About TIEFF 2005

Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival 2005
—Family Variations—

Founded in 2001, biennial TIEFF (Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival) is the first international ethnographic film festival in Asia. With the media of ethnographic films, TIEFF aims at improving the communication and understanding between different cultures and ethnic groups. Apart from the film festival itself, TIEFF also holds a circuit showing in the subsequent year.

In 2001, the first TIEFF was held in Chen- Shan-Mei cinema in Taipei, featuring the theme of “Island Odyssey” and received high opinion after its showing. As to 2003 TIEFF, with the theme of “Migration Story” included films from all over the world. Based on above-mentioned successful experiences, 2005 TIEFF hopes to bring different perspectives to issues of breaking the national boundaries and getting a closer veiw of different cultures.

The central theme of this year’s TIEFF is “Family Variations.” As a social unit closely intertwined with gender roles, marriage, kinship systems, religious traditions, as well as highly influenced by political, economic, and social factors, the concept and practice of “family” refer to much more than individual families. “Family variations” will then attempt to present a cross-cultural perspective of various families, family relations, marriage and kinship systems forged by different cultures within their varied and changing realities. Apart from these brilliant films in “Family Variations” category, 2005 TIEFF also has a “New Vision” category for documentary films recently completed during 2003 to 2005.
As far as the retrospective programs are concerned, this year TIEFF arranges two sections to respectively pay homage to two renowned Australian directors, David and Judith MacDougall as well as the eminent American director, John Marshall, who just passed away this April. Both David and Judith MacDougall, as the pivotal ethnographic filmmakers who contribute to the inspiring discussion of the mode of production of “observational cinema” and “participatory cinema”, are profoundly influential to the ethnographic film theory and its practice. Thus, collaborated with the theme of “Family Variations”, 2005 TIEFF introduces two of the MacDougalls’ co-directed works filmed in Kenya, Lorang’s Way and A Wife among Wives, and Judith MacDougall’s The House-Opening filmed in Australia, which are about the theme of marriage, the formation of family and social relation.

As for the other significant figure in our retrospective program, John Marshall, the founder of DER (Documentary Educational Resource), who initiated his lifetime interest towards filming Ju/hoansi Bushman in South Africa’s Kakahari Desert after his very first trip to Africa with his family in 1950, TIEFF intends to invite the audience to explore the essence of Marshall’s film world. The crystallization of Marshall’s devotion to the filming of the Kalahari’s Bushmen is gathered in a six hour/five part series of A Kalahari Family. In order to show the different perspective of his works, we will include the first two parts of A Kalahari Family and one of his early films, A Joking Relationship in Marshall’s retrospective program.