Official Selection 2019

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Heartbreaking and heartwarming, the award-winning In The Name Of Your Daughter tells the story of Tanzanian girls as young as eight who have to make the most difficult choice of their young lives: whether to submit to female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage or risk their lives and run away from home, not knowing if they’ll ever see their families again. Rhobi Samwelly, one of the most charismatic women in Africa, risks her life to give the girls a safe haven. This is a story of courage and hope

Director Statement

For more than two decades, I’ve wanted to make a documentary about this most egregious of human rights violations–female genital mutilation. Then, when I found this story of courage and hope, of young children risking everything to save themselves from this terrible fate, and the woman prepared to risk her own life to help them, I knew I had found the right way to highlight this issue. The children’s voices have rarely been heard. They need to be heard, and with this film, they will be heard. I’ve made many documentaries about the human rights of children and women, but I believe this to be the most important film, because it comes from a different perspective of all the films about FGM that have come before. The point of view of the children. It’s a very traditional documentary with no gimmicks, no animation, just a really important story of children standing up for their rights.

2019 Nepal Short Documentary

In the year 2015, the promulgation of the Constitution of Nepal 2015 initiated the country’s transition to a federal state, thereby providing an opportunity for local participation in government giving people a stronger voice in how their communities are governed. The Local Level Election Act 2017 mandates that two of the ward members elected for each ward must be women and one of the two women must be a Dalit, in total of 6743 wards. The film tries to explore the dilemma of one of such locally elected representatives from Terai region of Nepal, whereby belonging to a certain marginalized community is boon as well as bane. While her representation is a direct outcome of the aforementioned provision, the fact that the candidate has been elected by virtue of being a Dalit woman ironically prohibits her meaningful participation in the exercise of her rights and responsibilities as a Ward member. She is just a proxy leader, with no say of her own in decision making and her role as a Ward member, which makes it only harder for her to live up to the expectations of the people who elected her. This is the story of Mrs. Jasodhiya Paswan, who wants her voice to be counted, not just on paper but in reality. This is an effort to raise the voice of thousands like Jasodhiya Paswan.

By The Water

2018 UK Short Documentary

Made famous by his work with Sea Shepherd Global, Siddharth Chakravarty, has returned home to India, to help advocate for the traditional livelihoods under threat by a piece of draft legislation, called CRZ 2018. CRZ 2018, if implemented, will open India’s entire 7,500 km coastline to industry and development; leaving the 170 million people who live mostly by traditional fishing means, out of options.

The fishing village of Baguran Jalpai, in the north-east of India, is one of the coastal villages that are now fighting for their very existence. Here, Sid he meets villagers who are struggling to survive from the livelihoods they have known for thousands of years and he discovers the new and exploding industry of shrimp farming. We follow Sid as he investigates the pros and cons of shrimp farming, and how the new legislation will affect this community with broader implications to the rest of the Indian coastline.

Director Statement

I got into storytelling to give a voice and a platform to causes and movements that spoke to me. This mostly involved me creating films for environmental and conservation based movements, I had never before been exposed to the human aspects of these stories. That is until I met Siddharth. Having both previously worked at the same environmental NGO, we had an understanding and a common love for the oceans- but where previously we were working under the banner of animal rights and conservation, the work Sid was doing in India was completely different. Being the curious person I was, I had to find out more about it.

What I uncovered in India, was more than I could have ever imagined. The stories, the people, the situation were beyond what I had expected and became more and more complex, the more time I spent there. At first I had the notion that I was going to make a film about the evils of shrimp farming on a traditional community. It wasn’t until a week before I was set to leave for India that I learned about CRZ 2018, a piece of draft legislation that would change the course of India’s entire coastline. CRZ 2018 had just been release publicly and was open for comment during my production schedule, it relaxed environmental regulations on the coastlines and was in favor of industrial development. For the millions of traditional fishworkers that make their living from small scale fishing and other modest means, this law means the end of the line for them. Their way of life will effectively be over and they will have to convert their peaceful and sustainable livelihoods for more industrial practices like shrimp farming or working as migrant labor.

Coming from a western country where long ago the waves of industrialization had already replaced most traditional livelihoods, I had no real concept of how important traditional life was. Interacting with people who still catch or grow everything they eat, who know exactly how to live sustainably with their environment, and who now live on the razor edge of survival and extinction was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. As an outsider with a camera, my goal was to tell their story, to educate the public on their struggles, and open the public’s eyes to the human and environmental cost of industrialization.

