Call for Films | “Critical Encounters: The European Refugee Crisis”

Monday March 5th, 2018

Since 2014, the Athens Ethnographic Film Festival – Ethnofest has established a themed section, that focuses on a specific topic every year. This themed section aims at making the Festival accessible to wider audiences and at promoting the educational and reflexive dimensions of ethnographic cinema. This year’s themed section is dedicated to the “refugee crisis” and, more specifically, to the multiple aspects of the reception of refugees and migrants in Europe during the past three years. The themed section “Critical Encounters: the European Refugee Crisis” will be curated by anthropologists Katerina Rozakou and Ifigeneia Anastasiadi.

This year’s themed section is organized at critical times. All across Europe, refugees and migrants deal with xenophobic reactions and the everyday violence of the European border regime, but at the same time they face acts of acceptance and solidarity. The themed section attempts to problematize the concept “refugee crisis”, and to approach it both as a point of dialogue and connectedness and also as a condition of violence and division. We would like to explore the challenges and transformations that result from the encounters between locals and refugees, but also between past migrants/refugees and more recent ones.

Our approach engages with questions such as: what sort of politics penetrate the various attempts to create places and ways of harmonious coexistence? In a local level, how do emergent tensions and acts of violence affect not only the refugees/migrants but also the local societies where they settle temporarily or even permanently? How do xenophobic and solidarity sentiments and practices mirror imaginations of belonging, difference and diversion? How are state and non-state humanitarian interventions experienced by refugees/migrants and locals? How can the experience of moving, departing, waiting, and arriving deconstruct solid concepts, such as the concepts of borders, “home”, the familiar and unfamiliar? Finally, how does the filming process question and, at the same time, overcome the identities of the “migrant”, the “refugee”, and the “local”?

Through those questions, the themed section aims at stimulating a critical reflection on the dominant spectacularization and aestheticization of the refugee and migrant experience. Through this themed section, we aspire to shed light on a series of ethical issues that stem from the process of filming displaced populations, the political role of the filmmaker-ethnographer, and the prospects of co-creative and participatory work. Furthermore, we would like to unsettle on the one hand the assumption that the refugees are voiceless and on the other hand, the conviction that we shall give them voice through our projects (ethnographic films, essays, books). For these reasons, we welcome films that follow this reflexive approach, films that were created through cooperative and participatory means and methods, and films that were created by migrants and refugees.

You can submit your films for the themed section “Critical Encounters: the European Refugee Crisis”, by filling the form attached to this link, clearly stating that the submission is to be considered for this particular themed section. The deadline for submission is May 31st 2018 and the 9th Athens Ethnographic Film Festival – Ethnofest will take place in November 21st – 25th 2018.

The curators of the themed section,

Katerina Rozakou and Ifigeneia Anastasiadi

for the 9th Athens Ethnographic Film Festival – Ethnofest


*Photo by Ifigeneia Anastasiadi