Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Salaya Doc 2012: The Asean Competition

The Hongvivatana sisters in Wish Us Luck.

Now in its second year, the Salaya International Documentary Film Festival has introduced the Asean Competition, featuring recent documentaries from around Southeast Asia.

They start screening at 4 today and continue through Saturday. Here's the line-up:

  • Hard Rails Across the Gentle River by Tran Thi Anh Phuong, Do Van Hoang, Pham Thu Hang, Tran Thanh Hie, Vietnam – This feature by four directors from the Hanoi Doc Lab focuses on the various colorful folks who live, work and play on or around a railroad bridge. Among them is a group of nude swimmers. It's been screened before in Thailand, including last year's Lifescapes festival in Chiang Mai and at this year's Bangkok Experimental Film Festival.
  • Click in Fear by Sai Kyaw Khaing, Burma – This documentary, originally made in 2009, has been newly re-edited. It's about the photographer who took iconic news photos of protesting monks during 2007's "Saffron Revolution" in Rangoon. He had to flee Burma to avoid prison. The earlier version screened at the 2009 World Film Festival of Bangkok and the updated one was shown at the Lifescapes fest.
  • Wish Us Luck (ขอให้เราโชคดี) by Wanweaw and Weawwan Hongvivatana, Thailand – The twin-sister indie filmmakers made their debut feature during a one-month journey by train from London back home to Thailand. They had adventures along the way in Germany, Russia, Mongolia, China and Vietnam. Sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, it's hard to not draw comparisons with Wes Anderson's train movie The Darjeeling Limited. It premiered recently at a Third Class Citizen screening in Bangkok.
  • World without Shadow by Khoo Eng Yow, Malaysia – A centuries-old form of theatre is under threat in Kelantan, Malaysia, where wayang kulit shadow play has become the victim of conservative state policies and Islamic puritanical influences. What was once a revered art form is now seen as a threat to religious values. Previous screenings include the  International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Singapore's Southeast Asian Film Festival and the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival.
  • Salakyom (สลากย้อ) by Pisut Srimok, Thailand – A team of researchers from the Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre study Lamphun's Salak Yom festival, a tradition among the ethnic Yaung that features the presentation of an elaborately decorated “tree of gifts” to the Buddhist monks and novices of the local monasteries. In the past, it was young women who offered a Salak tree to their local monastery, making the ceremony a rite of passage into adulthood.
  • Black Umbrella by Chairun Nissa, Indonesia – A look at the struggles of women who fight for justice for human rights.
  • 8.8.88 by Vichart Somkaew, Thailand – This is a profile of Tarji, the 12-year-old son of Burmese refugees who fled their country after the  8888 Uprising. Born in Thailand, the ethnic Mon boy lives in Ranong Province, in a rented room near the fish market and red-light district of karaoke bars and brothels. He speaks three languages and wants to go to school. But his parents can't afford it. So Tarji and his brothers go to work.

Check the Salaya Doc blog for the full schedule.

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