding fathers of anthropology.

Four generations and almost 100 years after Malinowski’s expedition, his great grandson travels to Papua New Guinea and looks at the very controversial legacy he left behind – within the field of anthropology, within his own family and among the descendants of the people he studied.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 4:15pm  Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 123 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Cliff Orloff and Olga Shalygan
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 58 mins
  • Country of Production: USA
  • Location: Venezuela, South America
  • Ethnic Group: Yanomami
  • Language: Spanish/English/Yanomami (English)
The Yanomami Indians are one of the last large relatively unacculturated indigenous groups remaining in the world.  In November 2000 filmmakers Orloff and Shalygin documented the lives of a small group of Yanomami living along the banks of the Siapa River.  Ten years later the filmmakers return to the same village to document the changes they observe. As the outside world encroaches into Yanomami land, the tension between these two worlds is revealed. The desire to retain Yanomami customs and traditions becomes difficult to reconcile with their attraction to the material goods available in the modern world.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 7:00pm  Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 123 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Michael O'Neill, Randall Wood, Daniel Everett
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 52 mins
  • Country of Production: Australia
  • Location: Brazil
  • Ethnic Group: Piraha tribe
  • Language: English, Piraha (English)

Venue: Sunday 9th March, 11:30am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 123 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

Daniel Everett’s goal was to bring Jesus to the Amazonian Pirahã tribe. Instead, the Christian missionary found a people so content in their world that they converted him; and a language so unique, he believes it undermines our most fundamental ideas about human communication.



Venue: Saturday 8th March, 9:50am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Christiane Keller
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 26 mins
  • Country of Production: Australia
  • Location: Warakurna and surrounds, Western Australia
  • Ethnic Group: Ananagu people
  • Language: Ngaanyaatjarra, Pitjantjatjarra (English)

Venue: Sunday 9th March, 11:30am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 123 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

This film captures the multi-sensory experiences of Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Australian Aboriginal fibre artists who work mainly with grass, wool and raffia. It portrays the integration of this more recently developed artistic expression within desert culture and captures the atmosphere of sociability of these women seldom seen in Australian films.



Venue: Saturday 8th March, 10:20am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Teri Brewer
  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Duration: 10 mins
  • Country of Production: USA
  • Location: Fallon Nevada, USA, Paiute
  • Ethnic Group: Native American

 Dogbane is a plant used in the past for making many basic necessities of life for the Paiute peoples of northern Nevada, It is now a threatened species, but the knowledge of how to prepare and work with it is still passed on in the Paiute community. We spend an autumn morning with Donna Cossette and her mother Carol Sanders who are gathering and working with dogbane in their local Paiute tradition in northern Nevada.  They are assisted by Nevada State Folklorist Patricia Atkinson. Donna demonstrates and explains the basics needed to find, choose and process dogbane as well as to create simple cordage from the prepared stalks.


Venue: Sunday 9th March, 11:55am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Valérie Berteau, Phillipe Witjes
  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Duration: 65 mins
  • Country of Production: Belgium
  • Location: Amritsar, India
  • Ethnic Group: Punjabi, Sikh community


Tons of colorful fruits and rice, giant cooking-pots, anonymous volunteers moving in unison to feed the visitors: we observe a langar, the Sikh tradition of a common canteen where all are served for free regardless of their background. Set in the Golden Temple of Amritsar, a prominent place of Sikh worship, this beautiful, wordless film captures the spontaneous choreography of hundreds of people preparing tens of thousands of meals a day to reveal the unique face of this sacred place. Himself He Cooks is at once a striking visual essay, offering insights into the meaning of charity and philanthropy, and a profound meditation on food as the nexus of culture, nature, and human necessity.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 8:30pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 123 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Mark Eby
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 35 mins
  • Country of Production: Papua New Guinea
  • Location: Papua New Guinea
  • Ethnic Group: Eastern Highlanders
  • Language: Tok Pisin (English)

“One More Chance” is a documentary film from Papua New Guinea that tells the story of Siparo, a member of a local string band, who was diagnosed with HIV after being unfaithful to his wives whilst travelling with his band. Siparo initially withheld his status from both his family and his community, infecting his two wives with the disease before revealing his status. The film explores the family’s daily life as they work their fields, share meals, interact with the wider community and play an active role in their local church. The documentary provides an intimate portrait of family in PNG Highlands and how the family members deal with the changes in their lives.


