The RAI Film Festival is a biennial event dedicated to the celebration of the best in ethnographic, anthropological and archaeological filmmaking from around the globe.
First held in 1985, and one of the longest-established in its field, RAI-FF has served as a leading forum for exploring the multiple relationships between documentary filmmaking, anthropology, visual culture, and the advocacy of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue through film.
It is organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute in partnership with the Center for Visual Anthropology, University of Southern California Dornsife and in the UK, with anthropology and/or film departments of the University of Bristol, University of Exeter, University of Falmouth, Goldsmiths (University of London), University of Manchester, University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, University of Sussex, University of the West of England and the University of Westminster.
The programme is structured around three strands over four days, with the main strand consisting of films shortlisted for five main prizes: RAI Film Prize; Basil Wright Prize; Wiley Blackwell Student Prize; Material Culture and Archaeology Prize; Intangible Culture: Music-Dance-Performance Prize. Find out more about the individual prizes and awards here.
Previous prize winning films have come from all over the world. In 2015, they included Baka: A Cry from the Rainforest (dir. Phil Agland, UK, RAI Prize), Sepideh – Reaching for the Stars (dir. Berit Madsen, Denmark, Basil Wright Prize),Leaving Greece (dir. Anna Brass, Germany, Student Prize). In 2013, they included The Bastard Sings the Sweetest Song(dir. Christy Garland, Canada, RAI Prize), Act of Killing (dir. Joshua Oppenheimer, UK, joint winner Basil Wright Prize), Like Here, Like There (dirs. Anjali Monteiro, K.P. Jayasankar, India, joint winner Basil Wright Prize) and Playing with Nan (dirs. Dipesh Karel, Asami Saito, Nepal & Japan, Student Prize).
Two other strands offer a diverse range of parallel events, including further screenings on themes of current interest, specialised workshops and master classes, while in 2017, there will be a particular emphasis on student filmmaking.
In 2015 the Festival was held for the first time at the Watershed Cinema in Bristol, where it will return for its 15thedition in 2017.