Lights, camera, science: Ethnografilm Festival kicks off in Paris

Supported by the International Science Council, the Ethnografilm Festival is a three-day celebration of documentary filmmaking boasting a diverse selection of films, showcasing stories from a wide range of communities.

Lights, camera, science: Ethnografilm Festival kicks off in Paris

This weekend, Paris, the City of Lights ignites the silver screen with a unique cinematic experience – the Ethnografilm Festival. From 29-31  March, documentary lovers and social science enthusiasts will explore a world of thought-provoking films by academics and researchers members of scientific unions like 4S, the Society for Social Studies of Science,  and the International Visual Sociology Association.

Now in its 10th edition, Ethnografilm celebrates the art and science of non-fiction filmmaking. The festival showcases documentaries that explore the intricacies of the social world, offering viewers a deeper understanding of cultures, communities, and human experiences.

This year’s program promises a diverse selection of films across four daily sessions, highlighting stories from a range of communities, such as the Maasai, Ukrainian refugees, Navajos in exile, or Colombian indigenous people.

Ethnografilm is the first  film festival with a category for academic filmmaking. We are delighted to bring film makers around the world to Paris to share their films from the research and knowledge they create to a diverse audience who revel in the art of storytelling, says Wesley Shrum, organizer of the festival.

Wesley Shrum, Festival Organizer

Selection this year features, for example, an intriguing documentary on Myanmar’s first and only country-wide environmental movement., where indigenous women activists and punk rock pastors defend a sacred river from a Chinese-built mega-dam through protest, prayer, and Karaoke music videos.

Another short documentary brings viewers along a group of sprightly middle-aged women, who take up cold water swimming on the Northern Irish coast, leaving behind sorrows, forming friendships, and redefining the idea of longevity.

We are delighted to support the Ethnografilm Festival, as it promotes the power of storytelling to disseminate scientific knowledge. Storytelling not only enriches science communication but also serves as an essential medium to foster curiosity and understanding of inquiry in our rapidly changing world. Through this festival, we celebrate the unique ability of documentaries to weave complex scientific ideas into compelling narratives that captivate and educate audiences of all ages”.

Alison Meston, Communications Director ISC

The festival is not just about screenings. It fosters a vibrant community for filmmakers, scholars, and audiences to connect. Discussions, Q&A sessions, and receptions create a space to exchange ideas, discuss the films’ themes, and celebrate the power of documentary filmmaking.

This year, the Ethnografilm Festival features a unique opportunity, with an exclusive filmmaking workshop will be provided by experts to members of  the International Science Council on the festival’s final day. During the workshop, participants will gain valuable insights from these experts on how to bring scientific narratives to life on screen.

Greg Scott, President of the International Visual Sociology Association, a scientific international association devoted to the study of visuality and joint sponsor of the event said:

We are scientists, artists, architects, designers and, photographers. We come from and represent many walks of life, disciplines and trades, all with a common concern for visuality and everyday life. We are happy to be supporting the creation of non-fiction films that enhance our collective understanding of social life.

Greg Scott, International Visual Sociology Association

Photo by Alex Litvin on Unsplash

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