Film program

The film program brings together 11 current audiovisual and multimodal works.
We look forward to discussing these works with the filmmakers in two accompanying film panels.













F1 Dinamita (Steffen Köhn, Paola Calvo)

Steffen Köhn, Paola Calvo (Aarhus University)

Wednesday, 26.07.23 (A 119, 11:00-12:30)

Synopsis: Dinamita is an ethnographic documentary about Dina_Stars and Adriano_ComePizza, who are among the first generation of YouTubers in Cuba. Told in equal parts through our on-camera observations and videos they posted themselves, the film follows the two over a three-year period that marks their rise from nursery content creators to nationally known influencers, until each of them makes a life-changing decision.

Keywords: Cuba, Social media, digital anthropology

  • Year, duration, language: 2022, 25′, Spanish with English subtitles
  • Country of production: Germany
  • Shooting location: Cuba

Filmmaker present

This film is also available online from July 24th to August 1st

F2 The Letter Project (Anne Chahine, Laura Lennert Jensen)

Anne Chahine, Laura Lennert Jensen (Research Institute for Sustainability – Helmholtz
Centre Potsdam (RIFS) / Ilisimatusarfik University of Greenland)

Wednesday, 26.07.23 (A 119, 11:00-12:30)

Synopsis: The visual essay “The Letter Project” was developed by Anne Chahine and Laura Lennert Jensen, and can be understood as an alternative form of communicating research results that goes beyond text. It brings to life the academic article “It’s a bit like saying: I don’t see colour” — Unpacking coloniality in Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) through epistolary collaborative practice”, written by the two filmmakers/authors in 2021. The article has developed from correspondence via letter-writing and renders visible the dynamics of the authors epistemic relationship, an essential element of the collaborative process that often stays hidden. In the letters, ideas, and positionalities about coloniality in Kalaallit (Greenlandic Inuit) society today are exchanged, investigating the stance young people take in this discussion. The essay interweaves the voices of Chahine and Jensen, reading extract from the article, with visual impressions of Kalaallit Nunaat and Denmark, the two main fieldwork cites of the research project being discussed. The Letter Project has initially been developed as part of Chahine’s PhD defence presentation in late 2022 to highlight that her thesis is the result of collaborative engagements, and that we, as researchers, should more consciously include and acknowledge the people we work with in our output formats.

Keywords: Collaboration, letter writing, coloniality, decolonial methods, correspondence, multimodality, co-creation, Kalaallit Nunaat, Greenland, Denmark, epistemology

  • Year, duration, language: 2022, 5:30′, English with English subtitles
  • Countries of production: Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland), Denmark, and Germany
  • Shooting location: Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) and Denmark

Filmmaker present

This film is also available online from July 24th to August 1st

F3 Maya Land: Listening to the Bees (Kata Beilin, Avi Weinstein and Sainath Suryanarayanan)

Kata Beilin, Avi Weinstein and Sainath Suryanarayanan (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Wednesday, 26.07.23 (A 119, 11:00-12:30)

Synopsis: The film tells the story of an environmental conflict between Mayan beekeepers and the Mexican Government about planting genetically modified soy which also involves Mennonite community of Yucatan. This Mayan struggle to protect their bees, forests, water and maize against technologies and developments brought from outside is only one episode in the centuries -long resistance and defence of the territory.

Keywords: Mayas, Meliponas, Bees, Maize, Mennonites, GM-soy, water

  • Year, duration, language: 2022, 52′, English/Spanish with English subtitles
  • Country of production: USA/Mexico
  • Shooting location: Mexico

This film is also available online from July 24th to August 1st

F4 In Flow of Words (Eliane Esther Bots)

Eliane Esther Bots (Film director)

Wednesday, 26.07.23 (A 119, 14:00-15:30)

Synopsis: In Flow of Words follows the narratives of three interpreters of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. They interpreted shocking testimonies from witnesses, victims and perpetrators, without ever allowing their own emotions, feelings and personal histories to be present. Contrary to their position at the tribunal, this film places their voices and experiences center stage.

Keywords: Interpretation, ICTY, tribunal, voice, war, conflict


  • Year, duration, language: 2021, 22′, English
  • Country of production: The Netherlands
  • Shooting location: The Netherlands

F5 The Last Letter to Nasser (Fayza Harby-Bemmann)

Fayza Harby-Bemmann (University of Jena)

Wednesday, 26.07.23 (A 119, 14:00-15:30)

Synopsis: In her essay film, Fayza Harby opens Pandora’s box, which initially means time itself. It is said that history is written by the winners of it. But the buried history of the Nubians in Egypt actually only knew losers. Even its usurper, the Egyptian president at the time of their forced resettlement in the mid-1960s, Gamal Abdel Nasser, was ultimately one. Starting in 2015, the filmmaker visits Tahra, a Nubian woman who has preserved history since the resettlement. She refused early on to move into the houses and settlements Nasser had earmarked for the Nubians – then eventually lived in a village built by Nasser’s successor Saddat, by the reservoir where the flooded villages of the Nubians lay at her feet. Tahra’s inner image of trying to preserve her culture with the few means she had, and her perceived failure to do so – the film seeks an expression for this image, speaking details of a frugal, forgotten life. In this way, the space also opens up, the film lets Tahra and Nasser come together, in an imaginary correspondence in which the director also participates.

