There are many ways to convey the truth of an event to the next generation, and one of those ways is through singing what is written. This was the path chosen by the Dialita Choir in uttering the truth of the events they experienced in 1965. Although the lyrics revolve around the beauty of nature, parents, friends and love for the motherland, Dialita Choir tries to give another perspective in reading the dark history of past events.
Director: Dony Putro Herwanto
Born in Ngawi, East Java in 1983. He currently works as a journalist at DAAI TV Indonesia for documentary programs. Some of his works were selected for documentary film festivals in Indonesia and became finalists in several film festivals in foreign countries, such as at the Aljazeera International Documentary Film Festival 2015, Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival 2019, and finalist at the Sound & Images Challenge Film Festival in Macau 2019. At present he lives in Bogor with his wife and child.
Cinematographer, Editor: Abul Ala Maududi Ilhamda
Abul Ala Maududi Ilhamda was born and lives in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is a broadcast graduate. He initially loved photography and now works as a documentary videographer at a television station. To date, he has worked as a videographer. Some of his films were selected at domestic film festivals.
Our reason is that we wanted to provide a vocal space for the survivors of the 1965 genocide that occurred in Indonesia. This is not to open historical wounds, but to display the dark history experienced by survivors through songs written in prison.
Owning a piece of land of more than 1000 square meters in An Phu Ward, Thu Thiem, New Urban Project
of Ho Chi Minh city, Mrs. Hong, age 74 was lucky enough to have her land lot spared from being razed, while her five children were not. Her only wish now is to be able to keep the land for herself and her children.
Director: Nguyen Thi Khanh Ly
Nguyen Thi Khanh is an independent documentary filmmaker based in Ho Chi Minh City and an experienced reporter for the last 4 years for VnExpress, the most popular online newspaper in Viet Nam. She is currently working as a communications executive in Da Nang. She directed her first documentary film Below the Boulevard (2016), a story of a veteran with disabilities, nearly 60 years old, who is living in a boat in Ho Chi Minh City since the Republic regime of Vietnam, founded on the hope for a better future for their little daughter. In 2017, she was selected as one of 10 fellow ASEAN filmmakers for a filmmaking workshop at the Luang Prabang Film Festival, in which she directed the documentary film The Giving.
Editor: Nguyen Thu Huong
An independent filmmaker based in Ho Chi Minh. She graduated from Hoa Sen University as a Media
Producer and is interested in documentary films since she thinks they are the best way to deeply explore modes of human emotion and experience and the ways they interplay with problems in society. Besides working as a media producer, she took a documentary filmmaking course in the Ateliers Varan Workshop and made her first documentary film Immortal Angel (2016) as a director.
I’m not a native of Saigon and moved here 10 years ago. Thu Thiem is on the other side of the bridge, separated from where I live by a river. My daily commute is a sensory overloaded journey through the chaos of bulldozers and excavators, where the crashing, clanking, and banging seem to be able to tear through the very last makeshift houses that are hanging on to this seemingly gigantic construction site. Thu Thiem is changing by the day. The new buildings that appear to scrape the sky seem to be on the verge of swallowing those little houses, and yet they remain. Their perseverance posed a big question for me. Why the insistence on staying here in their little oases? The first time I met Mrs. Hong, she was wearing a ‘nón lá’ (Vietnamese conical style hat), standing in front of her house, an image that was starkly juxtaposed by the other side of the river – glamorous District 1 with its skyscrapers. At 74, she had spent 13 years of her life fighting for the land she plans to keep for her five children. I started out with curiosity and Ms. Hong opened the door to a different world, where I unexpectedly got sucked into a saga of common people fighting a legal battle against the government. They are the modern-day Don Quixotes who have picked an almost impossible battle with giant windmills, and yet refuse to give up.
I agree that “a country without documentary films is like a family without a photo album.” I fell in love with documentaries. A film is a means of communication in which journalism and cinematic aesthetics come together in harmony. Documentary films are important in documenting history before reality disappears and can contribute a voice toward a more equal society. This is especially true in the context of Vietnam, a rapidly developing country. Since moving to Saigon 10 years ago, I have witnessed rapid changes. The Thu Thiem area used to be a mixed urban-rural riparian zone, a peaceful home to its people and is now in conflict with the megacity project. This is an important historical period that needs documenting as soon as possible before the new megacity project takes over the area; in short, a fight against historical erasure.
“The southern border of Thailand is dangerous, scary, you shouldn’t live there, it’s full of violence.” That how it’s mostly presented in the media. But what is the Southern border really like? This documentary will guide you to another perspective through the eyes of a female-female couple.
Director: Thunska Pansittivorakul
Thunska Pansittivorakul was born in Bangkok in 1973. He graduated in Art Education from Chulalongkorn University. He won the Grand Prize award at the 4th Taiwan International Documentary Festival in 2004 for his documentary feature Happy Berry. His ‘Heartbreak Pavilion’ project won the Top Award from Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) at the 10th Pusan International Film Festival in 2005. In 2007 he received the Silpatorn Award from The Ministry of Culture’s Office of Contemporary Arts, which is awarded to one outstanding artist each year. The past honorees in the field of film include Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Wisit Sasanatieng, etc. His work has premiered at international film festivals including Berlinale, Rotterdam and many other film festivals.
