AGENET Guide to RAI Film Festival 2023

The hybrid Royal Anthropological Institute’s Film Festival (RAIFF) will kick off on 3 March and the competition films will be available online until 31 March. This year RAIFF has a strong AGENET presence, with a special panel sponsored by AGENET and VANEASA at the festival’s online conference. Additionally in the Official Selection there are several films on aging, the life course, intergenerational relations and care which will definitely be of interest to AGENET members. Check the AGENET Guide to the RAI Film Festival and see you the festival!


AGENET and VANEASA’s Sponsored Panel:

Care and Images: Speculative Futures of Care as Visual Practice [AGENET/VANEASA] by Barbara Pieta (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology) and Paolo Favero (University of Antwerp)

Anthropologists increasingly think of care as a speculative practice, involving activity that is more-than-human. Plants, microbes, animals, water and soil as well as technologies, ghosts, songs, and images are now recognized as agents of care. Caring has broken away from previous oversimplified associations with protection, affect and doing good as well as from fixed notions of personhood and individualized non-permeable bodies. Our common futures are now understood as being anchored in the capacity to reimagine and responsibly intervene in current relations of more-than-human care.

This panel will interrogate these efforts to reimagine care. We will ask how care is or can be related to imagination and more broadly to imagistic (technology- assisted) practices embedded in multisensory experience. If care and vision are intertwined, in what past and current regimes are these intertwinements grounded and what futurities do they generate or limit? How, and to what extent, can images and image-making transform the power asymmetries and epistemological tensions that shape the experiences of illness, healing, ageing, caregiving, care-receiving or death in the multispecies world? If images or visual technologies can be phenomenological lenses through which we “open up” care, what new possible (or existing but marginalized) meanings emerge? Finally, to what extent are both emic and anthropological image-making shaped by ethics of care? We invite ethnographically-inspired contributions and experiments that allow us to think with and beyond these questions. By doing so, we hope to probe the potential and limits of care as an embodied visual (research) practice.

This panel is sponsored by the EASA’s Age and Generations Network (AGENET) and Visual Anthropology Network of EASA (VANEASA).

Links to the papers and sessions:







PANEL 1: The future of multimodal anthropology: exploring venues of public engagement and academic publishing by Letizia Bonanno (University of Kent), Charlie Rumsby (Sussex University), José Sherwood Gonzalez (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Multimodal anthropology has the potential to unsettle disciplinary boundaries and provide an entry point into debates from different angles, whether that be digital, text, film, drawing, theatre, photography. The unsettling of disciplinary boundaries also offers an opportunity for anthropologists to engage publicly in new meaningful and impactful ways. In the American context the tide is turning with an emphasis on the multimodal. In Europe, the newly established Multimodal Ethnography Network is another example of a collective response to multimodal anthropology and ethnographic practice. The momentum surrounding multimodal anthropology is birthing alternative ways of knowing, collaboration, and dissemination. However, it seems that publishing venues are not just yet attuned to such growing interest and often are unable to accommodate multimodal publications.

Following on from such considerations, this panel asks: what space does multimodal publishing have in British Anthropology? In an increasingly digitalised world, is multimodal publishing the future of an engaged anthropology? What is the future of multimodal anthropologies? Is multimodality just another ‘theoretical turn’ which is only temporarily capturing the academic imagination or is it actually paving the way towards alternative futures for publishing and public engagement? In trying to answer these questions, this panel seeks to foster creative, critical, and pluri-disciplinary dialogues and productions between researchers in anthropology, on its fringes, and beyond. As such this panel wants to critically explore novel ways and modes to unsettle traditional anthropological modes of inquiries and invites contributions that engage with multimodal practices and publications beyond the traditional conference paper presentation.

