Among our goals when we first started this festival was not only to bring the audience closer to this special cinematic approach by screening films from all over the world, but also create an environment, an educational process in order to share the theoretical and practical aspects of this approach and eventually try to produce films here in Athens. This goal might take a while to reach its ideal form, but we are very proud that this year to have taken the first step.

In this context, this past summer the Athens Ethnographic Film Festival and the Netherlands Institute of Athens, in collaboration with Leiden University, organized an intensive summer school about visual ethnography and visual anthropology. The aim of this school was to offer an overview of current debates and research topics in visual anthropology and ethnography, give students the experience of filming in a highly diverse and multi-layered urban setting, and finally give them the chance to create a film.

It was the first time in Greece that an educational initiative focused on a general theoretical context in relation to visual anthropology and ethnographic methodology in an urban setting, and at the same time on a practical level, as the students had the chance to learn how to use audio-visual ethnographic methods and produce a short ethnographic film.

The result has left us smiling and, most importantly, optimistic. 32 students from all over the world came together for three weeks in Athens in order to be “exposed” to visual anthropology and its contemporary tendencies, and work in groups in order to make a film. Their various subject matters raise vital issues of a crisis-ridden city and represent their understanding of Greek realities in innovative ways. Now, after a few months distance, the students had the chance to re-think their experience and their projects, and we will present the final product -the films- of their research in Athens in this special section of our festival, hoping that this is the starting point of a permanent section in our programme.