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The 15th International Festival
Signes de Nuit

Bangkok
Thaïland
May 7 - 9, 2017


 
Reading Room
 

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AWARD CELEBRATION

Documentary Competition


May 7 - 9, 2017

Bookhemian
Reading Room
Bangkok / Thailand

 

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Documentary Competition

Main Award


The War Show
Obaidah Zytoon & Andreas Møl Dalsgaard

  

The War Show

THAILAND PREMIERE

 


The War Show
Obaidah Zytoon & Andreas Møl Dalsgaard

Syria-Denmark-Germany-Finland

2016 | 1:34:00


In March 2011, radio host Obaidah Zytoon and her circle of friends join the street protests against President Bashar al-Assad, as the Arab Spring reaches Syria. Knowing their country would be changed forever, this group of artists and activists begin filming their lives and the events around them. But as the regime’s violent response spirals the country into a bloody civil war, their hopes for a better future will be tested by violence, imprisonment and death. Obaidah leaves Damascus and journeys around the country, from her hometown of Zabadani, to the centre of the rebellion in Homs, and to northern Syria where she witnesses the rise of extremism. A deeply personal road movie, the film captures the fate of Syria through the intimate lens of a small circle of friends.


Jury Statement :
For us, The War Show is a coming-of-age film. It tells us about a group of friends who had a common dream for a better society, and had experienced life, love and loss through Syrian civil war. The film is political yet very personal. Arab Spring brought a glimpse of hope for freedom to a group of young Syrian artists. It’s beautifully painful to witness how optimistic and hopeful they were before all hopes and struggles slowly faded away since they found themselves trapped in the middle of the war. Well-crafted through the eyes of Obaidah Zytoon, one of the directors who was a radio host before the civil war broke down. She and her friends recorded several protests against Bashar al-Assad in 2011 without knowing that their lives would never be the same. Protest songs become mourning, handmade molotovs become live ammunitions and death becomes reality. Foreign intervention from all sides has turned Syria into a graveyard. The film perfectly demonstrates how lives could turn upside down by a so-called power struggles at broader level. The War Show is indeed a love letter to countless ‘martyrs’ who lost their lives for their dreams of more just and democratic Syria. It celebrates youthfulness and mourns over vanishing hopes with blood and tears.

 
Documentary Competition

Special Mention
for Main Award

The Horn
Frederik Jan Depickere



The Horn

ASIA PREMIERE

 


The Horn
Frederik Jan Depickere

USA, Belgium, Colombia
2016 | 0:50:00


A haunting, disturbing gaze into the mind of a sociopath, against the backdrop of the European immigration crisis As a human being, aka “The Horn” - a former Colombian guerrilla commander - leaves much to be desired. Based on the principles laid out in Sergey Nechayev´s infamous Revolutionary Catechism, he cheated, extorted and murdered, up until reaching absolute self-fulfillment in the Far North of Sweden. A haunting, disturbing gaze into the mind of a sociopath, against the backdrop of the European immigration crisis



Jury Statement :
Watching this documentary creates a distinctive experience. It was like staring deep into the ocean of darkness, the black hole that’s been hidden on our planet. Father of all heartless villains who got away unapologetically told us his autobiography through the filmmakers, and his impunity is an inconvenient truth of how cynicism and nihilism our world could have surprised us with despair. Stared back into the camera at us in talking-head position in black-and-white, “The Horn” himself overwhelmed us with his twisted mind and personality. Some might say the filmmaker’s storytelling technique is quite too simple, cross-cutting between the subject’s talking-head interview with his daily routine during Swedish harsh winter, but only getting in touch with this particular top secret deserves recognition. Especially when the director chills us to the bone with coldness, both from the story and the subject’s presence, without falling into the clichéd trap of ‘non-judgmental’ approaches.

 

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Documentary Competition

Signs Award


Dum Spiro Spero
Pero Kvesic
The Signs Award for Documentary honors films, which express in a surprising way sensible and perturbing aspects of reality.



Dum Spiro Spero

ASIA PREMIERE

 


Dum Spiro Spero
Pero Kvesic

Croatia
2016 | 0:50:00


"Dum spiro spero is a Latin saying meaning ‘while I breathe, I hope’. Until this day it has remained the motto of those who refuse to quit until the very last breath. Intertwining daily life, books and death, the author speaks about losing strength and the strength to cope with the loss. Everybody die the moment they are born, which is the greatest reason why to understand the values of life and enjoy the joys it gives. The acclaimed writer after a series of book made his first film and his literati experience spoke in a cinematic language that reaches the level of his literature. Details of ordinary surrounding and daily life fit in with the story they engender. This film is to a great extent a one-man show, because next to the script and directing, the author also filmed all the material and played the mouth harp."



Jury Statement :
A very simple personal home movie permeated with meanings of life. From footages of everyday life in the house, playing with pets and portraying family relationships, to exploring more about the filmmaker’s situation. Reality told through declining abilities, decaying body and his deadly disease with a camera in his own hands, including the passing era which came with high technology and ending with things that waiting for all kinds of living creatures, death. Calming voice over of the director made the film even subtler. This personal film is full of sense of humour, sincerity, and bluntness yet still as beautiful as a great piece of poetry. We became parts of his memoirs through details from his memory of little things, places, family members and beloved pets. We never knew each other before, but visiting the writer-turned-director’s sanctuary intimately made us realize more about the next level of “meaning of life.” Only a few of home movies could have done that superbly, and this is one of them.

