DEBUT COMPETITION 2021

The debut competition is online!

From April 28 to May 16, viewers have the opportunity to watch the films of the debut program on our website, rate them and choose a winner. Here you may go and watch films.

We will also hold a series of zoom conferences with film authors. Schedule.

April 28 – May 16, online at festival site


NOW I AM DEAD (watch)

Isabel Bredenbröker, Philipp Bergmann

Germany, 2018, 24’

Now I am Dead (2018) takes an unexpected turn which transforms the narrative from meta-critical docufiction into an immersive tale. Anthropologist Isabel Bredenbröker and director Philipp Bergmann had planned to explore the status quo of the ethnographic encounter through the lens of Isabel’s research on death in a Ghanaian town. Shortly after their arrival in Ghana, in the midst of filming, Isabel’s grandfather dies in Germany. Baffled by the coincidence, in between assisting an undertaker, visiting the morgue, attending funerals and inspecting cemeteries, she asks for advice. How to react to the death of a far-away family member whilst shooting a film on death in West Africa? Help comes from friends and collaborators: an undertaker, a neighbor, a research assistant and friend, a priest. A second narrative streak in which the grandfather is commemorated in town develops alongside other death-related events, such as the picking up of a soul or the dressing and treatment of dead bodies. The perspective of the foreign visitor is tragicomically inverted and incorporated into a local perspective. The distinction between the other culture and one’s own gets blurred, just as the threshold between life and death can be experienced in a playful way.

Isabel Bredenbröker is a researcher and art practitioner based in Berlin. She completed a PhD in anthropology at Goethe University Frankfurt in 2020 and currently holds a lecturer position there. Isabel’s work looks at issues around materiality, death, West Africa, the ethnographic encounter, political economy, cleanliness, and public space. She works with film as an ethnographic and artistic medium and co-organized the a-disciplinary platform K who facilitate encounters and exchange outside the academy. 

Philipp Bergmann (DE) works as a director in the genres of musical theatre productions, performance and video. His works address the narration and representation of cultural heritage. He is part of the directorial team of Shedhalle Zurich.


TCHOUA-TCHOUA, SURVIVAL STRATEGY (watch)

Robi Layio

Cameroon – Norway, 2018, 25’

Tchoua-tchoua – transaction, in Hausa language: to Fend yourself. Portrait of Ali Moulla Koufaïni in his activities at the dry fish market, as head of the family and as youth leader in the locality of Blangoua, on Lake Chad. Metaphor for the resilience of young people to the security crisis caused by Boko Haram.

Robi Layio is a Youth and Action Counselor graduated at the National Institute of Youth and Sports of Cameroon, and a PhD candidate in Visual Anthropology at the University of Maroua. In his works, he is interested in border culture and young people in cross-border dynamics, the citizenships and trans-citizenships in the Lake Chad micro-region. He has already made 3 ethnographic films including: Back To Roots (2018), Tchoua-tchoua, Survival Strategy (2018), and When a River becomes a Border (2020).


OUGN SA: EATEN BY FIRE (watch)

César Colmant

Vietnam Belgium Spain, 2020, 30’

Ougn Sa: Eaten by Fire is an ethnographic film by César Colmant. Indigenous populations of the Vietnamese Highlands are facing the radical shrinking of their agricultural land in the current capitalistic era and are consequentially relying on other sources of income. The film follows members of a transnational family dispersed between France and Vietnam in their attempt to secure livelihood and strive in the context of the fast pace development of Vietnam. Adopting the point of view of a distant family member, the filmmaker questions the role that transmigrants play in supporting their kin at home and the unexpected relationships which connect them transnationally.

César Colmant is a humanitarian aid worker and a Filmmaker from Brussels. César majored in Political Sciences and Law (undergrad.) before working as a field coordinator with migrants in Serbia. He founded the fundraising NGO La Route des Défis in 2016 which supports ground-based initiative throughout Europe. Ougn Sa: Eaten by Fire is his first ethnographic film.


VILLAGE IN THE SKY (watch)

Ramesh Laxmanrao Holbole

India, 2018, 20’

Being at the epicenter of a drought prone region, the village of Aagaswadi is located in Satara District on the hills of Mann Maharashtra India. Owing to ever occurring drought followed by lack of livelihood options, the village’s youth is forced to abandon home for city life, leaving behind the old and children. With neither sufficient drinking water nor irrigation facilities, out of desperation, Bhimrao digs a well to quench his own as well as his farm’s thirst. This documentary portrays the people of Aagaswadi and their confrontation with drought and other adversities, as well as relations affected by it.

