Eda Elif Tibet

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Independent Documentary Filmmaker & Visual Anthropologist, Turkey

PhD Student, Social Anthropology at Yeditepe University (Istanbul)

Environmental leadership goal: I aim to advocate for local livelihood rights and their conservation through ethical and anthropologically inspired film-making. 

During my BA studies on Economics at Istanbul Bilgi University, I spent a year in India working as a fundraiser for a leading MBA university, the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad (2007). It is there that I discovered my interest on the cultural aspects of being human, and soon after I went to study in the UK as a MPhil student and research graduate assistant at the University of Kent on Social Anthropology.

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I have spent two years researching on the human-environmental relationships among the cave dweller community living in Cappadocia, Turkey. And as part of my thesis, I made my first documentary film which I called 28 Days on the Moon (2012). Written and filmed by myself, the documentary plays homage to my roots and ancestors in Cappadocia, and advocates for the local livelihoods a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Protected Area. The documentary film was screened in various film festivals around the world, and broadcasted by Turkey’s foremost documentary TV Channel, IZ TV, for an entire year.

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During my write up stage, I worked at the Ladakh Society for Traditional Medicines, an NGO in Ladakh (India), working towards the revitalization of Sowa Rigpa (Tibetan Medicine). I worked together with the project coordinator on financial and administrative issues for five months, in which later on I found myself filming the journey of an inspiring Tibetan doctor Amchi Karma Chodon, whom I was fortunate enough to travel with. The journey ended up as a documentary film Amchi (2013), now being screened at various film festivals. The film recently got its first award, the “Award of Excellence” from the Jakarta International Film Festival –Environment-Health-Culture (2014). The film advocates for the transmission of traditional knowledge to next generations for a more sustainable public healthcare model in rural areas of Ladakh and also highlights the importance of medicinal plant conservation in the Himalayas, which are under great danger due to overgrazing, climate change and unscientific exploitation.

The documentary film I am working on right now is Hey Geçi! (Hey Goat! 2014), which tells the migration story of a nomadic family from the Sarikeçili tribe, herding 500 goats in Southern Turkey. The film intends to raise awareness and open up discussion on ways to support and protect nomadic pastoralists’ livelihood rights as well as understanding their cultural conservation practices and its effects on enhancement of biodiversity of the region. This film is produced as part of the “Nature Culture Project” of Doga Dernegi and is sponsored by the Mediterranean Consortium for Nature & Culture.

I am now in my first year of a PhD at the Yeditepe University in Istanbul (2014), on Social Anthropology and will continue working towards new exciting documentary films under my independent label Tibetto Productions.

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Working on a women and children preventive health care campaign with the Nomadic Changpa people in Korzok, Ladakh; August 2012. Amchi Karma Chodon teaching her students in Amchi & Astrology Centre in Zanskar;  October 2012.
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Local women in Damsa Village, Cappadocia, Turkey; September 2011. Beekeeper on his way in Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey; September 2011.