I want people to think about where their cheap seafood comes from. I want people know be reminded of how traditionally people lived in harmony and not at odds with their environment. I want people to see how industrialization is not always the answer and for some it costs more than others.

BY THE WATER is both the hardest and best thing I have ever had the privilege to make. Its stories like these that inspired me to get into filmmaking and its stories like these I hope to continue to tell for the rest of my career.

R1514, the waiting

2018 Spain Short Documentary

The Sahrawi refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria, began at the end of 1975 in one of the toughest places in the world, the Hammada, the devil’s garden. We wish to give an overview of how they live. Thanks to their determination, Sahrawi have made a home under extreme conditions, a desert with frequent sandstorms and temperatures over 50 °C in summer, with no water but rare heavy flash rainfalls that flood the camps. With the camp’s 43rd anniversary, we want to highlight a situation that began with the decolonization process.

R1514, the waiting, starts with a black screen and the only sound of sea waves, a reminder of what Sahrawi have lost. Images will show us their hard work in order to live with dignity and the importance of education and the position of women, both key factors in Sahrawi’s surviving in such a hard environment.

The solution to the end of the camps should be peaceful and all nations can work toward it.

Director Statement

We did two short trips. In the first, the temperature was so high that we had to stay at midday inside the adobe houses and jaimas. I felt constantly the camera at the verge of burning. The second time, we went through a sandstorm. Lenses were affected. Moreover, the battery charger collapsed. Two batteries were damaged. The original project was impossible to fulfill.

But it was not dramatic. We had the joy of living with the Sahrawi, at their homes, eating their food, just being with them.

From time to time I stared at the surviving footage and finally found a way: R1514.

We had a taste of the Hamada and the images could tell the story of Sahrawi resistance and the development of women and education as key factors. It is not the classic interviews plus b-roll we had in mind at first for our NGO. It goes much farther and we love it!

The Sahrawi refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria, began at the end of 1975 in one of the toughest places in the world, the Hammada, the devil’s garden. We wish to give an overview of how they live. Thanks to their determination, Sahrawi have made a home under extreme conditions, a desert with frequent sandstorms and temperatures over 50 °C in summer, with no water but rare heavy flash rainfalls that flood the camps. With the camp’s 43rd anniversary, we want to highlight a situation that began with the decolonization process.

R1514, the waiting, starts with a black screen and the only sound of sea waves, a reminder of what Sahrawi have lost. Images will show us their hard work in order to live with dignity and the importance of education and the position of women, both key factors in Sahrawi’s surviving in such a hard environment.

The solution to the end of the camps should be peaceful and all nations can work toward it.


2018 Turkey Short Documentary

Hosyar Ali has been voluntarily cleaning mines that are spread all across the Iran – Iraq borderline for 28 years. We follow his footsteps in his home, in the borderline and in the graves of his son, his brother and his legs.

Director Statement

Growing up in Turkey’s Syrian border on the east of the vast Mesopotamia, I felt a passion for filmmaking and hit myself on the roads since very young ages. During the process, I realized that I was more documentary orientated and decided to be a documentary filmmaker. I shot about 20 documentaries, some succeeded in national and international festivals. When I heard the story of Hosyar Ali living in the Iraqi Kurdish region, I felt the urge to film his mission, unstopable passion and his loss. As a documentary director, I could not resist to shoot this a documentary; a story of such a man that is full of life just on the edge of death. Despite all the physical and life-crytical difficulties, I managed to shoot this documentary with a small and efficient team.

2017 UK Short Documentary

“I will make a Brazil for the majority, minorities [indigenous] have to bow down to the majority. Minorities should adapt themselves or simply disappear”, words of Jair Bolsonaro, newly elected president of Brazill as he proposed opening the Amazon region to mining and resuming dam construction.

If built, the dams would severely affect the community of the indigenous people and flood an area the size of London, Paris and Amsterdam combined. The flood would also cause a large amount of toxic plants to dissolve in the water, leading to severe poisoning or even death among the local tribes. These plants are commonly known as Timbó

Director Statement

Brazil holds eight percent of the world’s freshwater so it stands to reason that the country’s government, industrial interests and agribusiness all to want to harness this cheap and abundant source of energy. Allowing businesses to build mega-dams in the Brazilian Amazon – a strategy born in the 1980s during the country’s military dictatorship – has resulted in significant environmental damage and the displacement of indigenous peoples when fields, pastures, and natural habitats were flooded. Over the past few decades, indigenous communities, working together with national and international NGOs, have managed to temporarily put a stop to the dam building. However, the situation has changed with the recent presidential election.

