Pilibhit (Ashutosh Chaturvedi, Pankaj Mavchi) India

Pilibhit (The Yellow Wall)
Ashutosh Chaturvedi, Pankaj Mavchi
India. 2020. 23 min

Inspired from true stories, Siraj, a righteous, impoverished flute maker, resides at the edge of the forests of Pilibhit, North India, where man eating tigers thrive. His mounting livelihood pressures and tragedies corner him to take a drastic measure that threatens to tear down his values and a loved one.

ASHUTOSH CHATURVEDI / PANKAJ MAVCHI

Ashutosh Chaturvedi completed his Masters in Mass Communication in 2001 from Pune, India. He has worked in various creative capacities in television productions and pursued Hindi theatre. He later joined Sony Entertainment Network India.

Having grown up in different parts of India, Pankaj Mavchi finished his MBA and pursued a corporate job at Sony Entertainment Network India.

To pursue their passion for film making both quit their jobs and co-founded their production company, The House of Story. They have written Hindi daily soaps for television. They have written, produced and directed their first short film Pilibhit and recently finished writing their first feature film which they look forward to direct in the coming year.

DIRECTOR,S NOTE

At what point does one give up? Consu med in our life, when we came across the stories of man – animal conflict along with economic hardships faced by the people in the region of Pilibhit, it did shock us. But gradually it compelled us to examine what nudges the people into a corner until they crumble under its weight. How a person’s downward spiraling circumstances triggers helplessness, loss of control and eventually drains out his dignity, humanity, and will to fightback. What he ends up sacrificing to survive is much deeper than what’s apparent on surface. Even though the film is set in a region far away from our city life, it made us realize how eerily similar our own responses to hardships are.

POSTER

CONTACT

ashutosh@thehouseofstory.in

Café by The Highway (Xiaofan Shi) China. Official Section

Café by The Highway
Xiaofan Shi
China. 2021. 108 min

Three years ago, a girl named Yuanfang Han left home because of her father’s slap in the face. She found a job as a barista in Shanghai. Three years later, heartbroken, she returns to her hometown Baima and becomes a highway toll station collector. But the monotonous life in her hometown contrasts with Yuanfang’s desire for adventure. Yuanfang begins to miss the good old days when she made coffee in the city. One day, she and her colleague Da Li find an abandoned space capsule by the highway. They make coffee in the wild space capsule, dreaming of life in a big city in the distance.

SHI XIAOFAN

Shi Xiaofan is currently one of China’s top visual artist. He has worked as an exclusive photographer and short film director for luxury fashion clients such as Vogue, Dior and Louis Vuitton. He has directed numerous TV commercials and personal video art pieces for museums and galleries. His photography work is part of the collection at Beijing UCCA, European House of Photography and various museums in the United States and France. His first short film A PARISIAN MOVIE released in 2011 receives high praises from the audience. CAFÉ BY THE HIGHWAY is his first full-length feature film.

DIRECTOR,S NOTE

I have driven to West China for a long trip many times. Every night, when passing by the toll station, I would meet those collectors who were waiting by themselves. And they would look at me, the stranger, carefully, listening to the music in my car, then have a polite wave goodbye. They are the loneliest persons I have ever seen. They are forgotten and they imagine their own journey. But they fascinated me. If movies can make a dream, I want to give them a miracle, just in one night, because I want to help them escape reality.

POSTER

CONTACT

jie.zhang@moovei.com

House of Cards (Sudipto Roy) India

House of Cards
Sudipto Roy
India. 2020. 46 min

House of Cards revolves around the life of Sujata, a simple housewife stuck with her husband during the lockdown. This is the story of her world her home and her search, for her “self”. Will she be able to find what she is looking for?

SUDIPTO ROY

Writer, Journalist, and independent filmmaker, Sudipto Roy developed a keen passion for filmmaking that is hard to leave. He aspires to profess and practice visual storytelling with an amicable blend of fiction, non-fiction, mainstream, and arthouse content.

Roy’s debut feature film, Kia and Cosmos was released in 2019 in India, the USA, GCC countries and later released on Netflix. The film garnered prominent international acclaim from festivals in Cannes, Milan, Madrid, Barcelona, Glasgow, New York and got featured in national as well as international cine magazines.

Roy’s recent works include the web film The Cabin Guard, streaming on Hoichoi, MX Player, Airtel Digital, and Vodafone Play. Other featurettes such as Tasher Ghawr and a part of an anthology, Paanchphoron Season 2, and named as Afternoon Audition are also streaming on Hoichoi, MX Player, Airtel Digital, Vodafone Play.

