International Films 2015

A Film Unfinished

Yael Hersonski / Doc / US / 2010 / 89 min

At the end of WWII, 60 minutes of film, having sat undisturbed in an East German archive, was discovered. Shot by Nazis in Warsaw in May 1942, and labelled simply “Ghetto”, this footage quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record of the Warsaw Ghetto. However, the later discovery of a long-missing reel, inclusive of multiple takes and cameraman staging scenes, complicated earlier readings of the footage. A Film Unfinished presents the raw footage in its entirety, carefully noting fictionalized scenes (including a staged dinner party), falsely showing “the good life” enjoyed by Jewish urbanites, and probes deep into the making of a now-infamous Nazi propaganda film.

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Boxing for Freedom

Juan Antonio Moreno Amador and Silvia Venegas / Doc / Spain / 2015 / 75 min

Sadaf Rahimi is the best female boxer in Afghanistan, but she must deal with her country’s traditions, fear and her own fate in order to be a free woman. Sadaf and her sister Shabnam joined the newly created women’s boxing team at the age of 13, when they returned to their country after being refugees in Iran. Her boxing and academic achievements will turn Sadaf into an example for many Afghan young women, but her path will not be without threats and difficulties.

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Burning From the Inside

Marcia Tzivara / Doc / Greece, Germany / 2014 / 64 min

Burning from the Inside is a socio-political documentary, coming out from the streets of Athens and Berlin. Using the rise of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn as the main axis, it exposes the fascist structures and the social disintegration which invaded Greece, from the perspective of the Greek immigrants in Germany.

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Casablanca Calling

Rosa Rogers and Hilary Durman / Doc / UK / 2014 / 69 min

Ten years ago, the King of Morocco decided to raise the role of women in Islamic society by introducing the institute of morchidat. Women engaged as morchidats are religious leaders who provide spiritual, moral, social and personal assistance and support to women and girls in their community who usually have less education. Many of them, including Bouchra, view their work as a calling. Bouchra works at a school where she helps students solve problems both big and small. She teaches them not to be afraid to express their opinion or assert their rights in the spirit of a modern concept of Islam. The camera also follows other brave women who have decided to prove that women's exclusion from public life is an outdated and unjustified practice that has no place in Islamic society.

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Ryan Mullins / Doc / US, Canada / 2015 / 76 min

A janitor mopping floors in a brothel. A drugged out Rastafarian in a psychiatric ward. A wealthy investor in high heels and lipstick. These are just a few of the disguises that Anas Aremeyaw Anas has used to infiltrate Africa’s criminal underworld. But Ghana’s most notorious journalist is more than just a reporter. He’s a crime fighter who uses his journalistic skills to bust corruption; a modern day folk hero who keeps his identity hidden from the public. Anas reveals a side of Africa rarely seen: tabloid journalism, high-tech surveillance and high-speed car chases. Filmmaker Ryan Mullins goes beyond the pulp thriller to create a complex and revealing portrait. Is Anas a journalist, or a vigilante? Just how far is he willing to go to uncover the truth?

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China's 3 Dreams

Nick Torrens / Doc / Australia / 2014 / 84 min

“In the 1970s we had only 3 dreams: a watch, a wireless, and a bicycle…” China’s 3 Dreams takes us deep inside the present dilemmas and dreams of China’s people – without mediation from Western presenters or narrators. Featuring rare archive and extraordinary testimony from former Red Guards and Rebels, here is a powerful parable of China in the twenty first century.

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Ross Kauffman and Katy Chevigny / Doc / US / 2014 / 89 min

Human Rights Watch is one of the most internationally recognised organisations providing information about human rights violations. The most courageous group within the organisation is the Emergency Team, or E-TEAM, whose members travel to war zones in order to gather evidence of crimes committed against civilians, often at risk to their own lives. This stirring film, awarded at Sundance 2014, presents four members of the team performing their dangerous work in war-torn Syria and Libya. The film is a tense and detailed portrayal of these people's personal stories and their motivation to record the cruelties of war.

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Euromaidan. Rough Cut.