Keywords: Nubian migration / Human rights / climate change

  • Year, duration, language: 2023, 60′, Arabic, Nubian with English ST
  • Country of production: Germany
  • Shooting location: Egypt, German

Filmmaker present

F6 Strangers to Peace (Colleen Alena O’Brien, Laura Àngel, Noah Debonis)

Colleen Alena O’Brien, Laura Àngel, Noah Debonis (University of Saarland)

Thursday, 27.07.23 (A 119, 11:00-12:30)

Synopsis: Strangers to Peace chronicles the lives of three former guerrilla fighters attempting to rebuild their lives after leaving the FARC, Colombia’s largest insurgency group. These former rebel fighters must now navigate the complexities of reconciliation and
reintegration as they return to a society that largely views them as terrorists. The film intimately captures the personal stories of
Dayana, the market vendor navigating her identity as a trans woman; Ricardo, the young father secretly clinging to his leftist ideology; and Alexandra, the Indigenous child soldier, who was forced to leave her family behind in the Amazon. Their stories are told through the lens of Director Laura Àngel, who herself was a victim of FARC violence, and highlights the intersectional identities of those returning from war as they seek acceptance and community—despite their pasts. Colombia, in a watershed moment, is documented through these characters as they reimagine their post-conflict futures. By focusing on three individuals, Strangers to Peace humanizes a broad and difficult topic, exploring issues like inequality, political ideology, justice, trauma, and reconciliation.

Keywords: FARC, reconciliation, Colombia, ex-combatants

  • Year, duration, language: 2022, 88′, Spanish, Barasana with English ST
  • Countries of production: Colombia, USA
  • Shooting location: Colombia

F7 Can’t Wear Flip Flops (To an Online Funeral) - Ellen Lapper

Ellen Lapper (N/A)

Thursday, 27.07.23 (A 119, 16:00-18:00)

Synopsis: Can’t Wear Flip Flips (To an Online Funeral) is an in-progress autoethnographic film which follows the filmmaker and her partner’s attendance at an online funeral during the height of the Covid pandemic. Unbeknown to both at the time, the service didn’t go to plan. Alternating between a screen recording from their perspective and a face-on view of their reactions, the main body of the film unfolds as an un-staged and honest attempt to remain connected virtually and uphold traditional mourning practices. On the surface, it offers a light-hearted approach to our often-tabooed confrontation with death, whilst its greater significance points towards the need for close collaboration between service providers and the bereaved in order to best harness digital technologies. After all, the speed at which technology races ahead is often unforgiving towards grief.

Keywords: Death; grief; digital death; digital technologies; online mourning; online grieving; autoethnography; covid-19; pandemic; coronavirus; funeral; anthropology of death

  • Year, duration, language: 2022, 5′, English with English subtitles
  • Countries of production: Switzerland; United Kingdom
  • Shooting locations: La Becque, Switzerland; Cyberspace

Filmmaker present

This film is also available online from July 24th to August 1st

F8 Maasai Speak Back (Vanessa Wijngaarden)

Vanessa Wijngaarden (University of Johannesburg)

Thursday, 27.07.23 (A 119, 16:00-18:00)

Synopsis: The (mis)adventures of five tourist groups in a dry and poor area of Tanzania are explained and commented on by both the Dutch tourists and the Maasai villagers involved, revealing and destroying not only the widespread Maasai stereotype, but also the imagery Maasai have of ‘whites’. Both hosts and guests discover what the ‘others’ were actually saying and thinking at the time they met, gaining insight in each others’ and their own life situations and attitudes. As they send each other video messages, their surprised, emotional and ashamed reactions culminate in revealing, regretful and sincere dialogues, facilitated by the camera. The painful and funny situations open layer upon layer of self-reflection, shifting visions on what it means to be honest and to thrive, and exploring novel potential for relationships across difference. Sometimes hesitantly, sometimes eagerly, eyes and hearts open up, and Maasai and Dutch who were once face-to-face, come to experience an increased connection with each other, although they are now thousands of kilometres apart. Even if the huge international inequality and local cultural constellations often make it hard for Maasai women to be heard, when they speak their mind here, their strength, empathy, wisdom and authority draws one into a worldview that questions and provides alternatives for the expanding capitalist and individualist rationales. The story line and cinematography playfully address the entanglements of contrast and continuities between the two worlds, or is it only one?