Former army captain Jair Bolsonaro’s policy positions stand in opposition to environmental and indigenous rights. Like Trump, he believes that any environmental policy would be bad for the country and therefore belittles their importance. Bolstered by Brazil’s powerful evangelical and farming lobbies, Bolsonaro has pledged to pull Brazil out of the Paris Climate Agreement because of disputes over how the Amazon should be protected. He wants to merge the Ministry of Agriculture with the Ministry of the Environment and place it under the control of lobbyists associated with the so-called “Beef, Bible and Bullet” group. This farm lobby caucus backed Bolsonaro both in Congress and during his campaign. He is quoted as saying, “You can be sure that if I get elected, I will not have money for NGOs and there won’t be one centimeter demarcated for indigenous reserves.”

Bolsonaro has also proposed opening the Amazon region to mining and resuming dam construction in the Amazon basin, including in indigenous territories. “I will make a Brazil for the majority,” he has said, adding that “minorities have to bow down to the majority. Minorities [should] adapt themselves or simply disappear.” The São Luiz do Tapajós mega-dam in the state of Pará is one such project. The dam would flood an area ranging in size from Oxford and Cambridge combined to the entirety of New York City. The thousands of square kilometers of flooded land would impact regional biodiversity as well as the Munduruku, an indigenous community that has lived in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon for centuries and that has been fighting to protect their traditional land for over three decades. Today, there are more than 15,000 Munduruku living in the region. They depend on the river for food, transportation and the survival of their cultural and spiritual practices.

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2017 Denmark Documentary Feature

In 2010, director Anja Dalhoff met Monica, a Colombian prostitute in Copenhagen. Monica’s life has been one of hardship. Raped and abused a child, then trafficked to Spain, Japan, and Denmark to work as a prostitute, she had managed to escape the brothel where she had been beaten and held against her will. Throughout all her tribulations, Monica was armed with a camera, and documented her everyday life for 25 years. Dancing with Monica beautifully weaves Monica’s own footage into her ongoing story – a story of hope, despair, and redemption.

Director Statement

”Dancing with Monica” has indeed been a very long dance. 7 years of filming and close cooperation with this amazing and fantastic woman Monica. For the first time in my long life as a filmmaker I found a character who not only performed in the movie, but also filmed and contributed with scenes from her own environment where no filmmaker ever could get the access to record.

Sierra Leone, a small African nation set between Guinea and Liberia, is the country where more women die while giving birth. According to the World Health Organization, in 100,000 live births, 1,360 mothers lose their lives due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. The highest rate in the world.

A long civil war and the most serious Ebola outbreak in history have broken an already weak healthcare system.

The southern district of Bonthe is a very poor and forgotten area. Here, electricity has not arrived yet and, with the exception of a few dirt trails that are difficult to access, there are no roads. People and goods move along the tangle of rivers that flow into the Gulf of Guinea, and the main hospital is located on an island. If a pregnant woman has a complicated labor, is bleeding or experiences a sudden increase in blood pressure, she may have to wait hours before being brought to a hospital. Both her own and her child’s life are at risk.

Flaviour Nhawu is a public health expert, passionate and determined to change the fate of Bonthe women. Even more so now that she is living a special personal experience. Together with her team, in just one year she managed to reduce maternal mortality in Bonthe by half, channeling the scarce public healthcare resources into an efficient system of emergency transportation. And defying the spirits of the water.

Director Statement

“Maternal mortality is, above all, a question of gender inequality. The places of the world where women don’t enjoy equal rights are those in which more women die while giving birth to their children, because female health doesn’t receive proper attention. The story of Flaviour Nhawu, and of her passionate commitment to female health in a forgotten land of Sierra Leone, speaks of African women fighting to help other less fortunate women, giving them back the dignity they deserve.”

Digital Warriors - Women Changing the World

2018 Germany Documentary Feature

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media can drive social change or even spark revolutions. Women around the world are using the Internet as a weapon in their struggle for equal rights. They are fighting against the murder of women in Latin America, female genital mutilation in Africa, compulsory headscarves in Iran and for peace between India and Pakistan.

Net activists are increasingly fearless. No matter what hostilities they face, including online trolls who call for them to be killed, they do not back down. Hundreds of thousands follow these women on social media. Their campaigns inspire other women to take to the streets for equality, self-determination, human rights, freedom of speech and to oppose sexualized violence. In Argentina, activist María Florencia Alcaraz and her comrades-in-arms launched the #NiUnaMenos campaign against gender-based violence in general and the epidemic of femicides in particular. The movement has swept Latin America like an avalanche. Amid a culture of machismo, the movement is about dignity, self-determination and sheer survival.

