The 27th Warsaw International Film Festival held last October 7-16, 2011 marked the first time that NETPAC participated in the festival. NETPAC jury members included JEFFREY JETURIAN, filmmaker from the PHilippines who was appointed head jury, AMAIA TORRECILLA OLASOLO, from Spain, director and co-founder of the Barcelona Asian Film Festival, and KONRAD WAGROWSKI, from Poland, a film critic and journalist, specializing in popular culture.
Though the festival opened on the 7th of October, the jury started with their chores on the 10th and finished viewing all 15 films lined up in their section on the 14th, after which, they sat down to deliberate on their selection.By night's end of the 14th, the jury have reached a consensus, after weighing all the considerations vis-a-vis the NETPAC rules.
The jury viewed the following films:
FAREWELL LONELINESS, Huai-Syuan Jhuang (Director),Taiwan, 2011 A LETTER TO MOMO, Hiroyuki Okiura (Director), Japan, 2011 HANAAN, Ruslan Pak (Director), South Korea and Uzbekistan, 2011 HAUNTERS, Min-suk Kim (Director), South Korea, 2010 BLOWFISH, Chi Yuarn Lee (Director), Taiwan, 2011 POLICEMAN, Nadav Lapid (Director), Israel, 2011 GAYUMA: PILGRIM LOVERS, Alvin Yapan (Director), Philippines, 2011 LOSING INNOCENCE IN ALMA-ATA, Zhanna Issabayeva(Director),Kazakhstan,2011 QARANTINA, Oday Rasheed (Director), Iraq and Germany, 2011 NO. 89 SHIMEN ROAD, Haolun Shu (Director), Hongkong and Netherlands, 2011 THREE AND A HALF, Naghi Nemati (Director), Iran, 2011 BEING MITSUKO, Kenji Yamauchi (Director), Japan, 2011 A SKY TOO FAR TO SEE, Enomoto Orio (Director), Japan, 2011 CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF MAHJONG, Donald Li (Director), China, 2011 THE BENGALI DETECTIVE, Philip Cox (Director), UK, India and USA, 2011
From among the selection, about a third of the films figured in the deliberations, among them, A Letter To Momo, Hanaan, The Bengali Detective, Policeman, Qarantina and No. 89 Shimen Road. In the end, the jury chose to give the award to No. 89 Shimen Road, directed by Haolun Shu for its poignant depiction of the struggles of a country confronted by a new order and how this change has rendered their "old world" a mere speck of a memory for its people. No. 89 Shimen Road is the story of Shaoli, a young boy from Shanghai who turns 16 in the summer of 1989, the year of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Shaoli's life revolves around his one-room apartment in a beautiful brick house in a picturesque neighborhood, which he shares with his grandfather. His best friend, who is a few years older than him, slowly drifts away from him as she gets lured by the new opportunities which come as China opens up to foreign goods and businessmen. The 1989 events force Shaoli to grow up and to let go of his teenage dreams.
It is interesting to note that in the screenings that the jury attended, the theaters were generally full, indicative of the western audience's growing interest in Asian films and of the Asian films' growing impact in world cinema. The awarding ceremonies on October 15 was a simple but elegant affair. Director Haolun Shu was present to personally receive the beautiful NETPAC trophy handed out onstage by jury member Amaia Torrecilla Olasolo.
Festival Report by Jeffrey Jeturian