Ramesh Holbole is Pune based filmmaker. He has done Masters in Direction and Screenplay writing from Film & Television Institute of India, in 2020. Before coming to film school he studied Marathi literature from Fergusson College, Pune. Involved in many cultural and social activities he is the director of Pimpri Chinchwad international short film festival. For his film he got various International and National awards. Such as he won the Mana Wairoa Prize, Best Indigenous Director at Whakapapa Film Festival, Italy, 2019. His film Aagaswadi (Village In the Sky) won the Best International Short documentary award at Sole Luna Doc Film Festival Italy, Paul Călinescu Award for Best Documentary Film at 22nd CineMAiubit International student film festival Romania. His film got selected almost 30 international film festival all over the world. Presently Ramesh is working on making his first feature length documentary film on famous Indian photographer Sudharak Olwe’s life and journey.


DJEBBA’S CABARET (watch)

Magouo Tainon Ghislaine

Cameroon, 2020, 29’

Djebba’s cabaret is the portrait of a young brewer of bilbil (Traditional millet beer). Djebba is a young woman who has trained as a teacher but has been unable to find work for 5 years. To survive in a big city like Ngaoundéré (Cameroon), she brews and sells millet beer so that she can support herself. Despite the low profit of the brewing profession, she has won the loyalty of a large number of customers with whom she shares very familiar relationships. Djebba’s business allows her to live on a daily basis but she still hopes that one day she will finally be able to work as a teacher.

Magouo Tainon Ghislaine is a visual anthropology student at the University of Ngaoundéré. She holds a master’s degree and has directed two films: Vengsøya: to stay or to leave and Cabaret de Djebba.


THE BOSS (watch)

Mehdi Balamissa

Morocco, 2019, 11’

At dawn, while the neighborhood is still asleep, a few people are quietly entering a mysterious, busy lighted place. Inside, a man is cooking the bread dough prepared by his son. This duo of men then fills crates with warm bread, which, a third man known as the boss, regularly comes to pick up so as to deliver the bread in town, using his bicycle. At dawn, this trio of craftsmen are spreading their humble production throughout the city and its homes.

Mehdi Balamissa is a French and Moroccan documentary filmmaker fascinated about the evolution of the Moroccan society.


SCRAP IS OUR FUTURE (watch)

Pierre Lankissa Tizi

Cameroon, 2020, 35’

Scrap is our future is a film made about teenage garbage collectors in Ngaoundéré, a city in northern Cameroon. This film tells an intimate story of Dembélé an orphan, which since the death of his mother in 2015, has become responsible for his own life. His life is set in the streets with other youths collecting scrap. Dirty, sleeping in a left-behind bus wreck, addicted to various drugs, they belong to a growing but highly stigmatized group of youths in Ngaoundéré. Reflecting over life Dembélé says It is crap that is our future.

Lankissa Tizi Pierre is a Ph.D. candidate in visual anthropology enrolled at the university. He is a Viscam Project Fellow and is the author of two films, the first one made in Norway and the second one in Cameroon.


EIGHTEEN (watch)

Maria Colomer Canyelles, Dafne Lechuga Maroto, Laura D’Angeli

Italy Denmark, 2020, 26’

Diciotto (Eighteen) is the story of Ansou Fall, a Senegalese boy who, after turning 18, faces several challenges as an unaccompanied migrant minor in Italy. In conversation with his legal tutor, this film reflects on Ansou’s everyday struggles, dreams and the urgent issue of his right to stay.

Maria Colomer has worked as a producer, assistant director and screenwriter in several documentary film companies. She currently works at The Why Foundation as the producer of the documentary series Why Stories.

Laura D’Angeli has worked as a video editor and film reviewer. She is currently working both as a film programmer at the Cineteca in Bologna and as a video producer for a Danish start-up.

Dafne Lechuga Maroto has worked as a videographer, editor and multimedia content creator. She has previously collaborated for the documentary festival CPH: DOX, and currently continues her education on film and photography.


UNWRITTEN LETTERS (watch)

Max Bloching, Abd Alrahman Dukmak

Germany, 2020, 59’

I want to see my film in this film, says Abd to Max. Abd is a 24 years old Syrian, who took part in the early days of the 2011 revolution and now lives in Padova, Italy. Together with his German friend Max he is working on a film called Unwritten Letters. As they are exploring how to turn Abd´s reality in Italy into a film, Abd is revisiting his past and diving into possible futures. Unwritten Letters documents the story of a young Syrian man arriving to Europe and his process to make sense of who he is through film and friendship.

Abd Alrahman Dukmak (b. 1993) was raised in Damascus and moved to Beirut to study TV and film. While being in college, Abd has been working as a script writer and director for several short films. His most recent short Shimmer was screened at Beirut International Film Festival and Dubai International Film Festival. Abd is currently studying Multimedia Arts at IUAV University of Venice.

Max Bloching (b. 1994) grew up in Southern Bavaria, Germany. He has been working as assistant director, double bass player and sound recordist. Max holds a BA in Social Anthropology from The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London and is currently studying an MA in Artist Film and Moving Image at Goldsmiths University of London.