POSTER

CONTACT

kialistens@gmail.com

Swopnodanay (Golam Rabbany Biplob) Bangladesh

Swopnodanay
Golam Rabbany Biplob
Bangladesh. 2007. 88 min

Mid-thirtees young man Fazlu. People call him “Kabiraj” (Rural Herbal Physician). Actually who is not a physician but only a canvasser (paddler). Fazlu and his 10 years old son Ratan sell ointments and allied harbal medicines in the village weekly markets by canvassing the virtues of the products. One evening Fazlu returns home with a second-hand trouser with a number of pockets for his son Ratan. His wife finds some foreign currency notes in its pocket while she was washing the trouser. They think that these currency notes to be of great value and huge money, but they are ignorent of how to exchange them. They seek help from Fazlu’s childhood friend Siraj. To encash the currency notes Fazlu and Siraj ride a ram shakle motor bike round one part to another part of the rugged Barendra Bhumi. Greed and high ambitions begin to allure them. Centering these currency notes three of them start to dream and imagine. One after another their dormant desires and deceptions begin to creep up and that changes the relationships among them.

GOLAM RABBANY BIPLOB

Golam Rabbany BIPLOB was born in 1974 in Naogaon, a district of northern part of Bangladesh. His love for cinema has earned him an international reputation as a leading cine-club activist and film festival organizer. He was the Founder-Director of the International Film Festival Bangladesh and former Secretary-General and presently serving as Vice President of the International Federation of Film Societies (IFFS / FICC), the global umbrella of cine-clubs. He has been serving as a member of Board of Directors of Federation of Motion Picture Producers Association in Asia Pacific since 2005 and presently serving as Secretary General.

He received Best Director Award at Asian New Talent Competition at 10th Shanghai International Film Festival, 2007 and “Silver Peacock” Award at 38th International Film Festival of India-GOA, 2007 for his debut film SWOPNODANAY (On the Wings of Dreams) and Best Film Award at 8th Third Eye Asian Film Festival, Mumbai-India, 2009 for his second film BRITTER BAIREY (Beyond the Circle). Both of his films were nominated for Bangladesh Submission to Foreign Language Competition Awards (Oscar) for “OSCAR”.

AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS

Best Director Award, Asian New Talent Competition, 10th Shanghai International Film Festival, 2007 for “On the Wings of Dreams.

“Silver Peacock” Award at 38th International Film Festival of India-GOA, 2007, for “On the Wings of Dreams.

Best Film, 8th Third Eye Asian Film Festival, Mumbai-India, 2009, for “Beyond the Circle”.

CONTACT

golamrbiplob@gmail.com

Television (Mostofa Sarwar Farooki) Bangladesh

Television
Mostofa Sarwar Farooki
Bangladesh. 2012. 106 min

As a leader of the local community, Chairman Amin bans every kind of image in his water- locked village in rural Bangladesh since he considers it to be UN-ISLAMIC. He even goes on to claim that imagination is also sinful since it gives one the license to infiltrate into any prohibited territory. But change is a desperate wind that is difficult to resist by shutting the window. The tension between this traditional window and modern wind grows to such an extent that it starts to leave a ripple effect on the lives of a group of typically colorful, eccentric, and emotional people living in that village. But at the very end of the film, Television, which he hated so much, comes to the rescue and helps Chairman Amin reach a transcendental state where he and his God are unified. A new twist to the story makes him embrace IMAGE and IMAGINATION.

MOSTOFA SARWAR FAROOKI

Mostofa Sarwar Farooki could be the next South-East Asian filmmaker to break out”, The Hollywood Reporter wrote in the review of his film Television. Variety’s Jay Weissberg wrote, “Mostofa Sarwar Farooki is a key exemplar of Bangladeshi new wave cinema movement” and Variety’s Chief Asia Film Critic Maggie Lee wrote “Mostofa Sarwar Farooki proves he’s a singular voice in Bangladeshi cinema” in the review his film No Bed Of Roses.

His fourth feature Television was the closing film of Busan festival and won Grand Jury Prize in Asia Pacific Screen Award 2013 in addition to 5 more international awards from Dubai, Jogja-Indonesia, Asiatica-Roma, and Kolkata. Ant Story was his fifth feature and got nominated for Golden Goblet Awards and Muhr Asia-Africa Awards.It is also in competition for Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2014, Singapore IFF 2014, and Kerala IFF 2014.

His sixth feature titled “Doob” (No Bed of Roses in English) featuring Irrfan Khan (Life of Pie, Lunchbox), Nusrat Imrose Tisha (Television, Third Person Singular) and others, won Kommersant Jury Prize at Moscow International Film Festival. The film got rave reviews and critical acclaim. It was Bangladesh’s entry to the 91st Oscars.

DIRECTOR,S NOTE

I was born and brought up in a very conservative middle class Muslim family. We never had a television set in our house just because my parents used to consider it to be un-Islamic. We had to sneak in to other houses to catch a glimpse of the magic box. My parents always used to stand against any kind of image. Their fight against image first got a big shake when they were asked to take photographs in order to go for Hajj- Muslim pilgrimage in Mekkah. But this is not an issue of the yesteryears. With all the technological development taking place across the country, this perception is also co-existing in the backward areas of the society.