Dignity and self-determination are also issues Masih Alinejad fights for. A real force of nature, the exiled Iranian now lives in New York. Her campaigns My Stealthy Freedom and White Wednesdays, in which women in Iran protest against being forced to wear headscarves, are so successful the regime in Tehran now fears a revolt by women.

In Guinea, where 96% of women have been forced to suffer female genital mutilation, Aissata Camara’s Break the Silence campaign is fighting to end the practice. Aissata herself has had to live with the physical and psychological anguish of FGM since she herself was mutilated at age eleven.

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2018 Ukraine Short Fiction Video Clip

WONDERWALL is a short film/narrative cinematic music video, which tells the story of unconditional love that helps overcome the loss of a loved one and helps one cope with grief.

A musical story follows a young man whose heart has been broken due to the lost of a loved one, and he is trying to escape reality. But his surreal experience while in the Chernobyl exclusion zone gives him a chance to discover himself.

Director Statement

As Teddy Roosevelt once quoted: “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” My interpretation being: let go of negative emotions that devour you, and cherish the memory of your loved one as a halo that guides you. They will always be with you, because of your unconditional love. Their memory and your love for them will surely set you free.

By setting the story in Chernobyl, I wanted to create a film not about a catastrophe or its consequences, such as death, loss and grief. I have been striving to redefine them in a highly positive way. I want to show a special view of the situation, by making a film about how unconditional love helps to overcome grief and loss. I wanted to make a film that would be a Wonderwall – something that gives strength, a sturdy foundation for hope.

Telling the story through the perspective of a young man that has all his life ahead of him, but having lost the most amazing girl in the world, he lost himself, my desire was to help such people reframe this terrible experience and take possession of their lives.

I want people to reconcile with themselves and in their hearts realize the realities of these two dissonant worlds. To help them cope with the loss of a loved one in a different light. To be inspired by what this person means to them. The love of a loved one remains forever, they will always have a special place in their heart, as they forge ahead in creating a new life. Finding this new freedom will exhilarate one, like a big breath of fresh air, every pore will open itself to this new found realization.

Miss Black Germany

2018 Germany Short Documentary

“Being German doesn’t equal being white.”

What does it feel like to grow up in a society whose beauty standards are so different from your own? Challenging what it means to be beautiful in the Western world, Miss Black Germany documents the stories, hopes, dreams and fears of four contestants participating in the first Miss Black Germany pageant.

2015 Cuba Short Fiction

Carlos is a young Cuban filmmaker facing censorship for the first time. He must choose between taking a great career opportunity or maintaining the integrity of his work.

Out of the Dark…

2018 Austria Short Fiction Animation

How to face depression – in simple animated drawings

Rosa is a young Austrian filmmaker. Her work is influenced by the South African artist William Kentridge. Her animated films are constructed by scanning a drawing, making erasures and changes, and scanning it again. She uses these animated drawings to process traumata of her own life and her personal surroundings.

2019 USA Documentary Short

Visual Healing is a photo-to-video exploration of the effects of trauma; and the growth and healing that one can find in sharing this ubiquitous experience with family and friends.

My art is inspired from the process of healing and reshaping. My goal is to grab the viewer and request they slow down and notice if another’s truth helps them know their own truth.

I began this study as a way to explore, to open my experience, and to heal from trauma.

I work full time as a psychotherapist and enjoy deep dives into the wilderness where I gather, pull and receive inspiration for my art.


2018 Germany Short Documentary Student Film

When talking about backs, we often look at beauty ideals. Our back shows strength – it is the largest part of our body and is irreplaceable. Our spine gives us an upright posture. In SHAPES, a “different back” is portrayed. A back that is scarred by scars, curves and deformation. It is an experimental portrait about a part of our body, that is mostly well hidden behind layers of clothes.

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2019 Kenya Short Fiction Animation

This is the story of a boy named Kitwana, A boy who laughed and played,

and went to school, and did all the things that children do.

One day Kitwana’s life would change and not for the better,

This however, nobody knew.

Breaking Ballroom

2019 UK Short Documentary Student Film

1 in 5 people in the UK has a disability. Growing up with a disabled brother and passionate about dance, Rashmi Becker set up Step Change Studios to address the lack of opportunities for disabled people to dance. This film tells the inspiring story of how she came to establish this ground-breaking company, which in its first year supported over 1,000 people to dance. From care homes and community centres to one of the UK’s leading venues for professional dance, Breaking Ballroom is a reminder of the sheer joy of dance.