Venue: Sunday 9th March, 11:05am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 124 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Dul Johnson
  • Year of Release: 2010
  • Duration: 62 mins
  • Location: Plateau State, Nigeria
  • Ethnic Group: Tarok
  • Language: Tarok (English)

Nigerian writer Dul Johnson returns to his native Tarok land to observe local death rituals and to record the Tarok ways of dealing with grief and honouring the departed.

The film provides a valuable record of traditional Tarok practices, collects local knowledge and bears witness to perceived tensions between Taroks who have converted to the Christian faith, and Taroks who are following ‘the Tradition’, broadly defined as ancestor worship. More than a mere depiction of events, the film also explores the difficulties of the filmmaker in investigating his own community, and exposes his process and his changing relationship with the subject.


Venue: Sunday 9th March, 10:00am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 124 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Samuel Loe
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 62 mins
  • Country of Production: Cameroon / Germany
  • Location: Cameroon
  • Ethnic Group: Bamileke
  • Language: French, German, English (English, German)

The director Samuel Loe undertakes a journey into the nightmare of his childhood: a world full of fear, darkness, worries, confusion, illusions, grief, wickedness, magic and doom - the world of black magic. He was born in Cameroon and grew up in a society where everyone believed in witchcraft. Every tragedy or evil was caused by supernatural activities. His life as a child was marked by witchcraft belief and practices. After five years of studying film, he returned to his country with the aim of unveiling the mysteries and secrets of witchcraft in the deep forest of Mbangui Chari. Based on his personal experience the film tells a true story and shows ritual practices and victims of witchcraft in Cameroon society.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 8:30pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Alex Parkyn-Smith
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 20 mins
  • Country of Production: England
  • Location: Nairobi, Kenya
  • Language: English, Sheng, Swahili (English)


‘Only Three Cents’ gives us an insight into youth employment and job opportunity in a modern African metropolis through a series of ethnographic vignettes connected through their association with the private “matatu” bus enterprise. We hear from one of the few women who work on this bus network about the realities of life and the challenges she faces. From mechanics to drivers and the owners themselves we see how the connections of these bus routes are social as well as geographical.The film is itself an opportunity for the main protagonist as he searches for work.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 3:00pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 123 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Cathy Greenhalgh
  • Year of Release: 2013
  • Duration: 20 mins
  • Country of Production: UK
  • Location: Blackpool, UK

 The north-west seaside town of Blackpool was first in the world to display electric light, stunning holidaying Lancashire millworkers with “artificial sunshine”. In 1912 the famous annual Blackpool Illuminations began. One hundred years on, six miles of lights and 10,000 lamps compete with a drama of western sunsets and stormy seas. SWITCH takes nostalgic narratives of the play between natural and artificial light as its subject. Using stop frame animation, stills and live action, interviews and manipulated sound to enhance temporal and spatial effects; the film encapsulates memories using an embodied ethnography and sensory cinematographic qualities of light.


Venue: Sunday 9th March, 10:00am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Nandan Saxena, Kavita Bahl
  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Duration: 75 mins
  • Country of Production: India
  • Location: Vidarbha, Maharashtra, India
  • Ethnic Group: Cotton growing farming community
  • Language: English, Hindi, Marathi (English)

'Cotton for my Shroud' explores the life-threatening predicament and dilemmas in the life of the cotton-growing community of farmers in India. For the farmers, working the land is all. Their relationship with their fields and their entire way of life is an ode to Nature. When this relationship is threatened by commercial and mercenary interests, it plays havoc in their lives. Genetically modified crops are sounding a death knell for a way of life and the farmers are paying the price of this with their lives. Over 17 years, more than 2.5 million farmers have committed suicide in India.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 4:35pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 124 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Louise Milne, Sean Martin
  • Year of Release: 2013
  • Duration: 24 mins
  • Country of Production: Scotland/UK



Q: When is a boat not a boat? A: When it’s a story. On the isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, artist and poet Ian Stephen, writer Robert Macfarlane and others tell stories in and around the wooden fishing boat, Broad Bay, restored and rigged as a traditional sgoth Niseach, as it sets sail for the remote and beautiful Shiants archipelago, in the long summer light. Following the boat on its eleven-hour voyage, we come to see it as a living story in itself – about island boats and boat builders, memories, legends and sea-roads – through interviews, storytelling and music.


