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Films to fight cultural ignorance

The FIFEQ aims to give a voice to the voiceless through film

It is easy to settle into the rhythm of your life and forget that other ways of life exist. One way to stay open-minded about other people and their ways of life is to learn through books, the news or through an international film festival.

The International Ethnographic Film Festival of Quebec (FIFEQ) aims to give a voice to cultures and communities that may not otherwise have one. The films display unique parts of the human experience, and show the daily lives and struggles from people living around the world.

“It’s an opportunity to learn about other cultures and people that you were unaware of before. FIFEQ shows movies that you likely won’t see anywhere else,” saidAlizé Honen-Delmar, a FIFEQ coordinator. This year, FIFEQ received more than 250 film submissions from filmmakers all over the world, of which the team chose over 30 of their favourites and organized them by theme.

The 14th edition of the festival will take place in Montreal between March 12 and 20 at a variety of locations, but mainly at Concordia, Université de Montréal and McGill. Concordia will be hosting a portion of the festival on March 17 and 18, from 2:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day.

Concordia will be hosting two blocks on March 17: Ethnography of Objects which is comprised of films exploring the symbolic meaning of inanimate objects to various people and cultures; and Sink or Swim, which includes films about people living on boats, islands and anything else involving water.

The March 18 blocks at Concordia will be Going Through the Motions and Beyond Borders.

Going Through the Motions tells stories of rituals in different cultures, and Beyond Borders showcases films about the lives of migrants and refugees.

Les Sucriers is a Quebec-made film about the delicious art of boiling maple syrup.

The screenings will be at the J.A de Sève Cinema in the Library building (LB 125), where there will be coffee and tea, as well as catered vegan food available. Entrance and the food at FIFEQ are free, and the festival is open to the entire student body and the general public.

Honen-Delmar’s favourite movie is in the Beyond Borders block. It’s about illegal border crossing in three different places: Mexico and the U.S., Morocco and Spain, and Zimbabwe and South Africa. “It’s interesting to compare the border tensions between different countries, and I think it’s especially relevant today, given current border tensions in America,” she said.

Lots of Monsters, which will screen at Concordia on March 18, is a short documentary centering around the Loch Ness Monster.

“As a film studies student, I love movies, and I also think being a volunteer is good because you can learn so much from the people you work with, and can share important information with others in the student community,” Honen-Delmar said.

In the past, FIFEQ has shown films on topics such as immigration, war refugees, religion and spirituality, and various other anthropological topics. If you’ve ever been to a Cinema Politica screening on a Monday evening at Concordia, you can expect to see films that are similar in content and subject matter.

According to their website, FIFEQ has been dedicated to “showcasing ethnographic film and visual anthropology” since 2003. They “promote representations of alterity—‘otherness’—that are articulated within an anti-colonial framework, [and] celebrate human agency and the diversity of environments we craft for ourselves.”

For more information, including the titles, times and locations of the films being screened, visit FIFEQ’s website at fifeq.ca.

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