Main Cast: Anticha Sangcha
Anticha Sangchai is one of the subjects in the film. She lives in Pattani, a southern boarder of Thailand, and she organized a LGBT group in the Muslim area. She served as a philosophy lecturer at Prince of Songkla University, Pattani Campus. She is a painting therapist and an LGBT human rights defender. In 2013, she founded and directed BUKU; The organization which ran a feminist bookstore, the gender-inclusive football club and the women wellbeing space in Pattani province. BUKU works within an anti-oppression, intersectionality feminism, and human rights framework to protect SOGIESC rights and promote LGBT/women’s wellbeing, gender equality in the three southern border provinces of Thailand.
I personally knew Benedict Anderson, a professor who specialized in Southeast Asian history, from 2005. Among many suggestions that he gave me was “why don’t you make a film on the Southern border conflict?” since I originally came from that region and my hometown was just 30 minutes away from the border. I have touched upon the issue before, although quite superficially, in my previous works like This Area is Under Quarantine (2008) and The Terrorists (2011) which tells of incidents that took place not far from the problematic area. However, I had never really dared to enter the area myself. Later, Anderson passed away in 2015, not long after another coup d’etat by the military in Thailand. This made me contemplate subject matters that I had never addressed in my work before, namely the Southern border and ultra-nationalists. All these issues now appear in this documentary as my tribute to Benedict Anderson (1936-2015)
“That Night” follows the lives of two survivors of the Roxas night market bombing in Davao City, the Philippines on September 2, 2016. It centers on a vendor at the market who was severely injured, and a truck driver whose wife and son died while getting a massage. The film documents the two survivors a year after the tragedy.
Director: Jeremy Luke Bolatag
Jeremy Luke Bolatag is an emerging Filipino filmmaker who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Film degree at the University of the Philippines Film Institute, and finished with Latin honors. His thesis short film, Katong Gabii (That Night), has been screened in local and international film festivals. At present, he is a freelance filmmaker who also works for an award-winning post-production company, Media East Productions, that caters to local and international clients.
Line Producer: Arun Singh
Arun Singh is a long-time independent film enthusiast and first-time producer. An aspiring writer himself, he is a proud alumnus of De La Salle University’s Malate Literary Folio organization, where he was published twice for flash fiction. At present, he works as a Learning & Development and Culture leader for a leading multinational IT company. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games and board games, playing the guitar, and writing short stories.
Being from Davao City myself, I feel very passionate about the subject matter in Katong Gabii (That Night). The film tackles the War on Terror in Mindanao, Philippines under Martial Law and sheds light on the current political climate in the country during President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime. This documentary also captures the Filipino spirit and resilience during a tragedy, and provides gender, religion, and social class analysis through its characters.
This story is about a young disabled Karen ethnic woman named ‘Potato’. In 2014, she was raped by her neighbor, a married man who was later accused over said case. The rape case nonetheless was presented as a seduction suit: one of having unlawful sexual relations through persuasion. This documentary focuses on a strong-willed Karen ethnic woman and her family who are eager to share this with the female community and who have long suffered in silence to rise up and fight for truth and fair justice where no-one is above the law.
Director: Sein Lyan Tun
Sein Lyan Tun is an emerging filmmaker from Myanmar, and his documentary work Unsilent Potato has been well recognized in Myanmar and Southeast Asia. In 2015, his first short documentary film Charred Brick premiered at One World Human Rights Film Festival in Prague. He won the People Choice Award from One World in Kyrgyzstan and India. He also directed and co-produced a TV documentary titled Border Boy for Inside Lens, NHK World’s new documentary strand, specialized in Japan and Asia in 2016 and also directed Dream over Monsoon for Color of Asia, Southeast Asia Program NHK in 2017. He became an alumni of Talents Tokyo in 2016, Southeast Asia Film Lab in 2016 and Ties That Bind in 2017. Currently, he is working on his documentary For me and others like me which won the Docs Spirit Award from Docs Port Incheon in 2016 and the Broadcasting Culture Foundation Prize in 2017 in Japan and he is developing his first feature fiction film The Beer Girl in Yangon.
Producer: Phyo Nge
Phyo Nge works as cinematographer and producer. He also produces documentaries Charred Brick, Unsilent Potato which won international award from China and Central Asia.
Fundamentally, rape cases are the lack of the rule of law which drives all these societal problems, and it is that require immediate attention in Myanmar. While the government seems to have been gearing up its efforts by amending the Law, a better future will only remain a distant vision unless the nation’s institutions, values and sense of justice are fundamentally reformed.
After making the documentary Unsilent Potato, the story was a success in Myanmar and her case won in 2017 after three years in court. The documentary brought attention to Potato and her family. After screening around the country, Potato allowed women to speak out about their experiences. As a director myself, I want to share this with the women’s community as they have suffered long enough in silence to awaken, stand out and fight for truth and fair justice and to obtain a clean society where no-one is above the law. People in Myanmar and also all around Asia need to know that they have to seek justice instead of accepting payments from the defendant. A similar situation happens wherever you are and whoever you are. All rape cases are rarely discussed openly in Myanmar as they are outside of people’s comfort zones due to a cultural fear-shame dynamic. Mostly, cases are sealed with a small payment from defendants to silence victims. I hope that this documentary can be related to this year’s theme of “Justice.”