Festival Reports

Review of the Warsaw Film Festival

System Administrator Monday November 11, 2019
The films tend to be mediocre most of all the time – or quite simply bad; there is seldom space for a brilliant work, one that would bring something new to the table. And there is nothing wrong with it – after all, these filmmakers are mainly newcomers and, sadly, those who weren’t accepted to bigger events such as Venice, Cannes, Rotterdam, Toronto.
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Still Humble After All These Years

System Administrator Thursday October 17, 2019
Asiaticamediale’s own 20-year journey has been a bittersweet one. The festival has remained faithful to its deep and wide interest of Asian cultures and society, showing a considered respect for all the many issues. But while it has held on to its intellectual idealism, it also reveals a deep chasm between that generation’s social values and the current millennials who are following other media platforms.
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Pacific Meridian Film Festival in Vladivostok 2019: The Strength of Russian Cinema

System Administrator Friday October 11, 2019
Of the six films that the NETPAC (dream) team had to choose from in Vladivostok, Great Poetry was by far the most powerful for its brutal depiction of modern social issues concerning post-war trauma and friendship, and sustained by an astonishing performance and daring and poetic direction.
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El Gouna, 2019

System Administrator Friday October 11, 2019
It is incredible to see the number of female Arab directors present in El Gouna this year. Algerian film Papicha directed by Mounia Meddour takes us back to Algeria’s bloody black decade in the 1990s – a time when extremism and terrorism reigned. It received the award for the Best Arab Film.
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The 15th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2019

System Administrator Wednesday August 28, 2019
The growth in audience participation, comprising all ages, but mainly the youth, was astounding. The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) the official venue of Cinemalaya was jam packed with people  who braved intense showers for the entire duration of the festival. In fact Cinemalaya is associated with heavy rain.
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23rd Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival

System Administrator Sunday July 28, 2019
Recognized as a major international showcase for genre films, BIFAN showcased 284 films from 49 countries (166 features and 118 shorts) in its 23rd edition. They included 64 World Premieres, 38 International Premieres and 79 Asian Premieres. Korean superstar Jung Woo-sung attended BIFAN 23's star-studded opening ceremony on June 27 at the Bucheon Gynmasium, where the festival's new director (and veteran film producer) Shin Chul declared BIFAN's determination to take part in the advancement of the next 100 years of Korean cinema
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Report On The XV Eurasia Film Festival

System Administrator Monday July 22, 2019
The festival screened award winning films from major international film festivals, including Parasite by Bong Joon Ho (South Korea) that won the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival this year, along with some lesser known films by young directors, many of them making their debut.
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The Future is Now: Dispatches from the 20th Jeonju International Film Festival

System Administrator Saturday May 25, 2019
The lovely spring weather is perfect not only for indulging in the wide array of movies (whose tickets have sold out fast) but also for trying the nearby restaurants that offer some of the finest Korean cuisine — art and culture coming together in one of the world’s most vibrant cinema cities.
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41st Moscow International Festival

System Administrator Monday May 6, 2019
As a film juror from Pakistan, representing NETPAC, I was supposed to watch a pre-scheduled line-up of films — a mix of features and documentaries — from different Asian countries including India, Japan, China, Turkey, and even Yakutia, a sparsely populated but geographically large district in the north-eastern part of the Russian Federation.
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Fajr Film Festival

System Administrator Saturday May 4, 2019

The eleven Iranian films seen by NATPAC included fiction, animation, documentary and docudrama. The choice of subjects  varied with plots and characters  distinctly different from each other. In fact , no two films had any similarity or resemblance so forget cut and paste. 

Docudrama The Narrow Red Line from 2019 was scripted an directed by Farzad Khoshdast. It showed us a group of teenagers (not a day  over seventeen) in a Correction Center. The boys are guided and trained by a dedicated theater coach to leave their past behind and come up with a stage production, and finally, getting an invite from Germany for a visit and presentation. Yet nothing seemed theatrical and it all was all real. Powerful script , strong performance and direction with appealing production effects were at their best here. 

Another docudrama 23 People from 2018, scripted and directed by Mehdi Jafari ,shows us 23 teenage soldiers as POWs during Iran-Iraq War in early-eighties. They are repeatedly forced to admit and record that they are under twelve and have been forced to go to war. Patriotism prevail and they refuse to take the orders from the enemy. At one point, when a boy is being forced to admit that he is under twelve, he shouts back "I am seventeen and married. How can I be twelve !". The boys after trials and turbulences, make sure in the end that they  go back  to their homes with respect and dignity. The film ends in the present when the kids, now in their middle-age, call on their chief (from the prison days). It is an emotional scene bringing tears with joy. 23 People won award at 2019 Fajr Film Festival. (not to be confused with Fijir International Film Festival). 

Documentary Without My Friend from 2018, written and directed by Mohammad Ali Talebi, is a real account of two fifteen year old girls who attempt suicide by jumping off the bridge. One of them survives and we go into the facts for this tragic act. The film won at Cinema Verite, Iran Documentary Film Festival in 2018. It also won Best Actress Award at 37th Fajr International Film Festival. It is ruthless and shocking in showing actual incident filmed in a 3 minute video by the girls. There may be 101 reasons for this act but the bottom line is alienation from parents and generation gap.  

NETPAC Jury (Latika Padgaonkar, Syed Gholamreza Mousavi, Aijaz Gul)  presenting the award to Farzad Khoshdast
NETPAC Jury (Latika Padgaonkar, Syed Gholamreza Mousavi, Aijaz Gul) presenting the award to Farzad Khoshdast


The third  and final film of my list is The Charcoal from 2019 scripted and directed by Esmeel Monsef. With a directorial debut, Esmeel takes us into the life of charcoal producer and his hard account from dawn to dust. NETPAC Jury awarded The Narrow Red Line as Best Film for portraying the life of boys in a correction center who end up well with positive guidance. 

-- Aijaz Gul

--Edited by Latika Padgaonkar


Sun Shaoyi (1961 - 13th Aug. 2019) Shaoyi Photo It is with great sadness that we inform you of the demise of our senior NETPAC member, Prof SUN Shaoyi (孙绍谊) on 13th Aug 2019. Born in 1961, Prof. SUN Shaoyi did a Masters and a Ph.D from the University of Southern California (USC). He was Professor of Film and Media Studies at Shanghai Theater Academy (STA), taught Chinese film and literature at USC, University of California at Irvine, National Chung Hsing University (Taiwan), Shanghai University and New York University in Shanghai. Read More...