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History of International Archaeology Film Festivals
To research and save the cultural heritage of mankind is the main duty of archaeology and the protection of historic monuments; to spread this knowledge and to make it accessible to people of different nations is the aim of the festivals which deal with films about archaeology.
The archaeological film is not merely a multiplicator for archaeological research results. It illustrates the often arduous paths to gain insights into these scientific disciplines. The film and the festivals for the archaeological film are in the field of archaeology a link between science, education, museum, film production and the public. Each of our festivals has its own profile. All of them have established a forum which unites archaeologists and filmmakers, historians and natural scientists, museum directors, editors and students, interested lay persons and journalists from all over Europe and abroad.
Archaeological film festivals have their native homes in Romance countries. The Comité européen du film archéologique was founded in 1985 by organizers of the three existing festivals in Brussels, Paris and Verona. The committee was under obligation to the Cultural Commission of the European Council to determine the policy of the festival as well as to promote the production and distribution of archaeological films. Bordeaux joined in 1988 and Amiens in 1989. The characteristic features of all these festivals have always been an international jury consisting of experts and film-makers to judge the films chosen by a selection jury and to award an audience prize in addition to the (mostly) non-endowed prizes.
In 1980, Pierre Cattelain founded in Brussels, the Festival du Film d'art et d'archéologie de Bruxelles, which took place four times up to 1988 and after a break of 7 years was revived under the name of KINEON by Didier Dehon, with the combination of Art and Archaeology. Since November 1997, it was organized every two years as a pure Festival international du Film archéologique de Bruxelles. Its particular characteristic are short academic presentations and debates by well known archaeologists like Yves Coppens. The films are presented with French voice-overs and the catalogue appears in French.
In Paris, Louis Girard organized the Festival international du Film archéologique, ARCHEA, which took place for the third and last time from November 13 to 15, 1989, in the Grand Palais attended by a large audience. In 1987 it took place in La Villette, the awards were handed over by Jean-Jacques Annaud who at that time became famous for his film "Quest of Fire"/ "La Guerre du Feu" / "Am Anfang war das Feuer".
In Verona, the Rassegna Internazionale di Cinematografia Archeologica was organized by Alberto Siliotti and took place from June 10 to 16, 1985, and again in June 1986; from September 1 to 5, 1988, in Fiesole near Florence, it became the festival of the prize winners of the previous festivals within the framework of the 41st Estate Fiesolana.
The largest event of this kind then was ICRONOS in Bordeaux which premiered from October 24 to 30, 1988; since then it has dealt with an important theme every two years, usually one particular country (1995: Greece, 1997 Turkey). It lasts one week and simultaneously presents numerous exhibitions relating to the chosen subject. The wide ranging programme also contains popular films and films orientated towards tourists. The prize Archéologia – Andrée Faton is endowed with 20,000 Ff. Philippe Dorthe is the head and president of AFIFA, the Association du Festival du Film Archéologique. Today ICRONOS is organized by Laetitia Dion. All the films are screened with French voice-overs and the catalogue appears in French, since 2004 in French and English.
The Festival du Film d'archéologie in Amiens was founded by Tahar Ben Redjeb in 1989 and took place for the first time from January 24 to 27, 1990. Since then, it has taken place every two years at the end of January with a huge public response. The catalogue appears in a French version.
In Rovereto, in northern Italy, the Rassegna Internazionale del Cinema Archaeologico took place for the first time in April, 1990. Every year the festival is dedicated to one particular theme, every two years it stages a competition for the coveted Premio Paolo Orsi (endowed with 10M Lire). It is organized by the Museo Civico di Rovereto and the Rovereto's office of culture and substantially supported by the magazine Archeologia Viva, the director of the organization is Dario di Blasi. Since 2003 it takes place at the new Museo Contemporaneo (architect: L. Botta) and offers discussions between the screenings. The catalogue appears in Italian.
The Rassegna internazionale del Film archeologico in Forli, Italy, was first organized by Roberto Panza and Carla Rosetti and took place as the ARCHEOFILMFEST from September 10 to 15, 1996, for the sixth and probably last time within the framework of the International Congress for Prehistoric and Ancient History, UISPP. The films were shown with Italian voice-overs.
A unique event were the screenings at the Musée Royal de Mariemont in Belgium. In irregular intervals Frédéric André invited authors and producers to a one or two days lasting festival which dealt with a particular topic.
The first International Archaeological Film Festival in Germany took place in Kiel from April 20 to 23, 1994 under the name of CINARCHEA. It was organized by the Arbeitsgruppe Film of the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel, with varying partners, and is accompanied by a symposium. The competition programme covers productions from the last four years, there is also a retrospective section with films from the early days of cinematography. All the films are screened in their original version or with English or German subtitles. From 1994 – 2000 each festival had a little trailer showing in animation some adventures of the CINARCHEA-Emblem, the little neolithical operator. The catalogue appears bilingual in German and English, two books with the lectures of the symposium are available in German and English. - Since 1996 there is an exposition with connection to the main subject. Since 2002 the Förderverein CINARCHEA e.V. organizes this for the Northern European area unique festival in co-operation with the cultural office of the provincial capital Kiel and the institute for pre- and protohistory of the state university.
AGON, the biannual International Meeting of Archaeological Film of the Mediterranean Area is organized by the magazine Archaiologia & Technes and the Ministry of Culture under the direction of Anna Lambraki Simirioti. The second meeting took place in Rethymno-Crete, the next ones in Athens. All the films are screened with Greek language and the catalogue appears in a multilingual Greek, English and French version. The tenth anniversary was celebrated in Thessaloniki in 2006, the next one took place in Athens 6. -11. May 2008.
The first festival of its kind in Spain took place in November 1998 in Santander, organized by Alejandro Trinchant. He amplified the main topic to film of cultural heritage and collected many films about architecture in the 2nd festival in Alcala.
The first Festival international du film archeólogique de Nyon, near Geneva at Lac Léman was organized by Christophe Goumand in cooperation with the Musée Romain Nyon. The films are projected with French voice-over commentaries, the catalogue appears in French and mentions the credits of director, production, scientific (advisor) counselor, country and year of production, length, technical support, distribution and technical name of projection. – The festival runs from Tuesday to Saturday, there is no entrance fee.
Bonn – In April 2005 the first and so far single Festival of Archaeological Film called ARCHEO-Film-Fest took place in the newly build Rheinland-Museum in Bonn.
Festival Internacional de Cine Arqueológico del Bidasoa
The festival originated in 2001, aided by the study centre ARKEOLAN and supported by the city of Irun in the basque country, in order to make known the archaeological works of the roman excavation spot OIASSO, the therefore established museum and its finds. Since 2004 the festival takes places in the late autumn as an international contest for the archaeological film. The illustrated catalogue contains summaries in Basque, Spanish, English and French.
The Festival International du Film d'Archéologie de Besancon is a member of the Fedarcine association since 2007 and will arrange the next festival during the time from the 4th - 8th of November 2009. There is free admission to all events.
In the USA Dr. Rick Pettigrew runs the only International Film and Video Festival for the archaeological film with his Archaeological Channel in Eugene/Oregon. The last one took place in May 2008, the next one will be from May 19-23, 2009 in Soreng Theater, Hult Center.
Capitello d'Oro Festival Internazionale Del Cinema Archeologico was created in 2006 and takes place yearly in March in Rome. It is organised by Microcosmi Association and is under the artistic direction of Marisa Ranieri Panetta; the entrance is free. The festival is a member of Fedarcine since 2009.
Kurt Denzer, CINARCHEA