MY THE GUEST WORKER’S SUMMER (watch)

Zuloliddin Rasulov

Tajikistan, 2020, 5’

The film about migrants who do not live themselves for the sake of providing for their families.

Zuloliddin Rasulov is a student of a technical university. He worked as an assistant director. Passionate about cinema.


THEN COMES THE EVENING (watch)

Maja Novaković

Serbia – Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2019, 28’

In the lush pastoral hills of Eastern Bosnia, two old women share a solitude. The care they have for each other is not composed of words, but rather their daily conduct. They are in a conversation with the land, welcoming the voices of nature, and the songs of a memory that is dying out.

Maja Novaković holds a Master’s degree in Art History and is working on Ph.D. with a registered thesis Poetics of heritage in the works of Sergei Parajanov. She works as a research assistant at the Mathematical Institute of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Then comes the evening is her directorial debut.


TALKING WITH THE ANCESTORS. PART 1: INTRODUCTION (watch)

This film is a search for answers to questions that involuntarily envelop you at the first contact with the Karakol valley, at the first conversation in a village, at the first Altai word, to which you find it difficult to find an equivalent in Russian.
In the first part – we hitchhike from village to village and talk about the role of the ancestor in the life of the Altai, about the meaning of the concept of sооk, about the influence of the Soviet era and immutable rules that are diligently adapting to the 21st century.

Filming was carried out during the expedition of students of the Department of Ethnology of the Faculty of History of Moscow State University to the Karakol Valley (Altai Republic)

Alina Zherdeva was born in Orenburg in 1995; graduate of the Department of Modern and Contemporary History of European and American Countries, Faculty of History, Moscow State University; author and photographer of the project about Moscow; senior editor of the TASS news agency.

Katya Larkina was born in Moscow in 1995; graduate of the Department of Ethnology, Faculty of History, Moscow State University.


SEVEN ON EARTH – NINE IN HEAVEN. PEOPLE AND MUSIC OF MEGHALAYA (watch)

This film is a study of the Khasi people’s musical culture, both traditional, preserved in the villages, and urban, which absorbed many influences of Western rock music. Special attention is paid to historical changes, to the fusion culture, combining musical styles and approaches, introducing the pentatonic system into the modern Western scale. Film explores musical instruments common among Khasis today, as well as categories of musical culture and performances. Through music, we understand the Khasis’ myths and beliefs, their etiquette, customs and values. The biographies of legendary musicians of Meghalaya, such as Lou Majaw, who glorified Shillong far beyond India, as well as stories of hereditary musicians, dohalia, are narrated. The place and role of music in the daily life of Khasis, a number of rare Khasi songs and melodies, recorded by the author, a unique phenomenon of “name-melodies” that exists exclusively in several Meghalaya’s villages are explored. The film is based on ethnographic materials collected by Svetlana Ryzhakova during her fieldwork in Meghalaya, India, in 2011, 2016 and 2019.

Svetlana Ryzhakova, Dr., PhD. hist., ethnographer, leading researcher at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, member of the Indian Anthropological Society, as well as a performer of Indian classical dance; see more: www.svetlanaryzhakova.com. Since the late 1990s, she has been conducting field ethnographic research in various areas of India, with a focus on artistic culture, artistic communities, theater, music, dance and rituals.This is the first ethnographic film completed by Svetlana Ryzhakova.

Elena Kruglova, Candidate of Medical Sciences, traveler, host of the website www.indoman-info.ru, author of several cinematic works dedicated to India.


NORMAL (watch)

Petr Nuska

Czech Republic, 2020, 7’

Am I normal? Various forms of this question accompany us throughout our lives. If we don’t fit into the ‘normal’ box, the world reminds us to conform. But no matter how hard we try, there always seems to be a bit missing – or sticking out from the box. What to do then? Should we keep up our endless quest for normality, or is it better to accept that life doesn’t have to be normal? Czech singer-songwriter (and the filmmaker’s alter ego) Petr Vořešák searches for answers to these fundamental human questions in a short music documentary based on a collaborative audio-visual experiment. People from around the world reveal a unique take on what normality means to them – from the perspective of their feet. The result of two years collecting these poetic contributions is a music film – but by no means a normal one.

Petr Nuska is a visual ethnomusicologist and ethnographic filmmaker. His passion for capturing music straddles music documentaries and music videos, both guided by commitment to innovation in pursuit of underexplored perspectives on music. Since 2011, he has been involved in projects worldwide in the fields of documentary and ethnographic film, educational and activist videos, and production of music videos with independent musicians. Results of this work have been screened at various international film festivals. He is currently producing a feature-length documentary film Blood, Sweat and Tearful Music (for premiere in November 2021), which emerges from his visual-ethnomusicology PhD research.

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