5 of the 10 new PUMA.Creative Catalyst Awards winners for 2012 speaks about Asia

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BRITDOC Foundation and PUMA just announced the ten new first PUMA.Creative Catalyst Award winners for 2012. Among these projects, 5 are about Asia.

Concurrent with the announcement of the winners, PUMA.Creative and BRITDOC Foundation announced the second call for PUMA.Creative Catalyst Awards for 2012 applications open. For more information on applications, you can visit the website. Applications for Summer Call are now being received until August 27th 2012.

The PUMA.Creative Catalyst Award is an international documentary development fund with twenty awards in 2012 offering up to 5,000 euros per recipient.

PUMA.Creative Catalyst awardees announced today with topic about Asia are::

. Fireflies in the Abyss – Chandrasekhar Reddy (India)

Fireflies in the Abyss is an immersive portrayal of coal mining in Northern India. The film follows three young boys representative of the thousands that are lured to the mines by the prospect of quick money and who spend their time dreaming of escape.

Director: Chandrasekhar Reddy

Synopsis
Driven by poverty, the lives of many young boys converge in the ‘rat-hole’ coalmines of Northeast India. Lured by the prospects of quick money, they gradually come to discover that a life in the mines has few exits. Are they ever able to make an escape from these hellish pits?

The film follows three young lads, who work together in a ‘rat-hole’. The ‘rat-hole’ mines are narrow strips of coal deposits requiring children to descend down steep, sheer chutes, 150 feet into the ground. ‘Following the coal’ they burrow into horizontal tunnels – too narrow for adults – and scratch coal out of hard rock armed with nothing more than a pickaxe and a head torch. In these hostile pits, a sudden rain, a tipped cart, a falling rock — just about anything could be fatal.

About the director

Chandrasekhar Reddy is an independent producer/director. Previous credits include films for National Geographic Asia, Discovery Asia and BBC/OU, UK. Recently awarded a film fellowship by the British Council under their UKEFF program, the resulting film – Don’t Rubbish It, was nominated for the prestigious Vatavaran Environment Awards (India). Currently he is developing feature length documentaries.

Currently looking for funding to go into main production.

Also looking for international organizations who work with children, will be keen to come onboard for further engagement with the children and will have an interest in the future outreach of the film.

Film page on britdoc.org

. Kashmir: Beyond the Line of Control – Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Pakistan/Canada)

What is it to grow up in a conflict zone? Kashmir: Beyond the Line of Control chronicles the lives of six children who live in villages along the Kashmir border in Pakistan with India.

Director: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Synopsis
Kashmir: Beyond the Line of Control chronicles the lives of 6 children who live in villages along the Kashmir border in Pakistan. A comprehensive study of their lives as they transition from childhood to adolescence, Beyond the Line of Control follows them as they realize that they are being groomed for a war against an ill defined sensationalized enemy.
‘Beyond the Line of Control’ will follow six children over a 2 period, during which time they come to terms with the dense political environment that defines their identity as Kashmiri’s and Pakistani’s. It will document their lives as they grow towards realizing and altering their dreams within the challenging circumstances in the region. Each child will narrate a story that will highlight a struggle in the course of each character’s development. The crux of the film will focus around the situations and circumstances that have resulted in the views and outlooks held by these children.

About the director
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is an Academy and Emmy award winning documentary filmmaker. Her films include SAVING FACE & PAKISTAN’S TALIBAN GENERATION, which was the recipient of the Alfred I Dupont Award. Sharmeen has made over a dozen-multi award winning films and is the first non-American to be awarded the Livingston Award for best international reporting.

Looking for further funding

Film page on britdoc.org

. My Marriage, My Parents – Wuna (Tai-Jen) Wu (Taiwan/China)

Set in Taiwan, My Marriage, My Parents asks: How do you make peace with parents when they become the greatest opponents of your desired marriage? A matchmaker with a unique philosophy for marriage may provide the key.

