Ethnographic Cinema and Intangible Cultural Heritage

The Directorate of Modern Cultural Assets and Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports is pleased to be working with the Athens Ethnographic Film Festival – Ethnofest since 2015. The Athens Ethnographic Film Festival – Ethnofest is an aknowledged annual institution which is run under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Sports and enables the general public to familiarize itself with the domestic as well as with the international ethnographic film industry.

The main objectives of this cooperation are to enrich the debate and reflection on intangible cultural heritage, particularly among young film makers and scientists but also among all those interested in ethnographic documentary films, and to introduce the use of the ethnographic documentary films on raising citizens’ awareness, with regards to intangible cultural heritage, as well as to expand the scientific discussion regarding the management of intangible cultural heritage in a world that is rapidly changing.

The ethnographic documentary films, as a means of articulating anthropological discourse, make use of the power of the moving image so as to record, interpret and highlight most vividly the various expressions of the intangible cultural heritage as elements of personal and collective self-awareness. They can become the most apt occasion for us not only to come into contact with a different cultural experience, but also to take a look in the mirror – or to be more precise, the screen- of ourselves.

For the first time in 2016 the collaboration of the Directorate of Modern Cultural Assets and Intangible Cultural Heritage with the Ethnographic Film Festival – Ethnofest launched a pilot educational program that included screenings of selected ethnographic documentary films  for primary and secondary level of education school students. Our ambition is to use the ethnographic documentary films in educational practice as a tool for acquainting and familiarizing students with the intangible cultural heritage, broadening their aesthetic education and accelerating their consciousness as active citizens.

The moving image, with which our children are so familiar, can also make a decisive contribution to their acquaintance with different cultural experiences, to reveal a new way of approaching the knowledge and interpreting the world. That is why we support and promote actions and partnerships that are moving towards this direction, we are striving for a fruitful discussion with the educational community and we hope to support such ventures in the future.