Edinburgh International Film Festival 2012 will show docs from Philippine, Japan and China

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The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), the world’s oldest continuous film festival started in 1947, is taking a new road under the management of a new artistic director, the American critic, author and lecturer Chris Fujiwara. 

The festival, which runs from June 20 to July 1, just announced its program with a global spread of 121 productions from 52 countries which will include 19 world premieres. Among these films, 7 documentaries from or about Asia, a spotlight on Philippines and a special meeting with Chinese documentary maker Wang Bing who will discuss his film career.

Chris Fujiwara, only took the reins four months ago, but is determined to make the EIFF a showcase to attract the best and the brightest in the movie industry.

“We have built a program that is committed to an artistic cinema, to a world cinema, a program that is full with a broad range of artistic styles, a broad range of themes and a broad range of national origins, of languages, but which are all knitted together by a spirit of adventure, a spirit of questioning,” he told Reuters.

Philippines New Wave

The festival will have a special spotlight on Philippines with X documentaries.

• Forever Loved (Lawas Kan Pinabli)

Philippine New Wave / International premiere

Christopher Gozum / Philippines / 2012 / 195 mins
Louie Rojas, Jo Paredes, Dindo Salinas, Sharon Manibpel, Joselito Alejo

There are an estimated six million documented and one million undocumented migrant Philippine workers scattered throughout 200 countries all over the world. Every day, some 4,000 more join their ranks. Weaving recollections and letters from various migrant workers around the story of a Philippine man searching for his missing wife in a Middle Eastern city, Christopher Gozum creates an intimate, evocative and hypnotic mixture of documentary, poetry and fiction.

Director: Christopher Gozum
Producer: Christopher Gozum
Exec Producer: Janus Victoria
Editor: Christopher Gozum
DoP: Noel Alipoyo
Sound Production: Tengal
Music: John Sobrepena, Ran Kirlian
Cast: Louie Rojas, Jo Paredes, Dindo Salinas, Sharon Manibpel, Joselito Alejo

Film page on edfilmfest.org.uk  Trailer

• Philippine New Wave: This Is Not a Film Movement

Philippine New Wave / World premiere
Khavn De La Cruz / Philippines / 2012 / 75 mins
Brillante Mendoza, Lav Diaz, Raya Martin, Kidlat Tahimik, Adolfo Alix Jr

“Not so much a documentary, nor a compendium of interviews, but an almost rarefied glimpse into a wholesale revolt from a rigid paradigm long upheld by the west as the only way to make a film. If you want to see how technology has democratized cinema, here is the tip of a massive iceberg”. (Khavn de la Cruz)

Director: Khavn De La Cruz
Producer: Khavn De La Cruz
Scriptwriter: Khavn De La Cruz
Editor: Lawrence S. Ang
DoP: Khavn De La Cruz
Production Designer: Khavn De La Cruz
Sound Production: Lawrence S. Ang
Cast: Brillante Mendoza, Lav Diaz, Raya Martin, Kidlat Tahimik, Adolfo Alix Jr

Film page on edfilmfest.org.uk   Trailer

• Tondo, Beloved: To What Are the Poor Born? (Tundong Magiliw: Pasaan isinisilang siyang mahirap?)

Philippine New Wave / International premiere
Jewel Maranan / Philippines / 2012 / 74 mins
Virgie Simpron

Documentarist Jewel Maranan turns her camera on one of the oldest and most densely populated districts of Manila. “The beauty of it is that it does not try to impress. On the contrary, the aesthetic force of Tondo, Beloved is effortlessly persuasive. Maranan is able to express the collapse of what separates life from fiction, both of them sharing parallel realities, the emotions of the characters carrying the narrative and not the other way around” (Chard Bolisay, film critic).

Director: Jewel Maranan
Producers: Jewel Maranan, Tondo Foreshoreland People’s Alliance
Editor: Jewel Maranan
DoP: Jewel Maranan
Cast: Virgie Simpron

Film page on edfilmfest.org.uk

Other docs from or about Asia

• Fukushima: Memories of the Lost Landscape (Soma kanka: dai ichi bu – ubawareta tochi no kioku)

New Perspectives / UK premiere
Yojyu Matsubayashi / Japan / 2011 / 109 mins

Tokyo-based documentary filmmaker Yojyu Matsubayashi, anxious to document the tragedy of the tsunami in northeast Japan and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, won the trust of the Tanakas, a middle-aged couple working to help people forced to evacuate their homes in the town of Minami-soma. Matsubayashi’s portrait of the Tanakas’ dedication and of the varying experiences and emotions of the evacuees creates a compelling image of loss and resilience.

