27-30 March 2025 in Bristol, UK and online April 2025

Watershed photo
Festival venue: Watershed Cinema, Harbourside, Bristol, UK


Film submission deadline- 30 August 2024



The next RAI Film Festival will take place both in person from 27-30 March 2025 at the Watershed Cinema and the Arnolfini Arts Centre and Gallery in Bristol, UK- an official UNESCO City of Film.  After this our festival films will be available for streaming throughout the month of April 2025.

The RAI Film Festival is a biennial international event celebrating the best in documentary filmmaking from around the globe.  Established in 1985 by the Royal Anthropological Institute (UK), the RAI Film Festival showcases new work from academic anthropologists and related disciplines from all levels of experience from students to professionals.  It looks for fearless films that ask difficult questions, build bridges, seek redress and promote social justice and dialogue. 

Our strength lies in providing a leading showcase for the best in groundbreaking and innovative anthropological documentary filmmaking from around the world. Our mission is to support the role of film within anthropology, to champion the work of filmmakers and foster a thriving and inclusive community. We feature filmmakers who find creative ways to explore our shared humanity to shine a light on people, places and stories that are too often lost in the spotlight of global media.

The RAI Film Festival runs a series of competitive awards to celebrate filmmakers of cutting-edge documentaries while also offering an inclusive and nurturing environment to actively encourage and mentor first-time and student filmmakers. It also seeks to push at the established conventions of documentary film to explore new, creative and multimodal approaches to form, narrative, collaboration and reflexivity in filmmaking.

With the support of leading academic partners from major international universities, we offer workshops, masterclasses, a conference, work-in-progress sessions, and retrospectives. We aim to maximize discovery and discussion around films and other multimodal productions from an anthropological, artistic, historical, and educational point of view.

The 2021 and 2023 editions of the RAI Film Festival are archived here: RAI FILM Festival | Home



Stephen Hughes: Festival Director
Hatty Frances Bell: Festival Director

The RAI Film Committee acts as the film festivals’ scientific committee.

Royal Anthropological Institute
50 Fitzroy Street
United Kingdom

Email: film@therai.org.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7387 0455