Thirteen heavyweights are running in competition for the award for best feature- length documentary and a prize of EUR 5,000.
These films manage to dissect the social fabric of the culture they focus on with a long breath and a steady pace. The truths the filmmakers discover in their stories enlighten us about life in our age. Yes, the times they are a-changin’. But these truths go deeper than a mere rendering of facts. The stories they tell not only en- tertain but succeed in engaging the audience on a deeper emotional level. Whether told with captivating cinematography, as in “The Tundra Book“, or in a seemingly relentless mode of documenting the last moments of a father’s life, as in “Ending Note“, these films drive at a deeper truth. Werner Herzog has coined the term ecstatic truth and simultaneously reserved it exclusively for his own films. However, every well-made documentary cultivates ecstatic truth: an insight that is almost diametrically opposed to the reality of fact-checking accountants, an insight that acute knowledge of the world is only possible through the sublime.
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SEA Best Shorts Competition
In this section we devote ourselves entirely to the region of Southeast Asia. 21 films compete for the two awards of 3000 and 1500 Euro for Best Southeast Asian Short Film. We have loosely grouped the films together in different programs that help us bring closer the region through the prisms that define the cultural history, identity and reality of this part of the world.
“Out of the Past“ showcases films that deal with memory, history and trauma from Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia. “Death and Beyond“ is an interesting look at how we deal with the loss of loved ones, how the dead still have rights to their history, their identity, their name, and the truth about their cause of death. “Man and Nature“ looks at the ever-changing ecological landscape, threats, disasters or simply life as a fisherman on the sea, something that unites all Southeast Asian countries with the exception of land- locked Laos. “People Power“, the title speaks for itself. Unfortunately our space and slots at the festival are limited and we had a multitude of films that deal with this subject of people rising up against injustice, against their own governments, against powerful companies. We screen two films here that both come from the region. “Election Time!“ combines films from the Philippines and Indonesia that show how democracy works on the grassroots level. In “Gender Stories“ we tackle what until very recently was still taboo: the life of gay and lesbian people in Asia. Last but not least, we devote a whole program entitled “Voices from Myanmar“ to a country that only recently opened up and rid itself of draco- nian press and censorship laws, making documentary storytelling possible.
Above all, the aim of this section is to highlight both the shared cultural identities as well as the differences of the various Southeast Asian nations and ultimately bring them closer together in the process of sharing these engaging stories.
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