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DER goes to the International Intangible Heritage Film Festival

In October, I had the pleasure of participating in the International Intangible Heritage Film Festival (IIHFF) and Conference, held in Jeonju, South Korea. The festival launched the opening of the National Intangible Heritage Center, an elegant complex of buildings and outdoor spaces designed for creation, performance and preservation of various forms of Intangible Heritage, marking South Korea’s commitment to its own cultural heritage, as well as the heritage of others.

Gods and Kings, Unity Through Culture, Returning Souls, and Summer Pasture were some of the DER titles screened as part of the thoughtfully curated program that explored diverse modes for documenting intangible heritage, indigenous preservation and revitalization efforts, and the complex relationship between tangible and intangible cultural forms. A special program celebrated Robert Gardner’s poetic visual anthropology works.

The inaugural IIHFF conference brought together academics, archivists, and film festival organizers to focus on “Audiovisual Augmentation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.” Other international guests included Hu Tai-Li from the Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival, Ariane Jevaco from the Jean Rouch International Film Festival in Paris, and anthropologist and filmmaker Itushi Kawase from the National Museum of Ethnology in Japan. Building on the festival’s theme of a living heritage, I made a case for viewing the films as “living resources” and offered examples of the repatriation and indigenous use and re-use of anthropological films and photographs. See here for the slides and text of my presentation on The Work of Archiving in the Era of Digital Reproduction: Notes from an Emerging Archive.

Jeonju – known for the richness of its culinary and crafts traditions, from the origins of bibimbop to the refinement of papermaking – was the perfect setting for this stimulating investigation of Intangible Heritage and its relationship to ethnographic film. I look forward to seeing how the Center and the Film Festival develop and to greater international collaboration and scholarship.

– Alice Apley

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