EDITO 2024 

Hold the Memory

Since 2003, FIFEQ-Montreal has been committed to democratizing visual anthropology and ethnographic cinema through a free film festival, entirely organized by volunteers with diverse backgrounds including anthropology, art history, filmmaking, and urban studies. This year, in its 20th edition, FIFEQ-Montreal offers a moment of resilience in the premise of the memory. In this pivotal phase of its history, the festival showcases the rich tapestry of cinematic and ethnographic realities it has presented over two decades.

Amidst a world of overstimulation, FIFEQ-Montreal choses the critical approach as a remedy against the chaos. Its primary goal is to prompt audiences to reflect on the power of perception, memory, and identity through anthropology and cinema. Ethnographic films capture fleeting or indelible traces of human memory through various devices, contributing to the process of reflection, fixation, and recollection.

Submerged within an abundant flow of images, the festival questions whether our memory, like our gaze, is condemned by this incessant flux of visual stimulants. This also raises the issue of repairing memories which even extends to the intervention of artificial intelligence. This evolution of memory, taking different forms over time, is explored through a selection of ethnographic films and themes addressing life, death, materiality, sensitivity, belonging, and identity.

For its 20th edition, FIFEQ-Montreal expands its scope by presenting films from around the world and para-filmic activities, including film discussions, creative workshops, and installations, thus embodying cinema in all its diversity. The festival offers audiences an immersive and sensory experience of ethnography, enabling them to explore a variety of cultural and artistic perspectives while questioning their own relationship with memory.



The Festival International du Film Ethnographique du Québec (FIFEQ) was born in 2003 on the initiative of a group of students in visual anthropology from the University of Montreal. This one-of-a-kind festival, free for the public, is one of the few platforms for the distribution and promotion of ethnographic cinema in Canada. Thanks to the generous volunteering of hundreds of students from Concordia, McGill and UofM Universities, industry professionals, film lovers and numerous partners, FIFEQ has brought together several thousands of spectators, driven by a common passion for cinema, visual anthropology, or, simply, by the curiosity to discover gems of the ethnographic genre.

What is an ethnographic film ?

Ethnographic film, often considered a sub-genre of the documentary, is in fact a cinematographic genre in its own right, belonging to the “cinema of the real” tradition and anchored in intimacy and proximity. It can take documentary, fiction or experimental forms. It is, further, an original cinematic genre characterized by an approach aimed at apprehending reality and human experiences as they are experienced by the filmmaker, anthropologist, or protagonists. This approach is that of ethnography, which consists of an immersion in an environment over a long period of time. The purpose of ethnographic films is not to explain a reality, as an informative or militant documentary does, but rather to illustrate it or make it “felt”. Its forms are multiple and aim at presenting everyday and ordinary experiences from new, artistic and scientific perspectives - in other words, at admiring the banality of our humanity in all its diversity and universality.

Since 2003

600 movies | 10 700 spectators | 450 volunteers

The FIFEQ is a free festival that is made possible every year thanks to the generosity of our partners and cultural grants. Would you like to support us?

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