We are pleased to announce the 12th edition of the Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival (TIEFF), to be held in Taipei from October 5–9, 2023. The biennial festival is the longest running festival of its kind in Asia. Since 2001, by showcasing outstanding documentaries from Taiwan and around the world, TIEFF has introduced the Taiwanese public to a wide variety of anthropological topics as well as the communities with whom anthropologists work. By moving ethnography off of the page and on to the screen, the festival seeks to both attract new audiences to the discipline of anthropology, as well as push the boundaries of what ethnography can do. 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.
TIEFF takes a flexible stance regarding what counts as an “ethnographic” film. We present documentary films (and occasionally more experimental genres) that portray communities in a culturally sensitive and historically contextualized way. We showcase films by both “insider” and “outsider” filmmakers, by both established and new directors, by academic anthropologists, professional filmmakers, journalists, educators and artists. We seek films which are made in an ethical manner without sensationalizing their subjects. Films that are the product of long-term close collaboration between filmmaker and subject are especially welcome. 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. We strongly encourage filmmakers from Indigenous and other marginalized communities to submit their work to our festival.
All films submitted to the festival must have been completed between January 2021 and January 2023. While we occasionally do accept fiction films, experimental art films, biographies, sports documentaries, and concert films, such films will only be considered if they are accompanied by a convincing statement regarding their suitability for the festival. All festival films go through a highly selective screening process. Films on any topic will be considered, but special consideration will be given to films that match the festival theme (as described below). The festival does not have a competition or offer prizes or awards.
The theme for the 2023 TIEFF is “Media/Memory.” Collective memories — the stories passed down from one generation to the next within a family, a village, a nation, etc. — become intimately connected to the media through which they are transmitted. For this year’s festival, we are looking for films that explore such questions as: Why and how are Indigenous and other minority communities losing, reviving, or transforming the traditional media they use to they tell their histories and myths (such as recitation, song, embroidery, and carving)? What happens when traditional stories are told through non-traditional media (such as digital animation)? When traditional media are used to tell new stories? What audiences are gained or lost? Also, photography, the museum, and of course, documentary film, are still often seen as “objective” media that show the reality of their subjects rather than the subjectivity of the photographers, curators or filmmakers. They are also associated with the “capture” and “preservation” of their subjects, fixing them in a particular moment in time, unchanging. How can the associations of these media with objectivity, stasis, and the death or disappearance of the subjects be disrupted?
All entries must be submitted via our FilmFreeway account at: https://filmfreeway.com/festival/TIEFF
Entry submission deadline: March 31