Venue: Sunday 9th March, 12:30pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Stephen Frost, Edward Salle
  • Year of Release: 2013
  • Duration: 26 mins
  • Country of Production: Australia
  • Location: Tabar Islands, Papua New Guinea
  • Ethnic Group: Madak
  • Language: English, Pigin English (English)

During a Malangan mortuary ceremony, the people of the Tabar Islands in the New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea use ritual magic to communicate with the spirits of their ancestors.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 9:10pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Jim de Sève, Kian Tjong, Timothy G. Babcock
  • Year of Release: 2010
  • Duration: 65 mins
  • Country of Production: Indonesia
  • Location: Java, Madura Islands, Indonesia
  • Ethnic Group: Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese, Chinese
  • Language: Indonesian, Javanese, Madurese (English)

ManDove follows the magical ‘perkutut’ birds casting spells on men, taking them away from their wives, and pitting them against each other to provide their masculinity.

When General Zainuri announces the National Perkutut Championship, thousands of Muslim men arrive at the ground. Seven hundred poles stand in the centre. Men hoist their doves  - perkutut -  seven meters up and dangle them in a sea of colorful cages. A team of judges passes through the forest of tall posts straining to discern the birds’ magical coos. If the judges are impressed they score a bird’s song by tacking a small flag pole. After three hours a winner is declared. Winning ‘perkutut’ sell for tens of thousands of dollars. ‘ManDove’, in its subtle and oblique approach, pays homage to Indonesian cinema of social critique. During Suharto’s dictatorship, filmmakers avoided harsh censorship by utilizing subtle and indirect associations – they spoke in codes to their audience. A creative dialogue took place beyond what the film was allowed to say.  The film pays out as a treasure hunt, leading the audience from clue to clue, from orientalism, masculinity to the power of representation. Underscoring all of this and cleverly hidden is the filmmakers’ role as a gay couple and their wariness of being discovered. This level, when realized by the audience, reframes the entire film.

DJENEBA - THE LIFEWORLD OF A MINYANKA WOMAN OF SOUTHERN MALI: Commendation for Wiley Blackwell Student Film Prize

Venue: Saturday 8th March, 1:00pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 124 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

Director/Anthropologist: Bata Diallo

  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Duration: 59 mins
  • Country of Production: Norway
  • Location: Mali
  • Language: Mamaara/Bamanakan (Mali)


Djeneba is a mother of nine children living in Kadioloko, southern Mali. Since her husband left the family some years ago Djeneba and her children manage the family’s fields without him. Recently the eldest boy, Madou, was married to a girl he met in town. In this film we explore daily life in the compound as Djeneba assumes full responsibility for her family’s needs. Filmmaker, Bata Diallo, herself a Malian, engages Djenebas life-world in observational style and by way of intimate conversations. As well as the family we meet Nono, the old chief of Kadioloko.  He’s a good friend of Djeneba and a renowned local philosopher with a sharp sense of humour. Djeneba and her family are from the agriculturalist Minyaka ethnic group but we also get to know some of the Fulani pastoralists who share the village of Kadioloko.  “Djeneba” is a documentary about everyday life in rural Mali from a woman’s point of view.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 8:30pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 124 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Miguel Rato
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 20 mins
  • Country of Production: UK / Portugal
  • Location: Sao Tome e Principe
  • Ethnic Group: Santomean
  • Language: Portuguese (English)


The Tragedy of the Marquis of Mantua and the Emperor Charlemagne brought by the Portuguese to São Tomé and Príncipe in the 19th century, gave origin to Tchiloli, the restaging of this ancient text, a product of cultural assimilation and colonialist heritage that still stands today. The role of texts and speech - religious, political or theatrical – in shaping a society and culture: how much of daily life is informed by fiction and vice versa; how people grow into their roles, how much of them and their country is reflected in the characters and in the stories they play.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 10:35am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Ioana Dorobantu
  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Duration: 21 mins
  • Country of Production: UK/ Romania
  • Location: Romania
  • Ethnic Group: Romanians
  • Language: Romanian (English)


There are places where – reportedly – nothing happens. People left and never came back, others died, and a few remained. Nothing new under the sun: this is the story of industrialisation and urbanisation. But what is left behind? Or we should better ask: who?

