An initiative of Casa Asia, the Asian Film Festival Barcelona (AFFBCN) has been regaling the film lovers of Barcelona since 2011.
Since the pandemic, AFFBCN 2021 returns as an "inclusive framework" in which the latest batch of the best cinematographic works from the continent was showcased. Menene Gras, the festival’s director defines as the festival "a mosaic of local narratives that allows the viewer to discover places, landscapes and identities like no other means of communication". It is, therefore, a pluralistic and cinematic representation of political, economic and cultural diversity of the Asian continent.
The program of this edition screened 127 films from "critical geographies" that show their idiosyncrasies and challenge the globalization of markets. These are productions that bear the imprint of 26 cultures and nationalities from Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific area, and that bring the public closer to countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Laos, Indonesia or Vietnam, as well as Australia and New Zealand.
As usual, the AFFBCN 2021 programming was divided into five sections: Official, Official Panorama, Discoveries, NETPAC and Special, all in competition. As a novelty, the program incorporated the section New Talents Hong Kong, organized in collaboration with the Hong Kong International Film Festival. In addition, the festival included a retrospective of sixteen films dedicated to the Indian director Satyajit Ray, in collaboration with the Filmoteca de Catalunya.
Regarding the exhibition, after the opening session at CaixaForum (Wednesday, October 27, fifty screenings have been scheduled at the Girona Cinemas, six more at the French Institute and sixteen at the Filmoteca.
20 films were nominated for the NETPAC award to be judged a jury composed of Antonio Rodrigo (Spain), Sandra Sotelo (Philippines), Qazi Abdur Rahim (India, Chairperson).
The Jury mainly viewed the films physically although few films were watched online. At this edition of the festival NETPAC decided to give 2 Awards: Winner and Special Mention.
Eternally Younger than those Idiots (Japan) based on a novel of Kikuko Tsumura and directed by Ryohei Yoshino, won the NETPAC award, while Cafe by The Highway bagged the Special Mention Award for its beautifully shot photography and unique original story about the loneliness. As the director put it, "I have driven to West China for a long trip many times. Every night, when passing by the toll station, I would meet those collectors who were waiting by themselves. And they would look at me, the stranger, carefully, listening to the music in my car, and then have a polite wave goodbye. They are the loneliest persons I have ever seen. They are forgotten and they imagine their own journey".
--by Qazi Abdur Rahim (India/Spain)
NETPAC Jury (Chairperson)
Qazi Abdur Rahim Born in 1962, in Kolkata, India, graduated from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) he has been related to M-80 Radio and the famous comedians "Gomaespuma". Qazi is the first indian to be nominated to Spanish Film Awards for Best Original Music for the film "El Próximo Oriente". He is the founder- director of the prestigious Imagineindia International Film Festival in Madrid, now on it,s 21th edition. He has been jury at many festivals like Warsaw, Barcelona (3 editions), Calcutta and is curator of festivals like Macta Women,s Film Festival, Rain International Nature Film Festival or Turkish Film Festival Madrid and Asian Film Festival Barcelona.