We present a list of fifteen documentaries you cannot miss at the Film Southasia 2017 that will take place from November 2nd – 5th, in Kathmandu (Nepal).
YalaMaya Kendra, Patan Dhoka
Among The Believers by Hemal Trivedi, Mohammed Ali Naqvi
Pakistan | 2015 – 84 min.
Charismatic cleric Abdul Aziz Ghazi, an ISIS supporter and Taliban ally, is waging jihad against the Pakistani state. His dream is to impose a strict version of Shariah law throughout the country, as a model for the world. A flashpoint in Aziz’s holy war took place in 2007, when the government leveled his flagship mosque to the ground, killing his mother, brother, only son and 150 students. With unprecedented access, Among the Believers follows Aziz on his very personal quest to create an Islamic utopia, during the bloodiest period in Pakistan’s modern history.
November 5th, 2017 | Sunday | Courtyard | 7:00 pm
Ask the sexpert by Vaishali Sinha – India | 2017 – 81 min.
Ask the Sexpert is the story of a highly popular 93-year-old sex advice columnist for a daily newspaper in India. Despite sex being a taboo topic in that country, the column’s brand of non-moralistic advice and humor has emboldened many to write in with their questions, the vast majority of whom seek basic information. The columnist gains popularity even while a ban on comprehensive sex education in schools is adopted by approximately a third of India’s states.
November 3rd, 2017 | Friday | Majlis | 4:30 pm
Burma Storybook by Petr Lom, Corinne van Egeraat – Myanmar | 2017 – 81 min.
Burma Storybook is a creative documentary about a country emerging from years of dictatorship, told through Burmese poetry. The film circles around the story of the country’s most famous dissident poet alive today, as he waits for his long-lost son to return home.
November 3rd, 2017 | Friday | Baggikhana | 11:40 am
Daughters of the Curved Moon by Miranda Morton Yap, Sophie Dia Pegrum
Nepal | 2016 – 90 min.
Nisha Budha is an extraordinary young Nepali woman who takes us on a journey back to visit her family and village in Jumla, a remote mountain district in far Western Nepal. Shot over a period of several years, the film is an expedition into a community steeped in ancient customs and beliefs and a rite of passage for this young woman coming to terms with her struggle against tradition while pursuing her personal dreams.
November 3rd, 2017 | Friday | Majlis | 12:00 pm
Demons in Paradise by Jude Ratnam – Sri Lanka | 2017 – 94 min.
Sri Lanka 1983 – Jude Ratnam is five years old. On a red train, he flees the massacre of Tamils instigated by the Pro-Sinhalese majoritarian government. Now a filmmaker, he takes the same train from South to North. As he advances, the traces of the violence of the 26-year-old war, which turned the Tamil fight for freedom into self-destructive terrorism pass before his eyes. He unveils the repressed memories of his compatriots, opening the door to a new era and making peace possible again. Demons in Paradise is the result of ten years of work. For the first time, a Tamil documentary filmmaker living in Sri Lanka is seeing the Civil war from the inside.
November 3rd, 2017 | Friday | Baggikhana | 5:00 pm
K2 and the invisible footmen by Iara Lee – Pakistan, Brazil | 2015 – 54 min.
Located on the border between Pakistan and China, K2 is the second-highest mountain on Earth. For many climbers, it is an even greater prize than Everest, with limited routes, a steeper ascent, and a harder push to its summit. Nicknamed the ‘Savage Mountain,’ K2’s peak juts unprotected into the atmosphere, regularly exposing climbers and porters to life-threatening weather conditions. Despite being paid at rates far below those received by international expedition leaders, such porters—whether they provide critical supplies to expedition base camps or take on higher-altitude tasks in support of ascending climbers—do some of the most difficult and dangerous work and these efforts make them worthy of recognition as the true heroes of mountaineering.
November 4th, 2017 | Saturday | Gaushala | 2:25 pm
Machines by Rahul Jain, Yaël Bitton – India | 2016 – 75 min.
Director Rahul Jain presents an intimate, observational portrayal of the rhythm of life and work in a gigantic textile factory in Gujarat, India. Moving through the corridors and bowels of the enormous and disorientating structure, the camera takes the viewer on a journey to a place of de-humanising physical labor and intense hardship, provoking cause for thought about persistent pre-industrial working conditions and the huge divide between the first world and developing countries. Since the 1960s the area of Sachin in western India has undergone unprecedented, unregulated industrialisation, exemplified in its numerous textile factories. Machines portrays only one of these factories, while at the same time representing the thousands of labourers working, living and suffering in an environment they can’t escape without unity. With strong visual language, memorable images and carefully selected interviews of the workers themselves, Jain tells a story of inequality and oppression, humans and machines.
November 5th, 2017 | Sunday | Majlis | 5:00 pm
Nicobar, a long way… by Richa Hushing – India | 2016 – 60 min.
Deep down the Bay of Bengal on an ancient trade route to the far east, in the Nicobar archipelago lived the Nicobarese. Once upon a time, the islands were much frequented by passing traders for sojourns. The Nicobarese used to barter coconuts with them for fancies like an old hat or a coat, silk handkerchiefs, sometimes even empty alcohol bottles. In 1956, after becoming part of the Indian state, the islands came to be protected under the Andaman and Nicobar Protection of Aboriginal Tribes Regulation. Free Passage was restricted. No one, not even Indian citizens could visit the islands and the Nicobarese got cut off as if living in a time capsule until the Tsunami of December 26th, 2004. Seven years after Tsunami, the film looks at the erstwhile self-contained universe now scattered and fragmented to eventually amalgamate in a much larger world order over which they have little control.
