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documentary & advocacy

Still from the Moon Inside You

In 2010 and 2011 we organised  two Film and Advocacy Series  prompted by our interest in the connection between documentary film and activism.  They were open to members of the University of Kent and the public. We encouraged wide participation across disciplines and professional experience. Our aim was to encourage discussion across the boundaries of anthropology, activism and film-making on the importance of using film and the internet for advocacy.

In our 2010 series we covered the themes of  Justice and Redemption, Social and Environmental Action, Participation and Democracy, Participatory Video and Empowerment, Ethical and Undercover Filming and Conservation and Climate Change. We ended the series with a premier of the remarkable feature documentary ‘ Turtle: An Incredible Journey’, followed by a Q&A with the director, Nick Stringer.

Hugh Brody Retrospective Poster

In 2011 we were very happy to welcome back Professor Hugh Brody after the previous year’s Stirling Lecture, at which he was bestowed an Honorary Professorship, to start our series with a retrospective of his work on land rights with the Inuit. We then journeyed with Nina Simoes to Brazil to learn about a fascinating experimental documentary using the Korsakow System, inspired by Boal’s theatre of the oppressed. Returning closer to home, Zemirah Moffat gave us a unique insight into the Wotever club in London, using a participative methodology inspired by Jean Rouch. The following week we screened Kim Longinotto’s famous documentary set in a rural courthouse in Cameroon. ‘Sisters in Law’ won the Prix Art et Essai at the Cannes Film Festival and has been screened to acclaim at more than 120 festivals around the world. In the fifth week of the series video journalist and activist, Zoe Broughton, shareed experiences from a career spanning 18 years, and that has varied from working with Greenpeace to undercover work in animal testing labs. Her film ‘Non-violence for a change‘ led to much discussion.

Our penultimate presenter was a former RAI Urgent Anthropology Fellow. Professor Rahile Dawut, spoke of her work  filming and archiving Sufi religious and community practices amongst the Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim ethnic minority of China’s westernmost province, Xinjiang. Professor Dawut invited the audience to help guide the direction of her future documentary projects through a written feedback session, which she returned to China with to help guide future filming.

Our final screening,  was the day after International Women’s Day. Diana Fabianova brought us closer to home with a unique documentary  examining  the social politics of menstruation. “The Moon Inside You” has received great critical acclaim and screenings have often served as unique opportunities for reflection, discussion and mobilisation on the issue of the medicalisation of menstruation. Our screening was no different, and many of us left inspired.

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