TIEFF 2019: Call For Films

The 10th Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival 2019


We are proud to announce the 10th edition of the Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival (TIEFF), to be held in Taipei from October 4th to 8th in 2019. Founded in 2001, the biennial festival is Asia’s oldest and longest running international ethnographic film festival. For 18 years TIEFF has served to promote outstanding documentary films from around the world that are innovative, educational, and entertaining. These films, directed by both new and established filmmakers alike, all share a commitment to portraying stories and social practices from around the world in a culturally sensitive way. In addition to the main festival in Taipei, TIEFF also sponsors a touring festival, bringing a portion of the selected films to communities and classrooms across Taiwan the following Spring.

TIEFF takes a flexible stance regarding what counts as an “ethnographic” film, including not just works made by anthropologists but also films made by professional filmmakers who display an ethnographic sensibility in their work. That means films which are made in an ethical manner without sensationalizing their subjects. Films that are the product of a long term close collaboration between filmmaker and subject are especially welcome. While we occasionally do accept fiction films, experimental art films, biographies, sports documentaries, and films about musicians, such films will only be considered if they are accompanied by a convincing statement regarding their suitability for the festival. TIEFF is especially proud of its commitment to celebrating the uniqueness and vibrancy of indigenous cultures and has been one of Taiwan’s most important venues for showcasing the work of both local and international indigenous filmmakers. As such we strongly encourage indigenous filmmakers to submit their work to our festival.

All films submitted to the festival must have been completed in the two years prior to the festival or on the festival year itself. For this festival that would mean films completed between 2017 and 2019. Films on any topic will be considered, but special consideration will be given to films that match the festival theme (as described below). All festival films go through a highly selective screening process. (In 2017 we selected just 42 films out of 1500 entries.) As such, festival does not have a competition or offer prizes or awards.

This year’s theme, “Visions of Sovereignty,” explores our relationships with our land, our bodies, and with each other. Moving beyond traditional political-legal notions of the state, “Visions of Sovereignty” is inspired by the work of indigenous activists and scholars who have called into question the idea that sovereign entities are neatly bounded by clearly marked borders, and that everyone within those boundaries is equally beholden to the state. Instead they ask us to look at sovereignty as a process shaped by how we see our world and our unique place within it. Going back to Hobbes the state has long been thought of as a giant person, with the focus on the body’s head, occupied by a king or some other ruler. “Visions of Sovereignty” returns our gaze to the stories of the individual men and women who make up the body of the state, showing how they adapt to, challenge, and sometimes even change the very nature of sovereignty.


  • Submission period: January 10, 2019 – March 10, 2019
  • Final notification date: July 31, 2019
  • Festival dates: October 4 – 8, 2019 (in Taipei, Taiwan)

Qualified Works

  • All films submitted to the festival must have been completed between 2017 and 2019.
  • TIEFF is an ethnographic film festival, as such, all films should display an “ethnographic sensibility” (see above).
  • Fiction films, experimental art films, biographies, sports documentaries, and films about musicians must be accompanied by a statement regarding their suitability for the festival.
  • Each filmmaker may submit a maximum of two films.
  • Films on any topic will be considered, but special consideration will be given to films that match the festival theme (as described above).
  • Entries in any language other than either English or Chinese should be subtitled in one of those two languages.
  • The festival is open to films/videos made in all formats.
  • We do not accept open submission of films shorter than 12 minutes or longer than 210 minutes, but will occasionally make exceptions by special arrangement.

Instructions for Submitting Films

  • All entries must be submitted via our Film Freeway account at:

  • TIEFF does not require entries fees to submit to the festival.
  • All entrants should complete the FilmFreeway submission form presented during the submission process.
  • All screeners should be submitted online through FilmFreeway. They can either be uploaded directly to your FilmFreeway account or linked to files hosted on Vimeo or YouTube.
  • If the screener is password protected, be sure to provide a password that is valid for at least six months from the date of submission, or until the selection process is completed (whichever comes first). It is your responsibility to notify us if any changes are made.
  • If there is a reason you are unable to submit your film via FilmFreeway which cannot be solved by their technical support, feel free to contact us via email <[email protected]> for further assistance.

Rules and Terms

  • TIEFF does not pay screening fees. By submitting your film via FilmFreeway you acknowledge that the festival will not pay to present your work.
  • Once a film is selected, the holder of its copyrights automatically authorizes TIEFF to promote the production on public television and on the internet in short trailers up to 4 minutes in length.
  • If your film is selected, you must provide a press kit, including production stills that the festival can use in its promotional materials, publications and on social media.
  • A copy of all films selected for the festival will be preserved in TIEFF office. (For internal, non-public, academic use only.)
  • All films are required to have English subtitles for non-English dialogue. We ask Chinese speaking directors to provide both Chinese and English subtitles for their films. TIEFF will provide Chinese subtitles for films by non-Chinese speaking directors.
  • In order to produce the subtitled version of the film for screening, we require that we receive high quality tapes (such as BETACAM SP NTSC) or digital masters that we can use to make the subtitled version of the film for screening. As this technology is constantly changing, we will discuss this with directors after their films have been selected.
  • The festival reserves the right to make any necessary changes to these rules and regulations at any time and without notice.

Festival Team

Hu, Tai-li (President); Lin, Wenlin (Vice President); Tsai, Futuru C.L. (Director); Friedman, P. Kerim (Programmer), Huang, Susan (Coordinator)