Explorers with Film Cameras

Explorers with Film Cameras

Do you like meeting new cultures, continents, worlds that are both close and remote, analogue and digital? Then drop your notepads and grab your cameras! That is exactly what contemporary anthropological research looks like in the rendition of a group of scientists, artists and ethnographers from the experimental audiovisual laboratory Sensory Ethnography Lab of the prestigious Harvard University. Thanks to our co-operation with Canada’s RIDM (Montreal International Documentary Festival), you can watch 14 original films whose makers were not afraid to create their own film language and travel to the most far-flung corners of the world; from March 16 to 29 at DAFilms.com for free!

Are you encountering the acronym SEL more and more often while attending film festivals and are you still groping in the dark as to what it means? Then do not hesitate to enter the centre of the latest anthropological research and step over the online threshold of the audiovisual platform Sensory Ethnography Lab (SEL)! See how unique film accounts of the problems and phenomena of the contemporary world are made; see the alchemy that naturally blends visually attractive images and strong social stories.

MANAKAMANA, an award-winning festival favourite and winner of Locarno IFF, is headed for the top of the film selection as well as the top of a Nepalese mountain. Inside the narrow bubble of a cable car, the camera observes a diverse group of pilgrims heading towards Manakamana Temple proudly towering on the mountaintop. What are their motivations, memories of the place, themes for discussion? Teenagers, locals, musicians, even animals; on the backdrop of a magnificent natural scenery, they all travel to the holy temple of Goddess Bhagwati to tell her their wishes. Will they come true?

SWEETGRASS, too, is set in the mountains; this time, however, they are inhabited by the last real cowboys of the American West. The local herdsmen head towards Montana‘s wild mountain ranges each year to take their herds to the lush summer pastures. While they fight the elements and pitfalls of the dangerous journey, a unique film essay about the greatness of nature and time as well as the human effort to face both opens up in front of the audiences.

However, it is not just little known or inaccessible places that Sensory Ethnography Lab enters. In YUMEN, J. P. Sniadecki sets out to a former oil kingdom, the Chinese city of Yumen, telling about the ghosts of the place, its forgotten past as well as those who stayed among the ruins of vanished wealth. The contrasts of monumental China are also captured in the renowned film THE IRON MINISTRY which reveals the strict inner stratification of Chinese society during a single train ride. A specific microworld within a larger whole is explored in FOREIGN PARTS as well. In the middle of New York’s beehive, the film discovers a scrapyard that seems abandoned at first glance; however, in its viscera, one can find not only bodyworks that fell apart long ago but also life stories of those who are not going to fall apart any time soon and keep fighting for every new day in this world.

Become explorers with film cameras and do not miss the two-week journey beyond the usual perspective of the world at DAFilms.com for free!

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Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.