MERRY CHRISTMAS, YIWU

Even though China does not cel­e­brate Christ­mas, there are over 600 Christ­mas-dec­o­ra­tion fac­to­ries in Yiwu, China. They are often run as a family busi­ness and man­u­fac­ture year round, employ­ing people from across the coun­try. This obser­va­tion­al doc­u­men­tary focus­es on sev­er­al of them, locat­ed in and around Yiwu. There are no high-tech machines, just people work­ing really hard putting glit­ter on baubles, pom poms on Christ­mas hats and assem­bling Father Christmases.
The camera trails the work­ers at the fac­to­ry and else­where – their con­ver­sa­tions, love issues, a game of pool, shop­ping and eating, and the calls home, far away from Yiwu’s pros­per­i­ty. People joke about child labour in China, com­plain about the heat, but basi­cal­ly every­one seems to accept this arti­fi­cial, sur­re­al soci­ety where your col­leagues are your new family and the fac­to­ry is home. A por­trait with­out voice-over of a place cre­at­ed where com­mu­nism and glob­al­ism inter­sect and trans­form one anoth­er. (IFFRot­ter­dam)

Best Doc­u­men­tary, Sara­je­vo Film Fes­ti­val 2020

Mladen Kovače­vić, born 1979. Ser­bian film­mak­er and founder of Horopter Film Pro­duc­tion. He stud­ied fic­tion film­mak­ing in London and Cape Town, but ded­i­cat­ed him­self to doc­u­men­taries in past years. His films UNPLUGGED (2013, about a musi­cal tra­di­tion of blow­ing on tree leaves) and WALL OF DEATH, AND ALL THAT (2016, about a nomadic fair­ground artist) were multi-award­ed in fes­ti­vals as Hot­Docs, CPH:DOX, FID­Mar­seille, DOK Leipzig. The essay­is­tic por­trait of a moun­taineer 4 YEARS IN 10 MINUTES (2018) received the Spe­cial Men­tion at Visions du Réel, Grand Prix at Bel­docs and was fea­tured at IDFA Best of Fests. Eurodoc alumni, his fourth film MERRY CHRISTMAS, YIWU was made in copro­duc­tion with ARTE and Doha Film Institute.

Direc­tor: Mladen Kovačević
Cin­e­matog­ra­phy: Marko Milovanović
Edit­ing: Jelena Maksimović
Com­pos­er: Olof Dreijer
Sound­de­sign: Patrik Strömdahl
Pro­duc­tion: Horopter Film Production
Dis­tri­b­u­tion: Deck­ert Dis­tri­b­u­tion, Hanne Bier­mann info@deckert-distribution.com

SHOWER POWER

Fünf Jahre lang kämpft die Bürg­erini­tia­tive DoucheFLUX dafür, ein Gebäude zu finden, zu finanzieren und zu sanieren, wo die am meis­ten Benachteiligten der Stadt sich duschen und wo sie ärztliche Hilfe bekom­men können; kurz: wo ihnen ihre Würde zurück­gegeben wird. Kon­fron­tiert mit der poli­tis­chen Real­ität der Stadt, entwick­elt sich ihr Unter­fan­gen zu einem wahren Thriller. Das Selb­st­bild­nis der Stad­to­beren will nicht, dass die Armut in der Bevölkerung im Alltag sicht­bar wird. Zum Ende aber obsiegt die Zivil­courage über Brüs­sel­er Bürokratie und Phan­tasie über poli­tis­che Blockaden.

Effi Weiss, born 1971, Amir Boren­stein, born 1969, both in Israel. They meet each other study­ing art in Jerusalem, then con­tin­u­ing at Sand­berg Insti­tute, Ams­ter­dam, where they receive their MFA. Since 1998 they col­lab­o­rate on inter­dis­ci­pli­nary works with video, pho­tog­ra­phy, instal­la­tion, per­for­mance and often par­tic­i­pa­to­ry projects. After DEUX FOIS LE MEME FLEUVE (2013), SOUS LA DOUCHE, LE CIEL is their second fea­ture doc­u­men­tary. In 2020 they mean­while released the docu-fic­tion CHANCE. www.effiandamir.net

Direc­tor, script, cin­e­matog­ra­phy: Effi Weiss, Amir Borenstein
Edit­ing: Simon Arazi, Effi & Amir
Sound: Fab­rice Osinski;
Pro­duc­tion: Centre Vidéo de Brux­elles (CVB), La chose à trois jambes
Dis­tri­b­u­tion: Philippe Cotte, CVB philippe.cotte@cvb.be

I am Golden Karen

Even when I close my eyes, I can hardly remem­ber what my vil­lage looks like, but I carry the beauty of Karen state in my mind for­ev­er.” Some say the fight of the Karen people against the Myan­mar gov­ern­ment is the oldest ongo­ing war of our time. One of its results is the over 400,000 Karen refugees many of whom have fled to the neigh­bour­ing coun­try of Thai­land, where they live as second class cit­i­zens, strug­gling for proper doc­u­ments. I AM GOLDEN KAREN tells the story of Thaawa, a young rapper who is part of a gen­er­a­tion of Karen who have spent a great part of their lives in Thai­land but who long to return home to their moth­er­land, Karen state, in south­ern Myan­mar. We follow Thaawa as he nego­ti­ates his iden­ti­ty as a young migrant arriv­ing in Bangkok to becom­ing a father who ques­tions his respon­si­bil­i­ties towards his family and the Karen people.

Faire-Part

On the eve of the post­poned Con­golese elec­tions, two Con­golese and two Bel­gian cineasts are col­lab­o­rat­ing on a film about Kin­shasa and its resis­tance against the lega­cies of colo­nial­ism. The four film­mak­ers want to tell a story togeth­er, but because they have grown up on oppo­site sides of his­to­ry, they have dif­fer­ent views about how to tell that story. How should it look like? Who should be in it? Who are they making it for?
FAIRE-PART is the story of these four film­mak­ers’ search for an ade­quate way to por­tray the city. By focus­ing on film­ing artis­tic-polit­i­cal per­for­mances in public spaces, they paint a provoca­tive pic­ture of Kin­shasa and its rela­tions with the rest of the world.

Fatwa

Brahim Nad­hour, a Tunisian who has been living in France since he and his wife sep­a­rat­ed, returns to Tunis to bury his son, Marouane, who died in a motor­cy­cle acci­dent. He dis­cov­ers that the young man had been active in a rad­i­cal Islamist group and decides to find the rea­sons for his rad­i­cal­iza­tion and to iden­ti­fy the people who indoc­tri­nat­ed him. In the course of his inves­ti­ga­tion, he begins to doubt the cir­cum­stances of his son’s death.
Brahim’s mis­sion reveals a glimpse of Tunisian soci­ety today. In the neigh­bor­hood where he used to live, he meets many lib­er­al-minded people who are nonethe­less very care­ful when they answer his ques­tions, out of fear of per­se­cu­tion. His ex-wife, a sec­u­lar intel­lec­tu­al and esteemed author, lives in fear of attacks during public appear­ances. The film clev­er­ly plays with the form of the detec­tive story and was pro­duced with a high level of authen­tic­i­ty and many ama­teur actors, cre­at­ing a sim­i­lar feel­ing as the films by the Dar­d­enne broth­ers, who also co-pro­duced it.