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Memories of the Origins of Ethnographic Film

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Beate Engelbrecht

Ethnographic Film, which combines documentary filming and anthropological research, originated in the late 19 th century. Early on, anthropologists used film to record cultures. Documentary filmmakers in the early 20 th century developed different strategies, with technical developments aiding further advances. In the 1950s to 1970s, intense debates among anthropologists, filmmakers and artists, many of whom met regularly at conferences and festivals, took place on the methodology of ethnographic filmmaking. Their discussions were handed on by word of mouth, but rarely recorded or published. In 2001, the pioneers of ethnographic film met in Göttingen and put together their recollections of the genre’s Origins, thus giving an unusual insight into the development of ethnographic film.
Contents: Beate Engelbrecht: Preface – Paul Hockings: The Early Years of Visual Anthropology – Luc de Heusch: The Prehistory of Ethnographic Film – Richard Leacock: Robert Flaherty as I Knew Him – Christof Decker: Richard Leacock and the Origins of Direct Cinema: Re-assessing the Idea of an ‘Uncontrolled Cinema’ – Brian Winston: Grierson Versus Ethnographic Film – Gerald Sullivan: Recording Social Interaction: Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson’s Contribution to Visual Anthropology in Ethnographic Context – Patsy Asch: From Bushmen to Ju/’Hoansi: A personal Reflection on the Early Films of John Marshall – John Bishop: Life By Myth: The Development of Ethnographic Filming in the Work of John Marshall – Sarah Elder: Pulling Focus: Timothy Asch Between Filmmaking and Pedagogy – David MacDougall: Colin Young, Ethnographic Film and the Film Culture of the 1960s – Judith MacDougall: Colin Young and Running Around With a Camera – Paul Henley: The Origins of Observational Cinema: Conversations with Colin Young – Richard Chalfen: The Worth/Adair Navajo Experiment - Unanticipated Results and Reactions – Peter Biella: The Legacy of John Collier, Jr. – Dorothy Todd Henaut: George Stoney: The Johnny Appelseed of Documentary – Harald Prins/John Bishop: «Let Me Tell You A Story»: Edmund Carpenter as Forerunner in the Anthropology of Visual Media – Paul Hockings: Asen Balikci Films Nanook – Karl G. Heider: Robert Gardner: The Early Years – Ákos Östör: Robert Gardner’s Ambivalent Anthropological Filmmaking – Sharon R. Sherman: From Romanticism to Reflexivity in the Films of Jorge Preloran – Ian Bryson: Visual Anthropology: The AIATSIS Contribution – Hart Cohen: Early Ethnographic Film and Documentary: Points of Contact – Howard Morphy: The Aesthetics of Communication and the Communication of Cultural Aesthetics: A Perspective on Ian Dunlop’s Films of Aboriginal Australia – Colette Piault: Festivals, Conferences, Seminars and Networks in Visual Anthropology in Europe – Marc Henry Piault: The «cine-transe» and the Reign of the Subject: Jean Rouch – Joëlle Kühne: Luc de Heusch: Science of Art and Art of Science – Rolf Husmann: Post-War Ethnographic Filmmaking in Germany: Peter Fuchs, the IWF and the Encyclopaedia Cinematographica – Naško Križnar: Meeting Visual Anthropology in Transit Countries Slovenian case – János Tari: Making Ethnographic Films - Experiences from East Europe – Wilma Kiener/Eva Meiß: Women Pioneers: An Interview with Four Founding Figures of Ethnographic Film – Fadwa El Guindi: Back to the Future of Visual Anthropology - From Rock Art, to Visual Ethnography, to PowerPoint’.