Award Winners

Our best feature winner, “The Healer and the Psychiatrist” centers on the theme of health – especially mental health, and how to care for mental health within communities. The best short “People Like Me” as well as the best student film “Thangam” both deal with the themes of difference and acceptance, and challenge the viewers to think about how to create more inclusive societies. And finally, the winner of the Jean Rouch award “The Seven Doors” is about learning and critical thinking, in the face of ideological divisions and violence.


Best Feature Film

The Healer and the Psychiatrist (2019)

Directed by Dr. Mike Poltorak

Every year, the jury chooses a long-format film as the winner of the Festival’s highest recognition, the Joan S. Williams Award of Excellence, named for the Festival’s longtime organizer who retired in 2006.


Best Short Film

People Like Me (2019)

Directed by Marrok Sedgwick

Excellence in ethnographic filmmaking does not necessarily correspond to length. Every year, the jury selects a short film (30 minutes or under) to be honored with an award.


Best Student Work

Thangam (2018)

Directed by Sarai Ramírez Payá & Emma Harris

The Festival and the Society for Visual Anthropology encourages a new generation of ethnographic filmmakers. Every year, a film made by a student (at any level) is recognized with an award.


The Jean Rouch Award

The Seven Doors (2019)

Directed by Mehmet Mim Kurt

Jean Rouch was a French anthropologist and ethnographic filmmaker, renowned for his collaborative approach and participatory work, represented in his prolific body of work. The Jean Rouch Award honors a film (in long or short format) that embodies the spirit of Rouch’s filmmaking approach and legacy.