Links to the papers and sessions:



EVENT: University of Oxford: Disobedient Buildings: A visual ethnography of aging bodies in aging buildings, by Inge Daniels (University of Oxford)

This event will showcase ‘She Waves At Me’ a short ethnographic film about aging bodies in aging buildings directed by Inge Daniels, Professor of Anthropology at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at the University of Oxford. The film forms an integral part of Disobedient Buildings, an AHRC-funded project, that uses visual ethnography to explore housing, welfare and well being in European tower blocks (

Inge Daniels, the Principal Investigator on the Disobedient Buildings project, will contextualise, screen and discuss the film, which is based on 2 years of ethnographic fieldwork (combined with a range of experimental methods) conducted in central London at the height of the pandemic between July 2020 and June 2022. The film focuses on one of the key themes that developed during the research; the elderly, care and housing. ‘She Waves At Me’ juxtaposes the intricate care that goes into maintaining aging buildings and their surroundings with elderly inhabitants’ struggles and strategies to create safe and comfortable homes for themselves and their loved ones.


FILMS across the programme focusing on ageing, the life course and/or care

Forms of Care

by Charlotte Kühlbrandt and Maayan L. Matz


A stop-motion animation following the story of a mundane death, and the forms of care that accompany it. The script is taken verbatim from an interview conducted as part of an ethnographic research project examining everyday practices of palliative care.

The Mother of Many Children

by Alanis Obomsawin


In her first feature-length documentary Alanis Obomsawin honours the central place of women and mothers within Indigenous cultures. An album of Indigenous womanhood, the film portrays proud matriarchal cultures that for centuries have been pressured to adopt the standards and customs of the dominant society. Tracing the cycle of Indigenous women’s lives from birth to childhood, puberty, young adulthood, maturity and old age, the film reveals how Indigenous women have fought to regain a sense of equality, instilled cultural pride in their children and passed on their stories and language to new generations.

Voices of Kula

by Gina Knapp


Voices of Kula tells a story of empowerment, of local responses to cultural and economic changes, and of the strive to revitalise cultural heritage. A group of elders from Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea and a cooperating anthropologist set out on an intriguing journey around an island network in the South Pacific to strengthen kula, a traditional system of exchanging shell-valuables around a ‘ring’ of approximately forty islands. Fearing the destructive impacts of cash-economy on kula practice, the team takes action to fight misconduct and the corruption of the system. Voices of Kula takes the viewer on a journey into an intriguing inter-island network of exchange relationships – with some stunning encounters along the way.

The Order of Things

by Ramona Badescu


At the ripe age of 90 years old, Alexandru gardens, jokes, and continues to repair watches in the workshop opened by his father in 1909 in southern Romania. But what is invisible to everyone, and what has changed his life forever, is his past as a political prisoner. The Order of Things is an attempt to record the fragmented memory of one of the last direct witnesses of the Romanian forced labour camps and political prisons as well as an ode to resilience.

Tobacco memories

by Manca Filak


The villages in southwest Bulgaria have long been known for the cultivation and production of tobacco. Muslim Pomaks, still engaged in this work, are facing a decline due to the low purchase price of dry tobacco leaves and difficult working conditions. Tobacco manufacture, once an element of identification of the villages, is now becoming an element of the past, a part of social memory fused with multiple connotations and meanings. Tobacco Memories follows Fatme and her family in the village of Debren and shows the spatial and material dimensions of tobacco production, and the family’s relationship to the slowly disappearing lifestyle.

Anshan Diaries

by Xiuzhi Dong


Director Charles Xiuzhi Dong uses real family life as its backdrop. Casting his grandpa he investigates and retraces his family saga spanning three decades of Chinese post-cultural revolution history.

La Tumba Mambi

by Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier and DJ Jigüe


As a result of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), many French settlers travelled to Eastern Cuba with their slaves to escape the revolt. The Tumba Francesa Societies, known as a brotherhood and a mutual aid network, emerged from these waves of slave migrations. Through the Society’s youngest member, Flavio, we meet his grandmother Andrea and mother Queli, two charismatic knowledge keepers of their rich cultural traditions. The original film soundtrack composed and produced by Cuban based DJ Jigüe, in collaboration with the Tumba Francesa members, is a rhythmic and striking reminder that the present is grounded in a history of struggles for freedom.

The Soil

by Zuzanna Solakiewicz


A contemporary village and its unconventional dwellers of different ages have one thing in common; their strong attachment to folk culture. In this film, music is as important as images, accompanying key events in their lives.

