roundtable discussion

Broadcasting and Distribution: the future of Ethnographic film

16:00, Thursday 02nd July, Theatre C

The world of broadcasting is changing rapidly, from new technologies to new management styles. Commissioning is a different business today from only a few years ago. Financing for films is changing too, with more series and fewer one-offs.
What does this mean for ethnographic film? Will it ever have a place on TV, and what kind of place might that be? Or should we be looking outside TV for getting films seen? Is there room for ethnographic film in the cinema? What about online screening? If new technologies offer flexible screening, who pays for film production?

This roundtable brings together a panel of experts from film-making, distribution, and journalism to get to the heart of distribution and broadcasting for ethnographic film. Bring along your questions about film finance, editorial priorities, and the changing tv-watching appetites of commissioners and the viewing public.

Speakers at the roundtable will be:

Dan Weldon (chair) is a writer, producer and director. For 20 years he co-owned and headed development for the independent production company Tall Stories. Tall Stories produced award winning, critically acclaimed independent feature films, shorts and documentaries including: Andrew Kötting’s ‘Gallivant’  (Best Film Edinburgh 1996) Jasmin Dizdar’s ‘Beautiful People’ (best film Un Certain Regard – Cannes 2000), and Ntshavheni Wa Luruli’s ‘The Wooden Camera’ (Winner of a Crystal Bear Berlin 2004). He has also written a number of commissioned and spec screen plays; made short films and directed the award winning documentary (My Macondo). Most recently he wrote and produced Nicolas Roeg’s ‘Puffball’ starring Kelly Reilly, Miranda Richardson, Rita Tushingham and Donald Sutherland – released all over the place in 2008 (just out on DVD in the UK). Dan is currently writing two new screenplays (one spec, one commissioned) and is raising finance for a feature length documentary. Dan is a senior lecturer and Joint Course Leader for the Skillset accredited MA in Screen writing at the Northern Film School.

Jenny Jones is a freelance television director/producer and has worked in the factual/documentary area for more than 20 years.  Her chief interests are in films that reveal something about human behaviour and the way humans think.  This interest has been expressed though science programmes (HORIZON Chimp Talk), radical current affairs (Friday Alternative, Diverse Reports, Dispatches) and even natural history (Shark Encounters, Facing Jaws).
Jenny's current interests include the problem of financing and distributing quality documentaries that do not satisfy the demands of commissioning in the current public and commercial broadcasting landscape.

Heenan Bhatti is an award-winning film-maker. His first major documentary film, The Lost Frescoes, followed emergency restoration work on the world-renowned frescoes at the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, Italy, following an earthquake. Other films include Mission Impossible, which followed the attempts by a team of forensic scientists to unearth a mass grave in Kosovo during the Balkans conflict; The Real Gary Glitter, a study of the dark side of celebrity; and God's Waiting Room, a film observing the work of a Muslim undertakers. He has won a number of awards for his films, including a BAFTA, a Royal Television Society award and a Prix Europa. He recently made Paul Merton in India; and a series of documentaries, Derren Brown Investigates. He is currently working on an observational documentary series exploring child poverty in the UK for Channel 4.


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About this Festival

Sponsored by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland (RAI) since 1985, it is an itinerant festival that moves biennially from one university host to another, in association with local community and cultural organisations.

The festival was held from Wednesday July 1st to Saturday July 4th 2009, and included over 50 hours of screenings of new films, a major international conference, and a targeted selection of events focusing on anthropological ethics in filmmaking, youth participatory film, and archiving ethnographic film.

Read more about the RAI 2009 festival

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