Roman Bondarchuk, Aleksey Solodunov, Andrey Kiselyov, Andriy Lytvynenko, Dmitry Stoykov, Kateryna Gornostai, Oleksandr Techynskyi, Roman Liubyi, Volodymyr Tykhyi, Yulia Gontaruk / Doc / Ukraine / 2014 / 60 min

What does it look like when the streets of Ukraine's capital are turned into a war zone? A sequence of several stories uncovers last year's transformation of Kiev's Independence Square, or Maidan, which took place beneath an onslaught of tear gas during anti-government demonstrations. The situation escalated from playful protests in winter into the most extreme levels of violence and chaos. What motivates Ukrainians to place their own bodies against the police cordons? Where do opinions diverge and when does solidarity triumph? The personal portraits of the protesters form a mosaic of stories that is far from completed.

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Fight Through Cartoon

Zunar and Mic Hoo / Doc / Malaysia / 2014 / 21 min

“How can I be neutral, even my pen has a stand.” Like many of his international counterparts, Zunar uses cartoons to communication his frustration with Malaysian leaders. Fusing powerful visuals with satire and humour, Zunar seeks to raise the conscience of the people to rise together to fight corruption and injustice. However, his attempts to bring awareness have resulted in his arrest under the Sedition Act and bans on his cartoon books. His office is also under constant monitoring, and is constantly raided. Undeterred, Zunar says “I will keep drawing until my very last drop of ink!”

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Freedom for Asia Bibi

Maciej Grabysa and Michal Krol / Doc / Poland, Spain / 2015 / 84 min

Inspired by the book Blasphemy by French journalist Anne Isabelle Tollet, Freedom for Asia Bibi follows a Pakistani Christian woman who was convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court, receiving a sentence of death by hanging. The movie was shot in May/June 2014 in Pakistan, France and Italy. It features Asia Bibi’s family, her lawyers, journalists and friends, all actively engaged in campaigning for her release. Through this movie we want to remind the world that an innocent woman is languishing in a Pakistani prison.

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Gabriel Reports on the World Cup

Els van Driel / Short / Netherlands / 2014 / 17 min

When 14-year-old Gabriel learned that the FIFA World Cup would be held in his country, he was overjoyed. Like other Brazilians, he adores football. He did not know, however, that the government had begun building a new railway line to transport fans and is planning to demolish dozens of homes in his district, including his own. To help stop the demolition of other houses, Gabriel decides to fight. He begins shooting reports and writing a blog. "If you believe in something, you have to fight for it and do something about it," says Gabriel. "Do not wait for adults to help."

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God is not Working on Sunday

Leona Goldstein / Doc / Germany / 2015 / 84 min

Twenty years after the genocide, Rwanda is considered one of the most economically successful countries on the African continent. In particular, the emancipation of women has moved the country forward. But the trauma of war still persists in the minds of many women. The documentary follows the work of activists Godelieve and Florida to help women overcome the difficult memories of the past and their present life burdens. They encourage women to speak out, fight for their rights and support each other. Director Leona Goldstein reveals the reality of today's Rwanda, which is still coping with the genocide and its consequences.

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I am a Girl

Rebecca Barry / Short / Australia / 2014 / 88 min

In I Am a Girl, we meet 14-year-old Kimsey from Cambodia, forced to sell her virginity at 12; Aziza from Afghanistan, who will be shot if she goes to school; Breani, a teen living in a ghetto of NYC and dreaming of stardom; Katie from Australia, who is recovering from a suicide attempt; Habiba from Cameroon, betrothed to a man 20 years her senior; and Manu from Papua New Guinea, about to become a mother at 14 following her first sexual encounter. As they come of age in the way their culture dictates, we see remarkable heart-warming stories of resilience, bravery and humor.

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I Want to See the Manager

Hannes Lang / Doc / Germany / 2014

I Want to see the Manager is an episodic documentary which surveys the current shift within the geopolitical power structure in order to unveil the interconnected destinies of those who inhabit this planet.

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I Will not be Silenced

Judy Rymer / Doc / Australia / 2014 / 84 min

Charlotte, a young Australian who works in the slums of Nairobi, was attacked and gang-raped in her home. Shame and shock give way to anger. Against her embassy's recommendation that she immediately leave the country, Charlotte chooses to fight back. She wants to convict the offenders and fight for the rights of other rape victims in Kenya, where rape is endemic but rarely discussed in public. More than a seven-year legal ordeal awaits her, during which she will have to describe her harrowing experience again and again. The camera sensitively follows Charlotte for several years, through moments of despair as well as determination, and during times when she lacks the strength to continue.