 

 
Documentary Competition

Special Mention
for Sign Award

A Concrete Cinema
Luz Ruciello



A Concrete Cinema

THAILAND PREMIERE

 


A Concrete Cinema
Luz Ruciello

Argentina
2017 | 1:17:00


Omar is a humble bricklayer, fragile-looking, thin and ungraceful. He began to build a movie theatre above his home, all by himself and without telling anyone. It took him four years. He opened the cinema with a projector from 1928, got the seats from the old village cinema and set up the screen painting a canvas that his wife helped him hang. This room became his refuge. After 10 years of trying to keep it running, his brothers decided to sell the land where Omar's house and theatre were. He had to move.Omar did not give up and started again. Like an ant, slowly and quietly.


Jury Statement :
Besides obvious success as a heartwarming documentary portraying the struggles of an old man who builds his own cinema with bare hands and passion, A Concrete Cinema also sparks a question -in a positive way- of the media or filmmaker’s influence towards its own subject via filming itself. Brief fracture of the fourth wall pointed out this particular issue. Have Omar, the theatre owner, been manipulated or conducted to achieve the filmmaker’s happy ending? Or Omar himself, who surely was living with full awareness that his activities were being monitored by cameras and recording crews with full-scale filming equipments for some time, would feel encouraged by them to revive his once-demolished concrete cinema? At which extent, if Omar and his family as well as his theatre would have made a commitment to the project that would deteriorate their daily lives? And how committed he was to the aesthetics of filmmaking which obliged to control? To us, seemingly, all changes occurred before the cameras had their own story-line tendencies to be resolved and relieved.

 

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Documentary Competition

Night Award


Two Way Jesus
Jet Leyco

 The Night Award for Documentary honors films, which represent reality in an ambivalent and enigmatic way, avoiding stereotypes of representation and simple conclusions.



Two Way Jesus

ASIA PREMIERE

 


Two Way Jesus
Jet Leyco

Philippines
2016 | 0:12:00


In "Two Way Jesus", reality conquers fiction, and versa. The people of Cutud, Pampanga - celebrates the annual "Maleldo", the Crucifixation of Jesus Christ. This seemingly voyeurism approach tackles its participants and observer, religion and culture, and the power of new media in between.

 



Jury Statement :
The Catholic ritual in the Philippines appeared on the screen. The old man represented Jesus Christ in crucifixion ceremony was captured through close-ranged and handheld camera, quick-cut editing, looping shots and repeated ritualistic music which resulted in the constructed images of Holy Jesus Christ. On the other hand, all said compositions were deconstructed towards the end of the film when the old man received first aid from medical unit. In this particular scene, the director used normal-range instead of close-range shot, long take instead of quick-cut editing and ambience instead of ritualistic music. Two Way Jesus has shown us the power of images including illusion and distortion. It also questions strong influence of Catholicism in the Philippines which is the legacy from Colonialism. It is the same as old man’s blood which also confused us whether it’s his own blood or just fake blood for the ritualistic purpose.

Director Statement :

 
 
Documentary Competition

Special Mention
for Award

Resplandor
Fernando Priego Ruiz



Resplandor

ASIA PREMIERE

 


Resplandor
Fernando Priego Ruiz

Argentina
2017 | 1:17:00


Camilo Peña an old gaucho from Patagonia decides to remain taking care of his animals in the wild side of the river, isolated, at the foot of los Andes in spite of knowing that the illness that affects his eyes, sooner or later will transform his world in a blinding radiance.


Jury Statement :
Not only the subject’s eyesight, but the absence of filmmakers and cameras also makes this observation became a dark night. Daily routines and struggles of a blinded elderly farmer who lives alone were captured quietly during one seasonal transition towards icy winter, decreasing temperature hardened his way of living in solitude. We witnessed his bloody face during morning shave, shivering body from sickness in bed, and one memorable ‘frozen’ scene involving his pet cat with questions and wonders. Obviously the director chose to be a fly on the wall, his camera flown slowly around the old man to record his activities without any interference, to represent every aspects of this distinctive living. Some might say great documentary filmmakers require colder hearts and gazes – undoubtedly, all obscurities from his absence absolutely put him into the category.

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Documentary Competition

Edward Snowden Award


A 157
Behrouz Nouranipour

The Edward Snowden Award honors films, which offer sensible (mostly) unknown informations, facts and phenomenons of eminent importance, for which the festival wishes a wide proliferation in the future.



A 157

THAILAND PREMIERE

 


A 157
Behrouz Nouranipour

Iran

2015 | 1:13:00


One of the most horrifying Isis operations was the physical and cultural genocide of the Yezidi Kurds in Iraq. After conquering the Shingal region west of Mossul the terrorist militia began to systematically kill the male population while thousands of children, girls and women were kidnapped, enslaved, forced into marriage or raped. A157 is a filmmaker look at three pregnant girls recounting their stories of war, violence and sexist conquest in a land where people have no more dreams.


Jury Statement :
A157 is a truly heartbreaking documentary which captures the tragedy of war and its victims through daily struggles of three Kurdish teenager girls currently living in a refugee camp alongside Syria-Turkey border. A157, the number of UNHCR tent where Hailin, Roken and Soolaf live in, gradually reveals how horrifying IS operation was, through the oral testimony of three girls who lost their families and faced unimaginable fate on their own. Whilst it might be debatable on how the storytelling is executed through cinematic techniques, the film still deserves to be shown in every corner of the world. This film is one of the saddest reminders to humanity that we all bear responsibility to at minimum, to express our solidarity for people who are suffering from senseless war in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Director Statement :

 

 

 

 


 

Festival international SIGNES DE NUIT - 18, rue Budé 75004 Paris - France - Tel : +33 (0) 1 40 46 92 25 - +33 (0) 6 84 40 84 38 - cood.int@signesdenuit.com