Keywords: Cultural tourism; othering; ethnographies of encounter; stereotypes; reflexivity; Maasai

  • Year, duration, language: 2020, 106′, Maa, Swahili, Dutch and English with English ST
  • Country of production: The Netherlands
  • Shooting locations: Tanzania and the Netherlands

Filmmaker present

This film is also available online from July 24th to August 1st

F9 A Family Portrait (Shubham Sharma)

Shubham Sharma (Student, University of Münster)

Friday, 28.07.23 (A 119, 9:45-11:00)

Synopsis: An auto-ethnographic film that explores the sensory relationship between distance and memory and what role they play in an immigrant’s migration experience. By using the archive footage from back home I wanted to take an audience on a journey leading to my home where that family portrait exists.

Keywords: Archive, migration, auto-ethnography

  • Year, duration, language: 2022, 5′, English with English ST
  • Countries of production: India, Germany
  • Shooting location: Amritsar, India

This film is also available online from July 24th to August 1st

F10 Are you with me (Mark Lindenberg & Sophia van Ghesel Grothe)

Mark Lindenberg & Sophia van Ghesel Grothe (Leiden University)

Friday, 28.07.23 (A 119, 9:45-11:00)

Synopsis: The documentary ‘ben jij bij mij/are you with me’ portrays Joke van den Broek (92 years), an imaginative woman living in the Netherlands. She used to work as a primary school teacher, and is a real story teller who sees a silver lining in everything. Joke still lives at home and can handle that just fine. Nevertheless, she has to outsource more and more tasks. She doesn’t want to know anything about this. Or… has she perhaps forgotten that she can do less and less? She takes us, as film-makers and family, along with her experiences over the course of three years. Joke needs to rediscover herself, without her (hi)story and familiar surroundings. There are moments of confusion in the nursing home when her vision and memories become blurry, and there are moments of light when loving family and nature are around her. Without her story, but with proper attention and care, Joke is as wise as ever and teaches us about accepting getting older.

Keywords: Alzheimer, Dementia, Ageing

  • Year, duration, language: 2022, 46′, Dutch with English ST
  • Country of production: The Netherlands
  • Shooting location: The Netherlands

This film is also available online from July 24th to August 1st

F11 Amazon, the New Minamata? (Jorge Bodanzky)

Jorge Bodanzky (Filmmaker)

Friday, 28.07.23 (A 119, 11:30-13:00)

Synopsis: This documentary reveals how mercury contamination threatens the inhabitants of Amazonia with the shadow of the Minamata Disease, as it follows the saga of the Munduruku people to contain the destructive impact of gold mining in their ancestral territory.

Keywords: Amazon, environmental, human rights, gold mining


  • Year, duration, language: 2022, 76′, Portuguese, Japanese with English ST
  • Country of production: Brazil
  • Shooting locations: Pará (Brazil), Minamata (Japan)

Film Panels

FP1 + FP2: The Poetics and Politics of Multimodal Knowledge Production

FP1: Wednesday, 26.07.23 (A 119, 16:00-17:30)

FP2: Thursday, 27.07.23 (A 119, 14:00-15:30)

Miriam Remter, LMU Munich

In these two panels we wish to discuss the poetics and politics of multimodal knowledge production. The history of ethnographic filmmaking is by its very nature permeated by contested knowledges and by a plurality of anthropological perspectives. From Rouch’s anthropologie partagée, and Gardner’s evocation of experience, to MacDougall’s and Taylor/Paravel’s sensorial-embodied filmmaking – the ways in which ethnographic ‘documentaries’ are dealing with and producing knowledge(s) are diverse and often controversial. Today the growing uses of media for intended misinformation, the possibilities of audio-visual deep fakes, and the claim of ‘alternative facts’ are fueling a distrust in academic knowledge production and audio-visual documents alike. In times of national and global political polarizations and of an unprecedented human induced environmental crisis on the one hand, and of a trend toward highly scripted and dramatized documentary formats on the other, the question of who is speaking for whom and with what authority seems as pressing as the necessity for transcultural mediation.

In these panels we intend to discuss film not only regarding individual topics and filmic styles, but also in a broader sense, regarding its general role and potential in (academic) knowledge production and public reach. In this regard we will also focus on the often unheard or unseen, on indigenous and non-human forms of knowledge and expressions. Based on the invited films we wish to get into a lively discussion. In it we would like to discuss the following related topics, among others:

  • Contested access: Whose Voice – whose story? Public Knowledge, Politics, and Memory
  • Multimodal Politics: Audiovisual Media as Methods for Ethnographic Knowledge Production, Participation, Collaboration, and Representation

In two panels the filmmakers present at the conference will discuss these and other topics based on their films. Participants are invited to actively participate in the discussion of these topics and in this context can also ask the filmmakers further questions about the films shown.


Steffen Köhn, Aarhus University: Dinamita

Anne Chahine, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (RIFS): The Letter Project

Kata Beilin and Sainath Suryanarayanan, University of Wisconsin, Madison: Maya Land: Listening to the Bees

Fayza Harby-Bemmann, University of Jena: The Last Letter to Nasser

Ellen Lapper, N/A: Can’t Wear Flip Flops (To an Online Funeral)

Vanessa Wijngaarden, University of Johannesburg: Maasai Speak Back

Jorge Bodanzky, Filmmaker: Amazon, the New Minamata?