SPECIAL MENTION from the Aung San Suu Kyi International Award jury

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I've Just Had a Dream

Javi Navarro / Short / Spain / 2013 / 7 min

Irene is eight. Her hair, her skin and her eyes are clear. She just had a horrible nightmare in which she became a dark skinned girl with a completely different reality. Irene dreams she has to do housework, travel alone by bus, go shopping, etc.. Amina is eight. Her hair, her skin and eyes are dark. Just had a lovely dream ... Exactly the same dream as Irene, but the interpretation is very different. Amina dreams of living in a beautiful home full of amenities, traveling by bus, thus avoiding long walks, you can buy in a supermarket all kinds of products, etc…

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In the Past, Present and Future

Budiyanto / Short / Indonesia / 2014 / 13 min

Jakarta is a metropolitan city in Indonesia. In areas of fast economic progress, skyscrapers are built to support the needs of the country's economy. As a result, existing houses around Jakarta have been evicted and transformed into office buildings. A victim to this progress, Budi decides to film and document his daily activities as he faces eviction. Everything he knows has changed and he is forced to question his past, present and future in this journey.

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Lessons in Dissent

Matthew Torne / Doc / Hong Kong, UK / 2014 / 101 min

In the busy streets of Hong Kong, young students decide to fight for democracy. In 2012 the government wants to introduce the National Education Programme with the goal to strengthen Chinese nationalism. High school students Joshua Wong and Ma Jai decide to protest, each in his own way. While Joshua founds a student group called Scholarism that rises in importance as he becomes a media star, Ma opts for the more radical method of illegal actions. Over 18 months, the film follows how a mass pro-democracy movement arises at the initiative of several young people and shakes the confidence of the Hong Kong government.

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Life is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in western Sahara

Iara Lee / Doc / South Korea / 2007 / 58 min

Forty years after its people were promised freedom by departing Spanish rulers, the Western Sahara remains Africa’s last colony. While a UN-brokered ceasefire put an end to armed hostilities in the territory in 1991, the Sahrawi people have continued to live under the Moroccan armed forces' oppressive occupation, and what peace exists in the area is fragile at best. The new film from director Iara Lee examines these tensions as it chronicles the everyday violence of life under occupation, giving voice to the aspirations of a desert people for whom colonialism has never ended.

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Merlijn and the Red Apple

Susan Koenen / Doc / Netherlands / 2013 / 15 min

Nearly 6,000 children in the Netherlands do not receive regular schooling due to health reasons. Eleven-year-old Merlijn is autistic, which makes it impossible for him to concentrate and communicate properly in a room full of children. But Merlijn is a perceptive and intelligent boy. He doesn't consider his disability a big deal and appreciates his friendship with Leon, one of the few people who accept him as he is. With the support of his parents, Merlijn learns at home and believes he can fully participate in school through a project that links him with his classmates via a webcam.

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No Word For Worry

Runar Jarle Wiik/ Doc / Norway / 2014 / 89 min

Hook grew up with the ocean as his universe; he is a sea nomad from a vanishing world. With stunning photography, this award-winning documentary follows Hook from the bottom of the modern social ladder on a epic voyage into the heart of Moken territory off the coast of Myanmar. More than a quest to salvage the remains of his culture, he faces the universal questions of identity, love, loss and belonging.

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Private Violence

Cynthia Hill / Doc / US / 2014 / 77 min

Private Violence explores a simple but deeply disturbing fact of American life: the most dangerous place for a woman in America is her own home. Every day in the U.S., at least four women are murdered by abusive (and often, ex) partners. Through the eyes of two survivors—Deanna Walters, a mother who seeks justice for the crimes committed against her at the hands of her estranged husband, and Kit Gruelle, an advocate who seeks justice for all women—we bear witness to the complex realities of intimate partner violence.

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Kim Longinotto/ Doc / UK, India / 2013 / 91 min

At age 13, a young Muslim girl by the name of Salma was locked up for 25 years. She was forbidden to study and forced into marriage. During that time, Salma composed poems on scraps of paper and was able to sneak them to a publisher. Documentarian Kim Longinotto (Rough Aunties) explores Salma’s incredible story of how she went from an young oppressed girl to one of the most famous Tamil poets.

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Something Better To Come

Hana Polak / Doc / Denmark, Poland / 2014 / 98 min

On the outskirts of Moscow lies the Svalka, one of the largest garbage dumps in Europe. Entering and filming here is strictly forbidden. Nevertheless, the Polish director filmed the life of the local community of homeless people for 14 years. The central character of this unique time-lapse film is Yula, who has lived in the dump with her mother since she was a child. The intelligent girl sees reality without embellishment, but she expects something better from the future. When she becomes pregnant at 16, her situation seems hopeless. As in her previous acclaimed film The Children of Leningradsky, the director assembles from the footage a moving testimony about poverty and people on the edges of society.