AWARDS

  • Closing film in Busan International Film Festival 2012 (world premiere)
  • Winner, Jury Grand Prize, Asia Pacific Screen Award, 2013.
  • Nominated, Best Film, Asia Pacific Screen Award, 2013.
  • Nominated, Best Screenplay, Asia Pacific Screen Award, 2013.
  • Winner, City of Rome award (jury) for best Asian Feature Film, Asiatica 2013, Rome-Italy.
  • Winner, Best Feature Film, Audience Award, Asiatica 2013, Rome-Italy.
  • Winner, Golden Hanuman Award, Jogja Asian Film Festival, 2013
  • Winner NETPAC award Kolkata International Film Festival, 2013
  • Winner, Special Mention Award, Muhr AsiaAfrica, Dubai International Film Festival 2012
  • Bangladesh’s submission to 86th Academy award foreign language category.

POSTER

CONTACT

chabialfilms@gmail.com

Jalal,s Story (Abu Shahed Emon) Bangladesh

Jalal,s Story
Abu Shahed Emon
Bangladesh. 2014. 120 min

Like Moses on the Nile, an infant floats along the river, adopted in turn by Miraj, Karim, Sajib, each who abandon the boy at various stages of his life. From innocent to gangster, Jalal’s journey proves he is truly a child of the river.

The first story begins with Miraj, who rescues an abandoned baby from the river and raises him, calling him Jalal. However, after a series of misfortunes the villagers considered the baby to be a curse on their village. Poor Miraj has to abandon the baby yet back in the river again.

The second story starts off with the nine-year-old Jalal who lives as a dependent of a large landowner, Karim, who desperately needs a baby to keep up his prestige informant of the villagers. As time passed by Karim’s Newly married wife was unable to conceive and eventually Jalal was bizarrely considered as a cause of the couple’s infertility problem, by the clever Shaman hired by Karim. Jalal was thrown back in the river again.

In the third story we see Nineteen-year-old Jalal works under a gang leader and budding politician named Sajib, who has kidnapped and impregnated Shila. He makes Jalal keep an eye on her, but Shila dies during childbirth. Afraid that this child would affect his reputation and influence the result of the upcoming election, Sajib orders Jalal to throw the baby in the river.
These three stories strangely connect and flow together as one. Through these uniquely linked stories, Abu Shahed Emon tackles a lot of social issues in Bangladesh including superstition, politically motivated corruption and women’s rights.

ABU SHAHED EMON

Abu Shahed Emon is a young Bangladeshi independent filmmaker, who graduated in Psychology from the University of Dhaka. His interest in filmmaking stems from his active involvement in the Dhaka University Film Society Movement, which later on led him to make several short films, documentaries and TV fictions, which have been acclaimed both at home, and abroad. In 2007, Emon studied Communication and Photography at University of Wisconsin.

In 2011, Emon received the prestigious Asian Cinema Fund (ACF) provided by the Busan International Film Festival for his project ‘The Tale of a Policeman’. The Asian Project Market (APM) later on selected the same project, 2011 where the Goteborg International Film Festival (GIFF) awarded it as one of the “Best Pitching” project. ‘The Tale of a Policeman’ also made it to the top 20 projects list by the Beijing International Film Festival 2012’s film market and was a runner up in the International Pitching Competition.

Emon’s short film, The Container, was selected in the 17th Busan International Film Festival, 2012. The Container was also awarded the BFC&SHOCS Scholarship Fund for finalizing its completion. Emon has recently completed his debut feature film project, Jalal’s Story, which was selected in the 19th Busan International Film Festival 2014. . This debut feature has also been selected by the Bangladeshi Oscar committee for representing Bangladesh in the 88th Academy Awards in the foreign language film Category in 2016.

Awards:

  1. 19th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) 2014

Winner – Asian Cinema Fund (ACF) For Post-Production 2014

2. 7th Jaipur International Film Festival 2015, India 

Winner – Best Debut Director

3. 19th AVANCA International Film Festival 2015, Portugal

Winner- Best Feature Film and Best Actor Mosharraf Karim

4. 20th Kerala International Film Festival 2015, India

Winner- Silver Crow Pheasant Award for Best Debut Director

5. 12th Dhaka International Film Festival 2016, Bangladesh

Winner-Special Jury Mention for Best Directing

6 Best Cinematography & Best Original Score, SAARC Film Festival 2016

POSTER

CONTACT

shahedemon@gmail.com

Borderlands (Samarth Mahajan) India

Borderlands
Samarth Mahajan
India. 2021. 67 min

‘Borderlands’ is an intimate exploration of lives
defined by personal and political borders in the
Indian sub-continent. Through conversations and
observations, the film reveals people’s efforts to find
meaning in a world beyond their control.

