9 Asian docs at Shanghai tv & film festivals 2012

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Almost 10 docs about Asia will be screened at this year Shanghai International Film and TV festivals. Some of them will compete for Magnolia TV Awards.

  • 15th Shanghai International Film Festival


There are no doc in the 16 films which are competing for Golden Goblet Award of the 15th Shanghai International Film Festival.  But Mida Docu, one of the section of PANORAMA, will screen documentaries from all over the world. Among them, X films about Asia.

Mida Docu is a program co-hosted by Shanghai TV Festival and the Documentary Channel with Shanghai International Film Festival. This year, there are 20 documentaries recommended by the 5 biggest global documentary film festivals are to be screened during the SIFF, including 4 about Asia: Hometown Boy, Shoji & Takao, Generation Kunduz, and Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

. Generation Kunduz (Afghanistan) Director: Martin Gerner

Duration: 80 minutes
Official film website

The story of five young Afghans in Kunduz, a city in the Afghan war. Mirwais, 10, who defines war and peace with the words of a child. Nazanin, a local reporter who fights for women’s rights while wearing a burqa. Hasib, a student and democracy activist, who dreams of free and fair elections. Ghulam and Khatera, who are shooting a film in the middle of the armed conflict. A look into the minds of a young generation that lives in constant fear of Taliban attacks and the consequences of the foreign military’s presence. Daily life suddenly switching to disrupting realities. Nonetheless, all five protagonists dream of a modern society, like their counterparts in the Arab world. But will the wishes of these young Afghans be heard ?
Generation Kunduz is also nominated for the Magnolia Award at the 18th Shanghai TV Festival and is screened at 15th Shanghai International Film Festival from june 16.-26th 2012

Generation Kunduz received an ‘Honorary Mention’ in the Amnesty International Competition, at Planet Doc Film Festival in Warsaw May 11th-20th 2012

. Hometown Boy (Taiwan, China/Taiwan, China) Director: Yao Hung-I

Year: 2011
Duration: 72minutes
Music: Lim Giong

Articles in Want China Times, artnet.com and ucca.com

. Jiro Dreams of Sushi USA) Director: David Gelb

Duration: 83minutes

Official website  Trailer  IMDb film page

. SHOJI & TAKAO A 44-Year Fight for the Simple Life ショージとタカオ  (Japan) Director: Yoko Ide

Year: 2010
Duration: 159minutes

Official film website   IMDb film page

Trailer  Article in Time Out

Sakurai Shoji and Sugiyama Takao were accused in the robbery-murder Fukawa Incident that occurred in 1967 in Ibaraki Prefecture. They continued to insist on their innocence while they were incarcerated, and upon being paroled in 1996 they stepped outside the prison walls for the first time in twenty-nine years. This film documents the fourteen years after these two falsely accused formerdefendants were released on parole. After the film was released, they were found to be not guilty in a retrial in May 2011. Number one in the 2010 ranking of cultural films in Kinema Junpo, recipient of the Mecenet Award at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival, and winner of The Bunka-Cho (Agency for Cultural Affairs) Film Awards 2011 Documentary Grand Prize.

Full list of Mida Docu selection for 2012

  • 18th Shanghai International TV Festival 


This year, documentary is one of the 4 key categories of the Magnolia Awards together with animation, drama and series.

8 doc films (60 minutes and up) will compete in this category, including 4 doc films about Asia.

. The Boy Mir – Ten Years In Afghanistan , Great Britain

Director:Phil Grabsky Screenwriter:Phil Grabsky
The production company:Seventh Art Productions

The British filmmaker Phil Grabsky knew the young Afghan Mir while filming the documentary “The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan”. Mir and his family had fled from the north of the country and were living in a cave next to where the Taliban had blown up the giant ancient statues of the Buddha. Grabsky decided to follow Mir’s life for the following 10 years. In The Boy Mir, we see him growing up from a playful eight-year-old boy into a young man with an uncertain future. Grabsky shows the day-to-day life of a poor Afghan family and allows Mir, his father and caring brother-in-law to reveal their hopes and concerns. They are back in their village in the north of Afghanistan, where it is now more peaceful, although progress is painfully slow. As a child, Mir wanted to become a teacher or president, but now his thoughts are more concerned with survival.

Film page on stvf.com

. ”Cloudy” Mountain, China

Director: Zhu Yu

The production company: Documentary Channel, Shanghai Media Group

The southern foot of the mountains in Lop Nur in western China is rich in asbestos. The workers create dust while exploiting the asbestos. From far away, it looks like a cloud-making machine, puffing clouds into the air.

