Explore the 2019 programme below, either by browsing the separate sections, or looking at the timetable view.

Student showcases films made by the new generation of ethnographic filmmakers, often as part of doctoral projects
RAI/Basil Wright features the films competing for the top prizes at this year’s festival
Material Culture focuses on films with something to say about the way we engage with our material world
Intangible Culture explores worlds of music, dance, performance, and ritual
Special Interest explores a range of fascinating topics, including programmes with a special director or thematic focus
Shorts is new for 2019, and celebrates the best in short-form ethnographic filmmaking as a cauldron of innovation


Directed by
Aleksei Vakhrushev

Countries of production

Year of production

85 minutes

30 March
Cinema 2, Watershed 3:40 PM
Material Culture

An intimate look inside day-to-day life on the frozen fringe of the Bering Strait in Russia, home to the Inuit and Chukchi. We follow community leader Alexei, his wife Galya (a nurse) and their son Igor from season to season in this frigid, harsh land. Like their ancestors, their community still survive by hunting marine mammals, but today they must navigate hunting quotas, endemic alcoholism, and the tricky balance between tradition and the modern world. With compelling verite footage woven with animated sequences that represent ancient myth, The Book of the Sea is a vivid account of a struggle for survival, and preservation of a traditional lifestyle in one of the most remote places on earth.

Location(s) depicted
Eastern Russia

Language(s) of film subjects