SAMARTH MAHAJAN

Samarth Mahajan is a non-fiction filmmaker based in Mumbai. ‘The Unreserved’, his national award-winning debut feature documentary on passengers of general compartments in Indian Railways, premiered at Film Southasia 2017 and received broadcast & theatrical releases in India. ‘Kazwa’, his short documentary on sustainable rural tourism through fireflies, won awards at multiple international film festivals.

DIRECTORS, NOTE

The global debate around borders is at a critical stage. As masses consume state sponsored news and listen to otherizing narratives from popular leaders, it is important to bring out perspectives rooted in ground reality. Amplifying such narratives can enable us to acknowledge the humanity latent in us and inhibit the pace at which we are moving into a more fragmented future.
Growing up near the India-Pakistan border, my own lived experience affirms that our relationships with our neighbours are defined by the powers that be, and not people who experience the after-effects of these relationships. India’s diverse borderlands provide an ideal ground to explore how everyday people deal with the consequences of borders.

The film is an ode to human resilience, which refuses to buckle down. It explores the themes of migration, cross-border kinship, livelihoods, conflict & fluid identities through the axes of gender, class, ability, nationality, & sexuality. In a world where ‘Us vs Them’ precedes the understanding of Us and Them, the film intends to make one notice similarities over differences.

FILMOGRAPHY

Borderlands / 2021 / Documentary / 67 min,
The Unreserved / 2017 / Documentary / 60 min,
Kazwa / 2016 / Documentary / 9 minutes

POSTER

CONTACT

samarth@borderlandsfilm.org

Testimony of Ana (Sachin Dheeraj) India

Testimony of Ana
Sachin Dheeraj
India. 2020. 24 min

Anaben Pawar is an elderly tribal woman accused of witchcraft in rural India. Through Ana,s story, we delve into a deep-rooted culture of patriarchy and examine one of the most monstrous attacks on women,s bodies in modern India: the witch hunt.

SACHIN DHEERAJ

Sachin is an engineer turned filmmaker from India. He is currently studying and practicing film at The University of Texas at Austin as part of their MFA program in Film & Media Production. His short documentary “The Bubbleman” premiered at SXSW Denius Longhorn Showcase in 2019 and has played at many festivals, including in the 22nd Annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, 2020 Edition of Cinequest Festival & the 13th Annual Lone Star Film Festival in the USA.

He also attended the Summer Filmmaking Initiation workshop at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Artsin Prague(FAMU), the Czech Republic. He strives to tell stories that demand an urgent conversation and seeks to engage with people, places, and communities that are slowly disappearing. Through cinema, he aims to affirm their existence by preserving their lives and memories.

He is a recipient of the prestigious President’s Award for Global Learning for his upcoming UNTITLED VR THESIS FILM. He is also a recipient of the Austin Film Society Grant & a nominee of the Kodak Cinematography Grant for his pre-thesis film, TESTIMONY OF ANA.

DIRECTOR,S NOTE

Ten years back, during my undergraduate studies in Gujarat, I first came across the term “Witch-Hunting.” I read that “a mob killed an old woman forfeasting on people’ssouls” in a local newspaper. I was probably too young at that time to conceive what I read. However, that story etched itself at the back of my mind. Three years ago, I again came across an article about “Witch-Hunting.” But this time, I wanted to do something about it. Especially after all the filmmaking resources that I knew I had at my disposal.

So I decided to go to Gujarat again to do some fieldwork. I met with some journalists and social justice lawyers who got me in touch with Ana, one of the only few survivors of “Witch-Hunt” attacks in rural Gujarat. When they briefed me about what the villagers did to her, I was shocked and couldn’t stop thinking about it. There were a few news articles that covered her story in 2017. I still was on the fence about whether I should make a film about her or not. Questions like “Who am Ito tell herstory?” and “Why am Ientitled to makethisfilm?” kept bothering me.

But once I met her in person, I was struck by how fearless and strong her voice is. I felt those news articles weren’t enough. I felt people needed to hear her voice. Those questions started to fade away, and there was a sense of urgency that crept up on me, and just a single question emerged, “IfI don’t tell herstory, then who will?” She was hesitant to tell her story first, so I had to show up every day at her house until I gained her trust. Slowly she agreed to have a conversation with me. I had to only work with her memories because the incident happened in 2017.

So I decided to reconstruct them through a lyrical assemblage. My goal in reconstructing these memories is to present to people the evidence of what happened to Ana and revive among generations to come to the memory of her resistance that today is in danger of being erased. Preserving this memory is essential. My project aims to make Ana’s story be heard without any hesitation or fear. I hope that this one story will speak on behalf of a lot of unheard and oppressed voices.

POSTER

CONTACT

msd1729@gmail.com