Director: Yojyu Matsubayashi
Producer: Matsubayashi Yojyu
Editor: Matsubayashi Yojyu
DoP: Matsubayashi Yojyu
Sound Production: Nakagawa Kyuya

Film page on edfilmfest.org.uk  Trailer 

• No Man’s Zone (Mujin chitai)

New Perspectives / UK premiere
Toshi Fujiwara / Japan, France / 2011 / 105 mins

Filmmaker Toshi Fujiwara journeys into the 20-kilometer zone around the afflicted Fukushima nuclear power station. Speaking with residents who are preparing to comply with the government’s order to evacuate the zone, Fujiwara elicits testimony of dedication to the past and uncertainty about the future. No Man’s Zone is at once a documentary record of a time of crisis and a reflection on the meanings of home and homelessness, on Japanese culture and on strength in adversity.

Director: Toshi Fujiwara
Producers: Valérie-Anne Christen, Denis Friedman
Editor: Isabelle Ingold
DoP: Takanobu Kato
Sound Production: Masaru Usui
Music: Barre Phillips

Film page on edfilmfest.org.uk  Trailer

• Nuclear Nation

New Perspectives / UK premiere
Atsushi Funahashi / Japan / 2012 / 96 mins

After the 11 March 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster, residents of Futaba, a town in Fukushima Prefecture, are relocated to an abandoned high school in a suburb of Tokyo, 150 miles south. With a clear and compassionate eye, filmmaker Atsushi Funahashi follows the displaced people as they struggle to adapt to their new environment. Among the vivid personalities who emerge are the town mayor, a Moses without a Promised Land; and a farmer who would rather defy the government than abandon his cows to certain starvation

Director: Atsushi Funahashi
Producer: Yoshiko Hashimoto
DoP: Atsushi Funahashi, Yutaka Yamazaki
Music: Haruyuki Suzuki, Ryuichi Sakamoto

Film page on edfilmfest.org.uk


Spotlight on Wang Bing

• Fengming: A Chinese Memoir (He Fengming)

Spotlight on Wang Bing
Wang Bing / China, Hong Kong / 2007 / 186 mins
He Fengming

An elderly woman walks along a snowy street to her apartment. She makes herself comfortable in her armchair and speaks to the camera. Her name is He Fengming. As night slowly falls, she tells her life story, which spans the history of the Cultural Revolution. Once idealistic young journalists, Fengming and her husband were denounced as counterrevolutionaries, separated, and thrust into labour camps. A moving testament to human endurance, an extraordinary piece of oral history and a landmark in recent documentary cinema. The filmmaker will be in attendance and will also discuss his work in depth in a masterclass.

Director: Wang Bing
Exec Producers: K. Lihong, Louise Prince
Editor: Adam Kerby
Cast: He Fengming

Film page on edfilmfest.org.uk

Coal Money + Brutality Factory
• 70 mins

Two astounding short works by a contemporary master who trains his camera on the human costs of a merciless economy of exploitation. Coal Money follows Chinese truck drivers carrying coal from the mines to the market, encountering criminals and corrupt policemen, haggling with buyers in endless negotiations. Set amid the rubble of a disused factory, Brutality Factory recreates one of the show trials of accused reactionaries that were a feature of the Cultural Revolution. The filmmaker will be in attendance and will also discuss his work in a masterclass.

The Ditch

Wang Bing / Hong Kong, Belgium, France / 2010 / 112 mins
Zhengwu Cheng, Niansong Jing, Xiangnian Li

A great documentarist makes his first foray into narrative feature filmmaking with this stark and ferocious look at survival under appalling conditions. China, October 1960. At the Jiabiangou labour camp in the Gobi desert, condemned rightists are sent for rehabilitation. Their task: digging a seemingly endless ditch between nowhere and nowhere. Their food supply dwindles to nothing, as a woman comes searching for her husband, one of the labourers. Cinematography by Lu Sheng, whose directorial debut, Here, There, is also screening at EIFF. The filmmaker will be in attendance and will also discuss his work in depth in a masterclass.

In Person: Masterclass with Wang Bing

• 90 mins

From his first film, West of the Tracks (2003), to his latest work, Wang Bing has brought rigour and compassion to the archaeology of the physical and social changes China has undergone since the Cultural Revolution.

Not only a pivotal figure in Chinese documentary filmmaking, Wang is an artist whose work with time and space marks him as one of the most significant filmmakers of our time.

At this masterclass, co-sponsored with the Scottish Documentary Institute, Wang will share his insights. Be sure also to see Wang’s Fengming: A Chinese Memoir, The Ditch, and Coal Money and Brutality Factory, all screening at EIFF.


SOURCE: Edinburgh International Film Festival 

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