Friday, April 12, 2013

Salaya Doc 2013: Wedlock House, Denok and Gareng the winners

Liao Jiekai, right, receives his award from Thai Film Archive director Dome Sukwong. Salaya Doc programmer Sanchai Chotirosseranee and juror Panarai Ostapirat are at left. Photo by Wise Kwai. 

A cousin’s wedding video and a profile of a Muslim family that raises pigs were the winning entries of the Asean competition of the Salaya International Documentary Film Festival last weekend.

Before the Wedlock House by Singapore’s Liao Jiekai won in the short documentary category. With his cousin getting married, the director who made his feature debut with 2010's Red Dragonflies agreed to make a short film of the wedding as his gift to her.

The resulting video, shot in black and white, captures the bride sitting on the edge of her bed in her wedding dress. She’s in her room at her parents’ house, waiting for her groom to come take her away.

Shooting the 15-minute film was spontaneous, Liao said at last Sunday’s awards ceremony at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. However, it took him a year to get around to editing it because it was so personal.

Salaya Doc’s feature documentary prize went to “Denok and Gareng” by Indonesia’s Dwi Sujanti Nugraheni. It’s about a young Muslim couple who make a controversial choice for a livelihood – they raise pigs in a country where pork consumption is largely taboo because of their religion.

While trying to stay on the straight and narrow and be responsible, the former denizens of the street face daily struggles as they pick through trash piles for scraps to feed their pigs.

Their extended family includes Gareng’s sweet-natured mother and his brothers, one of whom is involved in one scrape after another, adding to everyone’s burden.

Among the jurors of this year’s competition was Panarai Ostapirat, an anthropology and sociology lecturer at Thammasat University. She said she had a hard time choosing the best of the entries and was particularly struck by how they were all about “common” people.

Other jurors this year were Singaporean film-festival programmer Philip Cheah and Thai documentary filmmaker Panu Aree, who became ill and was hospitalized during the festival.

In all, 73 entries were submitted. The other finalists were Durga from Singapore, The Hills are Alive from Indonesia, Overlay and Saleng (Recycle Trishaw) from Thailand, Tondo, Beloved: To What Are the Poor Born? from the Philippines, Where I Go from Cambodia and With or Without Me from Vietnam.

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