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Sprinkles 4 Ever

Willem Baptist / Short / Netherlands / 2014 / 20 min

Even in the wealthy Netherlands, many families live below the poverty level. But 12-year-old Nicky knows that with a minimum amount of money you can retain your pride. Her parents are out of work and cannot buy what she wants. But she is happy with second-hand clothes and a cheap mobile phone. Every week she and her brother unashamedly go to food banks. She gives her belongings to even poorer children and, with this proactive approach, gains the respect of all who would ridicule her.

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Still Tibet

Miguel Angel Cano Santizo / Doc / Spain / 2015 / 52 min

The story of a journey through the Tibetan region located in the current Chinese province of Sichuan. The silent shout of culture that progressively expires. The portrait of a civilization as special as vulnerable that still retains its extraordinary mystical essence.

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Survivors Speak Up

Sally Wangsawijaya and Pooeik Goh / Doc / Malaysia/ 2014 / 18 min

In 1994, Malaysia became the first country in Southeast Asia to pass a law on domestic violence. But in reality, as this short film based on the moving testimonies of three women and their families illustrates, individual cases often remain unresolved or neglected due to the ignorance and lack of training of state institutions and bodies. As elsewhere in the world, the victims of domestic violence must live in seclusion and permanent fear for themselves and their families.

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The Encagement

John F. Romeo/ Short / India

Based on true incidents, a tale of love and romance which hints at hope, happiness and a happy ending meets a rather sticky end with blood and gore, raising the question of humanity and love. Is it a crime to fall in love? What happens when the beauty of love is not cherished... It falls quartered in the hands of Caste.

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The Good Son

Shirly Berkovitz / Doc / Israel / 2014 / 52 min

This is the incredible story of Or, a 22-year-old Israeli man who secretly saves up for sex reassignment surgery in Thailand. Or’s home videos make up the first part of the film, which starts with him attempting to persuade his parents to lend him $12,000, ostensibly so he can study at Oxford. The second section of the film starts with the flight to Bangkok, where director Shirly Berkovitz captures Or’s first steps in her new life as a woman. This is an exciting tale about fear, self-doubt, willpower, the importance of family, and being able to be you are.

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The Great Gamble on the Mekong

Tom Fawthorp/ Doc / UK / 2014 / 28 min

Eureka Films has just completed a second film about the dams on the Mekong. Scientists have warned they will block fish migration in the world’s most productive freshwater fisheries. The cumulative effect of 11 dams mapped out on the Lower Mekong will devastate this mighty river and result in a massive loss of nutrition and food security affecting 65 million people in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

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The Lion and the Brave Mouse

Els van Driel / Short / Netherlands / 2014 / 15 min

Due to the ongoing war in Syria, several million children are at risk. One of them is 10-year-old Nora, who together with her parents and siblings had to hurriedly leave her home. She now lives in a makeshift dwelling in a refugee camp in neighbouring Jordan. When she remembers the events that affected her family, tears come to her eyes. But she remains optimistic and looks to the future with the hope that someday she will establish an arts school in a free Syria.

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The Look of Silence

Joshua Oppenheimer / Doc / Denmark, Indonesia, Norway, Finland, UK / 2014 / 103 min

Through Joshua Oppenheimer’s work filming perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered and the identity of the men who killed him. The youngest brother is determined to break the spell of silence and fear under which the survivors live, and so confronts the men responsible for his brother's murder – something unimaginable in a country where killers remain in power.

WINNER of the Aung San Suu Kyi International Award

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This Kind of Love

Jeanne Marie Hallacy / Doc / 2015 / 45 min

This Kind of Love follows Burmese human rights educator and activist Aung Myo Min as he returns home after 24 years in exile. The film embraces the idea that community and inclusion are fundamental to creating meaningful political and social change in Burma/Myanmar. Myo’s vision that human rights is for everyone - from children to transgender people to ethnic nationalities - makes This Kind of Love an offering of hope for the future.

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We Are Journalists

Ahmad Jalali Farahani / Doc / Denmark / 2014 / 85 min

"We are journalists" is not just an ordinary documentary film. It is a painful effort to understand how modern and educated Iranian people try to fight for democracy and freedom of speech. It’s also a film about how much they feel alone for achieving their goals.

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