We are pleased to announce the 11th edition and 20th anniversary of the Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival (TIEFF), to be held in Taipei from October 1 to 5 in 2021. Founded in 2001, the biennial festival is Asia’s oldest and longest running international ethnographic film festival. For 20 years TIEFF has served to promote outstanding documentary films from around the world that are innovative, educational, challenging, and entertaining. These films, directed by both new and established filmmakers alike, all share a commitment to portraying stories and social practices from around the world in a culturally sensitive way. In addition to the main festival in Taipei, TIEFF also sponsors a touring festival, bringing a portion of the selected films to communities and classrooms across Taiwan.
TIEFF takes a flexible stance regarding what counts as an “ethnographic” film,including not just works made by anthropologists but also films made by professional filmmakers who display an ethnographic sensibility in their work. That means films which are made in an ethical manner without sensationalizing their subjects. Films that are the product of a long term close collaboration between filmmaker and subject are especially welcome. TIEFF is especially proud of its commitment to celebrating the uniqueness and vibrancy of Indigenous cultures and has been one of Taiwan’s most important venues for showcasing the work of both local and international Indigenous filmmakers. We strongly encourage Indigenous filmmakers to submit their work to our festival. Filmmakers from other marginalized groups are also especially encouraged to submit.
All films submitted to the festival must have been completed in the two years prior to the festival or the festival year itself. For this festival that would mean films completed between 2019 and 2021. While we occasionally do accept fiction films, experimental art films, biographies, sports documentaries, and concert films, such films will only be considered if they are accompanied by a convincing statement regarding their suitability for the festival. All festival films go through a highly selective screening process. Films on any topic will be considered, but special consideration will be given to films that match the festival theme (as describedbelow). The festival does not have a competition or offer prizes or awards.
The theme for the 2021 festival is “New Normals”:
We are in a time of upheavals. In the face of pandemics, impending climate disaster, the rise of authoritarianism, and some of the largest mass protest movements in history, we are all facing the fact that the future will be different from the past — but how? In this film festival, we want to highlight films about people imagining, creating, and adapting to very different ways of life from what they had before, either out of necessity or desire — including people dealing with dramatic environmental change, refugees and immigrants adjusting to new circumstances and cultures, activists attempting to establish alternative communities, Indigenous people and others trying to revive or invent more sustainable ways of living, people changing their identities, people developing and engaging with new technologies, etc. Aside from showing the imaginative and creative capacities of the subjects of documentaries, we also want to highlight the creativity of filmmakers, and screen films that manifest new ways of making ethnographic films and constructing interactions among film subjects, makers, and audiences.
- Submission deadline: March 20, 2021
- Final notification date: July 31, 2021
- Festival dates: October 1 – 5, 2021 (in Taipei, Taiwan)