The Intersection

by Daniel Quintanilla and Jessamine Irwin


Cecile reconnects with the French of her childhood, thanks to recently-arrived Franco-African immigrants, like Trésor, seeking asylum in Cecile’s hometown of Lewiston, Maine. Cecile’s Franco roots tie her to the thousands of French-Canadians who came before her to power the local mills, and who suffered from decades of discrimination and oppression. As history repeats itself, Cecile and Trésor develop a close friendship that helps Cecile finally find pride in being Franco-American.


by Mehdi Imani Shahmiri


Keshvar is a lonely, old woman crafting an ancient, unknown woven textile, telling a strange story of a fairy and a shepherd who came to their village one day.

Our Spirits Keep Coming

by Bruno Huyer and Ariel Ortega

In Tekoa Ko’ẽju, Pará Yxapy, a Mbya Guarani indigenous woman is dedicated to the first moments of care towards her child, who lies in her womb, and, along with her relatives, ponders about the meanings of her pregnancy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil.

Disability Futures

Films from across the programme focusing on disabled and neurodiverse lifeworlds

Ishaare: Gestures and Signs in Mumbai

1h 20m

by Annelies Kusters

The film “Ishaare” documents how six deaf signers communicate with familiar and unfamiliar hearing shopkeepers, street vendors, customers, waiters, ticket conductors and fellow travellers in Mumbai. Reena and Pradip, who is deaf blind, go grocery shopping along local streets, in markets and in shops. Sujit, our guide throughout the movie, communicates in public transport. Mahesh is a retail businessman who sells stocks of pens to stationery shops. Komal runs an accessory shop with her husband Sanjay, where most customers are schoolgirls. Durga is the manager of a branch of Café Coffee Day, an upmarket coffee chain. When enquiring, selling, bargaining and chitchatting, these deaf and hearing people use gestures and signs, and they also lipread, mouthe, read and write in different spoken languages. In the film, they share how they experience these ways of communication.

All God’s Children

by Robert Lemelson and Chisako Yokoyama Adair


Well over half a million children in Indonesia are on the autism spectrum and have varying difficulty with social interaction and communication. Idris is a nonverbal autistic boy living in rural Java who struggles to communicate and connect with others in his village. This is his story, and a story of how grassroots disability awareness movements, local cultural models of inclusion, and religious principles can unite to better support all members of a community.

Bridging the Gap

by Nina Ross and Meg Barrett


Aged 18, Meg started hearing a voice. She tried ignoring it, didn’t tell a soul, yet the voice grew. More abusive, more delusional and often completely out of her control. Eventually, her paranoia wore her down. She experienced ‘an explosion of mental health’, followed by years of medical intervention and institutions. Bridging the Gap offers a snapshot of Meg’s world as she grapples with the boundaries between her internal delusions and her everyday life. This film challenges the viewer’s perspective on hearing voices, opens their eyes on medicalisation, and begs the question ‘what even is reality?’.

Ernesto, gracias

by Laura Ángel


From her intimate gaze, Laura portrays her brother Ernesto and the dilemmas surrounding autism. Liliana, their mother, has carried the burden of a complex motherhood. Laura is afraid to repeat her mother’s story.

Nkabom: A little medicine, a little prayer

by Erminia Colucci


A mother is caring for her son at a healing shrine on the edge of a village in the central belt of Ghana. In another village, a father has taken his son to several Christian and traditional healers as well as a psychiatric hospital. Both are driven by the need to find a cure for the mental illness which has afflicted their children. Meanwhile mental health nurses in Ghana are looking for ways to join together with healers in their communities. They know these healers are popular and respect their beliefs, but they are concerned that some use chains to restrain their patients. How can they work together with healers without threatening their reputation and livelihoods? And how can nurses offer treatment without access to medication and transport?

Pushing Boundaries

by Lesia Kordonets


Athletes from the Ukrainian Paralympic National Team have lost their training base in Crimea due to the Russian annexation in 2014. They try to adapt to the new historic conditions in their private, as well as in their professional lives, to qualify for the next games. Pushing Boundaries shows people who grow beyond their physical limits on a daily basis, while around them political boundaries are pushed back and forth. Furthermore, the country they represent at international competitions is invalided by the amputation of its territories.


Film Festival Programme:

Conference Timetable: