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.