Director: Wuna Wu

Synopsis
How does marriage, a happy union between two people in love, turn families into enemies?
In Taiwan, a country with the lowest marriage and birth rate in the world. When two people tell their families that they’re getting married, obstacles abound. Follow us on this twisted journey into the distorted world of Chinese “unholy” matrimony.

We see three couples battle it out with their respective parents as a modern-day matchmaker pulls double duty as mediator in an attempt to bridge the generational and cultural gaps parents and children.
MY MARRIAGE, MY PARENTS reveals the pain, love, humour, anguish and misunderstandings that Chinese families feel about marriage for the next generation.

About the director
Tai-jen Wu is a documentary director/producer whose films take on unique feminine sensibilities and keenness. Wu’s films have been shown at various international film festivals, including Prix Regards Neufs of 2005 VISIONS DU REEL – NYON for her film FAREWELL1999. WU and her directing/producing partner Chih-han Chen began making more socially relevant and conscious films in 2008. Their first two films, LET’S FALL IN LOVE and THE DREAM NEVER SETS have been theatrically released in Taiwan to high acclaim.

Looking for further financing and international distribution.

Film page on britdoc.org

. The Oasis – Pietra Brettkelly (New Zealand)

The Oasis tells the story of Kabul’s female-only park through the eyes of its visitors. Amidst the bombing and destruction that is Kabul the Oasis is a place of peace, calm and the teaching of women’s rights.

Director: Pietra Brettkelly

Synopsis
Amidst the bombing and destruction of Kabul is an oasis of calm. Where peels of female laughter mix with the whispers of gossip – and tears are shed as women talk about their lives. In a guarded park – only for women – we meet different women telling their stories.
The film will follow the garden’s life through the eyes of four women of varying ages and situations. Over the course of a year we will observe these women’s lives as they come to the garden, and see what the garden gives to them. OASIS will be filmed in four blocks in the quite distinct and very extreme seasons of Kabul – from minus 20c degrees in the Winter to plus 40 in the Summer.

About the director
Pietra Brettkelly is an award-winning producer and director based in New Zealand. Her documentary film ‘The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins’ from 2008 – which Pietra funded herself – won World Cinema Documentary Film Editing award at Sundance Film Festival 2008 and enjoyed great international success. Her latest film ‘Maori Boy Genius’ had its world premiere on the Berlin Film Festival 2012. She is known for telling respectful, intimate stories that highlight peoples’ lives and bring discussion to many issues.

Film page on britdoc.org

. The Return of Burma VJ – Joshua Min Htut (Burma)

The Return of Burma VJ will look at how Burma has changed under the new regime through the lens of Burmese VJ Joshua Min Htut. Following his activities in the award winning Burma VJ Joshua was exiled for five years, now as his exile is lifted he prepares to return home with his camera in tow.

Director: Joshua Min Htut

Synopsis
Joshua, the main character of ‘Burma VJ’, has been in exile in London, since the Saffron Revolution. Now things are changing in Burma, and Joshua decides to go home. He must see for himself, how much has really changed in his country. He needs to make sure the world knows.

About the director
Joshua was an undercover video journalist for DVB in Burma from 2006-2008. He ‘starred’ in the film Burma VJ, but have to go into exile in London. He then worked as camera team leader for Channel 4’s “The Orphans of Burma’s Cyclone,” which received The Rory Peck award. He worked on several other Burma documentaries including “Burma’s Nuclear Ambitions” as researcher and coordinator. He was admitted to The National Film School as director in 2011, but has decided to repatriate and continue his work as a journalist in mid-2012.

Looking for financial partners for development and production.

Film page on britdoc.org

SOURCES: Britdoc PUMA (30/05/2012)

Related posts:

China's total investment in documentary films last year reached 500 million yuan ($76.3 million)
Documenting the changes on film (China Daily)
Sundance Film festival 2012 selects 2 doc films about China
3 docs about Asia at the 11th DOXA festival in Vancouver
My Marriage, My Parents (Taiwan/China) (in production)

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