16th RAI Film Festival Prize Winners

Who triumphed at the 16th RAI Film Festival? See below to see which films our judges awarded prizes to.


Royal Anthropological Institute Film Prize

Awarded biennially since 1980, this prize is for `the most outstanding film on social, cultural and biological anthropology or archaeology’. The value of the prize is £500.

Winner: Of Love and Law (Dir. Hikaru Toda)
Commendation: Abu (Dir. Arshad Khan)

The Basil Wright Film Prize

Awarded biennially since 1986 this prize is for a film in the ethnographic tradition that takes advantage of the evocative faculty of film as a means of furthering a concern for humanity and for communicating that concern to others. The value of the prize is £500.

Winner: Thank You For the Rain (dir. Julia Dahr)
Commendation: Awake, A Dream From Standing Rock  (dirs. Josh Fox, James Spione, Myron Dewey)

Dartmouth Films Audience Prize

Voted by the audience at the RAI Film Festival, and sponsored by Dartmouth Films. The value of the prize is £250.

Winner: Even When I Fall (dirs. Kate McLarnon, Sky Neal)


Archaeology and Material Culture Film Prize

This award has been offered by the Film Festival Committee since 1990 and is for the best film about the social use and cultural significance of material objects, be it at the present time or any previous period in human history.  The value of the prize is £250

Winner: The Book of the Sea (dir. Aleksei Vakhrushev)


Intangible Culture Film Prize

Named with reference to the UNESCO designation ‘Intangible Culture’, this prize is for the best ethnographic film that deals with music, dance, and performance. The value of the prize is £250.

Winner: Ballad on the Shore  (dir. Chi-hang Ma)
Commendation: A Delicate Weave (Anjali Monteiro, KP Jayasankar)


Royal Anthropological Institute & Marsh Short Film Prize

Introduced in 2019, this prize is for the most outstanding short film on anthropology or archaeology. This prize is sponsored by the Marsh Christian Trust. The value of the prize is £500.

Winner: Even Asteroids Are Not Alone (dir. Jón Bjarki Magnússon)
Commendations: Father’s Prescription (dir. Enke Huang) and Fire Mouth (Luciano Pérez Fernández)


Wiley Blackwell Student Film Prize

Awarded for the first time in 1990, and since 2005 sponsored by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, this prize is given to the most outstanding film in the ethnographic tradition made by a student enrolled in a recognized educational institution. The value of the prize is £250.

Winner: The Absence of Apricots (dir. Daniel Asadi Faezi)
Commendations: It Was Tomorrow (Alexandra D’onofrio) and A Very Dai Girl (MengHua Zhang)


The following Awards were announced prior to the Festival:

President’s Award

Assigned by the Film Festival Committee to a film of truly exceptional merit that addresses issues of great contemporary importance and concern in anthropology or archaeology. This film may take the form of either fiction or fact-based documentary, and need not necessarily belong to any conventional ethnographic genre.

Winner: Edge of the Knife (dirs. Gwaai Edenshaw, Helen Haig-Brown)


The Richard Werbner Award for Visual Anthropology

Funded since 2011 by Richard Werbner, this award is given to a film that is made by an anthropologist – preferably as part of a doctoral or post-doctoral research project – based upon extensive fieldwork. The value of the prize is £250.

Winner: Heartbound (dirs. Janus Metz, Sine Plambech)
Commendations: Horror in the Andes (dir. Martha-Cecilia Dietrich), This is My Face  (dir. Angélica Cabezas Pino), and Tindaya Variations (dir. Isaac Marrero-Guillamon)


Ethnomusicology Film Award

This award is the most outstanding film about music/sound in the world. The award is sponsored by the British Forum for Ethnomusicology.  The value of the prize is £250.

Winner: Up Down and Sideways (dirs. Anushka Meenakshi, Iswar Srikumar)


Lifetime Achievement Award

Bestowed by the RAI Film Committee to honour outstanding contributions to ethnographic documentary film-making and/or academic visual anthropology.

Winner: Kim Longinotto