Vigeo Cannonball Run 2016: Xi'nan, Nanshan, Sankeng, Liuhe, Datang Running 96 km for the Northernmost Trip
In 2009, the director enjoyed an unforgettable self-driving tour in northwest Guangdong, China. He revisited the same sites with his college roommate in 2016, meditating on the ideas of people, places, and serendipity. Narrated in colloquial Cantonese, this personal road film operates on a topography of memories, reconstructing and retelling the travellers' youth as well as the hidden histories of the Pearl River Delta region.
Guillaume SUON's mother always refused to speak about her childhood during the Cambodian genocide. Seeking to understand her experiences, Guillaume and his brother began to film Antoine, a photographer and a grandson of Armenian genocide survivors, following him to the Middle East to photograph the ghosts of his ancestors. Antoine’s journey in turn paved the way for the brothers’ quest back to Cambodia—with their mother.
Every morning, hundreds of cows are herded to a landfill site in Indonesia, relying on human food waste for sustenance. They eat, nap, play, mate, even spending the night here, while having to keep themselves safe from the excavators and bulldozers that plough around the site. No matter how different their life experiences are, all these rubbish-eating cows will share the same destiny under the butcher’s knife.
In 2016, a group of performers from Clowns Without Borders, including the director’s own sister, traveled to the Greek island of Lesbos to bring laughter to the waves of refugees crossing the sea to escape from war. They were greeted instead with closed gates, witnessing firsthand the effects of the European Union's new refugee policies. The director joined them on their journey, which gradually became a reflection on the sisters’ own tale of displacement during the Lebanese Civil War.
A lone stranger broadcasts fragments of life he has experienced from different time and space, hoping to make a connection and communicate with other beings of life. Like a time capsule, this film contains artefacts of the first Filipinos, a family, a political upheaval, and the existence / non-existence of God, in an interactive and very obtrusive form rarely seen in conventional Filipino documentaries. Scan the QR Codes before and after the film for more hidden messages!
The year was 2011: In Wukan, a village in Guangdong, China, corrupted officials had illegally sold the villagers’ land, and the villagers decided to fight back. From the outset of the protest, first-time documentary filmmaker Jill LI embedded herself in the community of Wukan for several years. She chronicled the complex experiences of three key figures in the movement, examining an unprecedented experiment in grassroots democracy and its fallout.
For over 50 years, a civil war has been waged between the Shan people, the largest ethnic minority group in Burma, and the Burmese military. Jai Sang Lod, a young stateless Shan man living in the disputed borderlands between Burma and Northern Thailand, reluctantly submits himself to become a soldier for the Shan State Army. Trained to fight for Shan sovereignty as a lifetime duty, he yearns for a piece of identification and a steady living.
This experimental documentary opens with a family anecdote: When coming across my grandmother’s painting in a random Chinese restaurant in the States, my aunt burst into tears. Using this anecdote as its axis, the film wanders through Cold War constructions, Taiwan–United States relations, generations of diaspora, family romances and ghost stories, while my family’s personal and collective memories are transformed into another tale of 'the Flying Dutchman', doomed to sail the oceans forevermore.
Immobile in a forever-outdated house, where the sands of time fall to the rhythm of rural Azerbaijani sounds, a mother waits for her son. When he arrives, their conversations circle around existential questions and news from afar, troubling and cryptic. Unrest cloaks the world outside. Mother and son grow closer, and renewed life springs between them.
Nine-year-old Ayana is determined to become the first girl player in the history of kok-boru, a traditional Central Asian horseback game of warriors. Despite obstacles along the way, support from her family helps Ayana to believe in herself and live her dream.
Light and shadow interweave into diverse culturescapes. They are together and apart, in war and in peace, intimate but also alienated. Whilst you stand on the viewpoint of an island, don't forget to cast a caring eye on the lesser known territories (including the extraterrestrial!). Ideas of Asia and Asian perspectives gradually emerge amongst the 761 submissions this year, and each of the 15 selected titles shines like a hidden gem.