The use of big machines increases the asbestos mining capacity,but the lack of relevant environmental protection facilities leads to a large amount of dust blotting out the sun. No matter whether inside or outside, workers only use scarves or masks to protect themselves. But actually these textile products are easy to suck dust. The workers are suffering from environmental pollution.

Though people working in such a harsh environment live a hard and isolated life, they have not lost their joy of living, because they have found a way to make money, which is the hope of their lives. However, they don’t know or care about what consequences the environment can have.

Film page on stvf.com

. Generation Kunduz , Afghanistan

Director:Martinq Gerner
The production company:Martin Gerner Film

The story of five young Afghans in Kunduz, a city in the Afghan war: Mirwais, 10 years old, who talks of war and peace like an adult. Nazanin, a local reporter who fights for women‘s rights while wearing a burka. Hasib, a student, who dreams of free and fair elections. Ghulam and Khatera, who are shooting a film in the middle of the armed conflict. It is a look into the minds of a young generation who live in fear of Taliban attacks, and the consequences of the foreign military’s presence. Daily life suddenly switch to disrupting realities. Nonetheless, all five pro- tagonists dream of a better society, like their counterparts in the Arab world. But will the wishes of these young Afghans be heard?

Film page on stvf.com

. The Surging River , China

Director:Zhang xiaoying Screenwriter:Zhang xiaoying
The production company:CCTV

In 1934, Swedish explorer Bergman published a book “Archaeological researches in Sin kiang”, which uncovered thousands of years’ of history of Luobupo in Sinkiang. The Xiaohe Graveyard mentioned in the book is considered the most difficult and unfathomable enigma of the various civilizations of Central Asian history and the history of archaeology.

Modern Chinese archaeologists have spent more than a half century trying to solve the mystery of the Xiaohe Graveyard. The large Xiaohe Graveyard has a large number of European mummies. According to all the evidence, far before the opening of the Silk Road, European people and Mongolians created a peculiar civilisation here. Thanks to the Xiaohe Graveyard, the history of the merging of Eastern and Western civilizations has been brought forward about 2000 years.

“The surging river”, in a series of three episodes, will bring us through time and space. We will explore human migration, burial customs and lifestyles in desert areas in Sin Kiang, in remote antiquity, as well as enjoying the oldest and most exotic Chinese Western civilisation.

Film page on stvf.com

Among the 8 doc films competing for the Best Documentary (below 60 minutes), 3 films are about Asia.

. Yugo and His Mother , China

Director:Gu Tao Screenwriter:Gu Tao
The production company:Documentary Channel, Shanghai Media Group (SMG)

Hugo’s mother Liu Xia, who lost her husband when Hugo was a child, was not able to bring her son up. Therefore Hugo was sent to Wuxi for free education with the support of society. Liu Xia is depressed all the time. Reindeer and wine became the substitute for her child. On a winter vacation, Hugo returned to his hometown – the Ewenki settlements in the Daxing’an Mountain range. At this point he was no longer the child that he used to be, but a 13-year-old boy. Facing his alcoholic mother, poetic uncle, pure tribe, and familiar while strange forest, the boy who grew up in the city has no idea what to do.

Film page on stvf.com

. Yucchi, Age 25- The 17 Years with His Weekend Foster Parents , Japan

Director:Mariko Shibatani Screenwriter:Mariko Shibatani
The production company:Kansai Telecasting Corporation

This documentary portrays Yuki Wada, a young man with Down Syndrome, and the 17 years he has spent with his Weekend Foster Parents. Yuki was left at a foster home at an early age, and stayed in institutions until he was 23. In Japan, some 47,000 children live away from their parents because of illness, death or abuse. 90percent of these children live in institutions. However, some studies show that children brought up without strong attachments to family or friends, are more likely to experience problems in adulthood .Yuki has never had a family. But his weekend foster parents, Mr and Mrs Takiguchi, have loved him as their own. He has now moved to a group home, and has started working as “Yucchi” the clown. Although he has experienced many hardships, he is now steadily moving on and through this heartwarming documentary we hope to convey the importance of growing up with someone to watch over us.

Film page on stvf.com

Full list of docs competing for Magnolia Awards 2012

SOURCES: SIFF, SITVF

Related posts:

Min-Chul (Creativeast / South Korea)
China's documentary makers attract international interest, funding
Five Asian docs and reports selected by FIPA 2012
Who Killed Chea Vichea? (2011, USA - Thailand)
Drug mules share their story (New Strait Times)

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