November 4th, 2017 | Saturday | Baggikhana | 11:15 am
Prison Sisters by Nima Sarvestani – Afghanistan | 2016 – 90 min.
Prison Sisters takes us through the journey of two young women who have been released from prison in Afghanistan. Outside prison, the respite they experienced in prison is replaced with death threats and violence. As women and former inmates, Sara and Najibeh lack any right to exist. Sara’s uncle intends to kill her in an attempt to reclaim his honor in their small village. Fearing for her life Sara escapes to Sweden where she applies for asylum, but Najibeh stays behind. While Sara struggles to understand her newfound freedom, her prison-mate Najibeh disappears and soon Sara hears that she was stoned to death. Sara and the filmmaker want to find out the truth, only to encounter a maze of half- truths on the streets of Afghanistan. We follow the two main characters, revealing what happened to them – each with an exceptional fate depicting the horrific reality for women in Afghanistan.
November 3rd, 2017 | Friday | Baggikhana – 10:00 am
Save Gangamaya by Gopal Shivakoti – Nepal | 2016 – 90 min.
Gangamaya and Nanda Prasad Adhikari, a couple from Gorkha (Nepal) sat on hunger strike in front of Nepal’s Prime Minister’s residence demanding justice for the 2004 murder of their teenage son Krishna Prasad Adhikari. They were forcefully admitted to Bir Hospital, a government hospital in Kathmandu. On September 22, 2014, Nanda Prasad breathed his last after 333 days of hunger strike. On October 19, 2014, Nepal’s government promised justice to Gangamaya and persuaded her to end her 359 days of fast-unto-death. It’s already been very long but the murderers haven’t been brought to book, her only son Nur Prasad is not in her contact, and the last rites of her husband haven’t been performed yet. Gangamaya sought justice through the courts as citizens should, but the administration is not up to providing it. So, despite very weak and deteriorating health, Gangamaya once again begins her indefinite hunger protest.
November 4th, 2017 | Saturday | Baggikhana | 9:30 am
The Cinema Travellers by Amit Madheshiya, Shirley Abraham – India | 2016 – 96 min.
Cannes prize-winning The Cinema Travellers is a journey with the traveling cinemas of India, which bring the wonder of the movies to faraway villages annually. Seven decades on, as their lorries and cinema projectors crumble and film reels become scarce, their audiences are lured by slick digital technology. Filmed over five years, The Cinema Travellers accompanies a shrewd exhibitor, a benevolent showman and a maverick projector mechanic who bear a beautiful burden – to keep the last traveling cinemas of the world running. The film has won ten national and international awards.
November 4th, 2017 | Saturday | Courtyard | 7:00 pm
The Unreserved by Samarth Mahajan – India | 2016 – 70 min.
The Unreserved is an inquiry into the lives of passengers who use the Unreserved Compartment, the cheapest way to travel across India on the Indian Railways system. The film portrays the passengers’ aspirations, efforts and opinions through conversations and personal stories.
November 4th, 2017 | Saturday | Baggikhana | 12:30 pm
The Workers Cup by Adam Sobel – | 2017 – 89 min.
The Workers Cup is a close and personal look inside Qatar͛s labour camps, where the World Cup is being built on the backs of a million-plus migrant workers. The film follows a team of labourers living a real-life version of fantasy football. By day they sweat to build the World Cup; while by night they compete in a ͚workers welfare football tournament, playing in the same stadiums that will one day host the world’s greatest players. We join one team of men from Nepal, India, Ghana, and Kenya whose only common ground is love for football. Each match offers a momentary escape from the homesickness and isolation they struggle with as the lowest class in the world’s richest country. Even as pawns in the World Cup’s marketing game, they can’t help but lose themselves in the purity of football.
November 5th, 2017 | Sunday| Baggikhana | 10:00 am
Trembling Mountain by Kesang Tseten – Nepal | 2016 – 82 min.
On April 25, 2015 Nepal was hit by a quake measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale. Among the worst hit in Nepal’s 2015 earthquake was the prime trekking destination of Langtang. A glacial collapse caused an avalanche of rock, ice and mud, resulting in an airblast, equal to half the force of the Hiroshima atom bomb. The 400-odd survivors, out of a community of 700, were evacuated from the highland, to a camp on the grounds of a Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu until their resettlement six months later. In showing the much dwindled community’s response to the disaster, until their resettlement a year later, the film reveals the transformation, profound and yet often taken for granted, that has been sweeping the Himalaya over the last decades.
November 4th, 2017 | Saturday | Baggikhana | 3:30 pm
Up Down and Sideways by Anushka Meenakshi, Iswar Srikumar
India | 2017 – 83 min.
Close to the India – Myanmar border is the village of Phek in Nagaland. Around 5000 people live here, almost all of who cultivate rice for their own consumption. As they work in cooperative groups — preparing the terraced fields, planting saplings, or harvesting the grain and carrying it up impossibly steep slopes — the rice cultivators of Phek sing. The seasons change, and so does the music, transforming the mundane into the hypnotic. The love that they sing of is also a metaphor for the need for the other – the friend, the family, the community, to build a polyphony of voices. Stories of love, stories of the field, stories of song, stories in song. Up, Down and Sideways is a musical portrait of a community of rice cultivators and their memories of love and loss, created from working together on the fields. It is the first feature film from the u-ra-mi-li project, a larger body of work that looks at the connections between music and labour.
November 5th, 2017 | Sunday | Majlis | 3:20 pm