Crafts and movie industry

Crafts and movie industry

Nora Čechmánková

The „ethnomovie“ has become popular with the international film festival Ethnomovie (Etnofilm) which has been organised each two years in the town of Čadca since 1980. This term refers to documentaries about ethnology and social and cultural anthropology. Ethnologists Zuzana Beňušková, head of the department of ethnology and ethnomusicology of the faculty of Philosophy at the Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra and member of the jury at the Ethnomovie festival (SR) and Josef Jančář, an expert of the National Institute of Folk Culture in Strážnica (CZ) speak about the history, trends and approaches to the ethnology topics in movie industry.

Z. B.: In the beginning, technology used in the movie industry was the most appropriate for the ethnochoreologists who record movement and music in ethnology. Secondly, technical equipment from the movie industry was important for production technologies and processes. Social culture was the main target of ethnomovies in the 1990s. Ethnologists lost their power at the festival and movie makers changed the selection criteria for movies to participate. The trend was to improve the professional standard of ethnomovies. Now, only movies prepared by a professional camera operator and a director are treated as professional movies. Information that we ethnologists believe is the most important factor submit to creative vision and overall appearance of the movie.

Our ethnologists have hardly any experience with making an ethnomovie. We have no national institution that would make and provide financial support for movies for museums or schools. Ethnomovies have been made only by individual enthusiasts. I understand that our objective should be to let our students make movies by themselves. However, we do not have technical equipment for making movies. But, we have skilled students who try hard to do so. However, it is not sufficient to have appropriate topic. We have to transform it into a good movie. We endorse graduation projects that add texts informing about history and other ethnological data.

J. J.: Traditional folk crafts were part of my research work. I made a detailed documentation of traditional folk crafts when I was working on the outdoor museum project and when I organised various exhibitions in the National Institute of Folk Culture in Strážnica where I had started to work in 1979. Seven-part documentary covering the same topic was made by the Czechoslovak Television according to the project I had prepared in 1984. I prepared a project about arts and crafts in Moravia in 1986 which was made into the four-part documentary by the Czechoslovak Television. I borrowed from the above experience and prepared the project Folk crafts and folk art production in the Czech Republic in the early 1990s. I prepared the project documenting technologies according to materials (clay, wood, wicker, textile, straw, metal). Two 90-minute documentaries have been made each year starting from 1997. Folk production technologies in all materials from the whole territory of the Czech Republic have been documented. Now, technologies related to making of folk costumes and building dwellings have been video-documented. Video-documentaries from Strážnica are considered to be real documentation of technologies, they are not only ethnomovies.