From a forgotten village, somewhere in Romania, four people tell us the story of the marble village.The story describes one of the many cases representing the phenomenon of urbanisation and the film captures untainted moments of a specific way of life in the rural Romania

Lon Marum: People of the Volcano

Venue: Sunday 9th March, 11:25am Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Soraya Hosni, Chief Filip Talevu
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 48 mins
  • Country of Production: Vanuatu / France
  • Location: Vanuatu
  • Ethnic Group: Ambrym, Tanna, French
  • Language: Daakaka, Bislama, French (English)

‘Lon Marum: people of the volcano’ is the cinematic story of one of the most active volcanoes in the world, told by the people who have the longest relationship with it. The story arch is a result of a 2 year joint collaboration between Chief Filip Talevu and Anthropologist and Film Maker Soraya Hosni, detailing creation stories, tragic eruptions, sand drawings, foreign invasion, and the quest for a better understanding. The film engages the complex reality that occurs when custodians of local knowledge are placed in direct contact with visiting scientists. Voices shift from local scholars attempting to stem the erosion of their knowledge values, to scientists who are grappling with the idea that, despite their every day tasks & technology, they too have something to learn.


Venue: Sunday 9th March, 1:00pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 124 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Peter I. Crawford, Jens Pinholt
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 5 mins
  • Country of Production: Denmark
  • Location: Reef Islands, Solomon Island
  • Ethnic Group: Aiwoo (Reef)
  • Language: Aiwoo (No Subtitles) Intertitles and credits in English

In some of the diverse cultures of the Pacific, especially in Melanesia, the pig is the most important domesticated animal. It is predominantly used for ceremonial purposes such as in funerals, weddings, and age-set rituals. Several of the films in the long-term Reef Islands Ethnographic Film Project thus show the killing of pigs in conjunction with such events, at times giving a somewhat disturbing impression of human-animal relationships, particularly for audiences used to only seeing meat wrapped in cellophane at the local supermarket. In this short film a mummy, daddy, and their little son go out to feed their pigs, conveying the impression of an altogether different human-animal relationship, one of tenderness, care, and love, whilst also showing how children learn through awareness of animals, nature and technology.


Venue: Sunday 9th March, 1:05pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 124 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Mattijs van de Port
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 38 mins
  • Country of Production: The Netherlands
  • Location: Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
  • Language: Portuguese, English (English)


Inhabitants from the city of Salvador, Brazil, show how to enjoy to the full their favourite fruits from the local markets. No spoons, forks or napkins in these performances. As they touch, smell, bite, scrape, suck, lick, slurp, chew and swallow, they remind us that much of what makes up the quality of ‘life’ lies in such tacit and sublime pleasures as ‘the eating of one’s favourite fruit’.


Venue: Saturday 8th March, 3:00pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 101 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Roger Horn
  • Year of Release: 2010
  • Duration: 52 mins
  • Country of Production: South Africa
  • Location: Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Ethnic Group: Cape Coloured
  • Language: English, Afrikaans (English)

Hazendal Wine Estate farmhands Hope, Rollie and Piete are not your typical South African wine workers. Hope aspires to winning the local underground drag queen pageant, Rollie dreams of a husband and retaining the local drag queen crown, and Pietie struggles with his religious upbringing while obsessing over his roses, chickens and pigeons. Theses transgender wine workers confront prejudice at every turn, from their own farming communities, city transgenders and the world at large. Together Hope, Rollie and Piete manage to find the fabulous in the fraught and offer a portrait of triumph in togetherness rather than loneliness in victimization.

Night Will Fall/Memory of the Camps

Venue: Friday 7th March, 4:00pm Seeley G. Mudd Lecture Hall 123 USC Campus (enter off Vermont Ave)

  • Director/Anthropologist: Andre Singer
  • Producers: Sally Angel; Brett Ratner
  • Year of Release: 2015
  • Duration: 80 mins
  • Country of Production: UK/USA
  • Location: Germany
  • Ethnic Group: Germans, Jews, Europeans
  • Language: English

An Alfred Hitchcock documentary on the Holocaust entitled Memory of the Camps was filmed in 1945 but was never released, ostensibly because of production problems and political pressures. It is being restored by the Imperial War Museum and will air on British TV in 2015 in commemoration of the end of WWII. USC Adjunct Professor of Anthropology Andre Singer is director of a "doc on doc" entitled Night Will Fall, that is being produced about and in conjunction with the original Hitchcock film, and both will be released next year. Dr. Singer has agreed to provide us a prerelease "sneak preview" of Night Will Fall that will screen immediately before our premier presentation of another holocaust film, winner of the BAFTA best documentary award, The Act of Killing.

Upcoming Events

  • Department of Anthropology
  • University of Southern California
  • 3620 South Vermont Ave.,Suite 352
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-2537