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Cinematografica documentary ‘Aswang’ premieres at IDFA 2019

Another great cinematografica film screens on the international film festival circuit in 2019.

Aswang Cinematografica documentary Aswang premieres at IDFA 2019
‘Aswang’ premiere 21/11/2019 at IDFA

‘Aswang’ is directed by Alyx Ayn Arumpac and produced by Armi Rae S. Cacanindin. The film follows people who are caught up in Duterte’s drug war in the Philippines and explores the fate of individuals and families affected by the killings. Alyx Ayn Arumpac offers a unique perspective into the collective mind of a society torn between democracy, a totalitarian president and wide spread corruption.

One of the participants, a missionary brother, attended the premiere. He explained that before Duterte there were “one, perhaps two killings a week”. This rose to “seven or more killings a night.” Finally he adds chillingly: “The only night over the last two years with no killings, was on the 21st of December. The Christmas holiday of the National Police.”

Director Alyx and a participant in the film, a Filipino missionary brother, attended the premiere.

At the time of writing the film was already sold out for three of its five IDFA screenings. You can get tickets for the last two remaining screenings here.

How Cordova kids get out of Trouble

In 2019 we went back to Cebu to visit friends and family. We discovered the Albert Schweitzer Familienwerk Foundation in Cordova and decided to make a documentary about the orphanage.

It would be great if you can support our project here: https://www.voordekunst.nl/projecten/9564-how-cordova-kids-get-out-of-trouble-1

30/12/2019

I am happy to add another 500 Euros to the campaign on behalf of friends and family in Germany. Thank you! We have now reached 86% of the campaign, please keep sharing so that we make the full amount by the end of next week.

Here an update from our orphans on December 13/12/2019

Meet the orphans here:

The project also made headlines in the local press here in Breda:

Screenshot 2019 12 03 at 17.04.16 1024x680 How Cordova kids get out of Trouble

“2019 is the best programme ever,” says IDFA’s artistic director Orwa Nyrabia

by Fritz Kohle from the IDFA press conference in Amsterdam, 23/10/2019

%name 2019 is the best programme ever, says IDFAs artistic director Orwa Nyrabia
Orwa Nyrabia highlights the tribute to D.A. Pennebaker.

Orwa Nyrabia and his IDFA team of programmers

Orwa Nyrabia is not someone who likes to brag about his accomplishments. To the contrary. He comes across as a modest festival director with a passion for documentary filmmaking. The journalists at the press conference were not rattled by his claim that this year might be the ‘best programme ever’ because Orwa made that claim towards the end of his presentation. By then we were all suitably impressed by what IDFA has on offer this year. The IDFA team put together an outstanding programme and I for one, can’t wait to attend the festival.

320 films from 75 countries, 14 Bertha fund films.

The IDFA team selected 320 films and media projects from 75 countries for IDFA screens across Amsterdam this year. Few films are single country productions – a true reflection of the globally networked nature of documentary production today.

55% are European productions though fewer films were submitted from Eastern Europe. Orwa speculates that this may be because of ‘the stronger influence of conservative and right-wing governments’ in Eastern Europe which are less supportive of documentary filmmaking.

14 films received finance from the IDFA Bertha Fund. The fund “supports independent, critical, and artistic voices from Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe (IBF regions) with the aim of stimulating and empowering the creative documentary sector in these regions.” The 14 films in the IDFA programme are a testament to the success of the Bertha Fund.

64% of world premiere films made by women

This year 64% of films are made by women, something Orwa is proud of. At the same time Orwa and his team highlight that programmers ‘did not select films to ensure gender equality’. According to Orwa ‘this is something that is happening out there. Women are just making more documentaries. And they are very successful at it’. IDFA might very well be one of the few events where gender equality shines. Overall 55% of all IDFA films are produced or directed by women.

IDFA is the largest documentary festival with more than 3500 professional guests

IDFA is the global event where documentary filmmakers meet, discuss, pitch and screen their work. Orwa’s eyes shine when he talks about the number of guests IDFA has invited this year. The goal is to tailor the IDFA forum more flexibly to meet the needs of every single project specifically. Professionals from around the world will debate the state of documentary production at the IDFA Forum. Enthusiasts claim that documentary films have entered a ‘new golden era’, though critics point out that many documentary productions continue to struggle.

Special Highlights in 2019

Direct Cinema pioneer D.A. Pennebaker passed away this year and is survived by his wife Chris Hegedus. Their achievements are celebrated with a tribute to Pennebaker’s and Hegedus’ work.

The lifetime achievement award goes to Jørgen Leth. His film ‘I Walk’ features in the feature-length documentary competition.

The guest of honour this year is Chilean director Patricio Guzmàn. The filmmaker will join IDFA cinemas for discussion and the festival honoured him with a retrospective of his work.

IDFA Doclab, immersive VR documentaries and more ….

As usual, IDFA has more than just film screenings on offer. The IDFA Doclab continues to break new ground with exhibitions, live cinema events, interactive conferences, the IDFA DocLab R&D programme, Doclab Forum and Academy.

Immersive (VR, AR) and interactive documentaries feature strongly. IDFA is one of the few events that continues to engage with filmmakers and artists to push technological boundaries and present content in new and unusual ways.

The opening film: Sunless Shadows

We only previewed a minute or so of ‘Sunless Shadows‘ by Mehrdad Oskouei. His film is about ‘life in an Iranian juvenile detention centre where a group of adolescent girls serve their sentence for murdering a male member of the family’. But that minute was enough for me to get teary-eyed already. Watch it! If you can still get tickets …
You can view the feature-length competition programme here.

sunlessshadowsopening 300x225 2019 is the best programme ever, says IDFAs artistic director Orwa Nyrabia
Director Mehrdad Oskouei managed to get access to an Iranian juvenile prison to film ‘Sunless Shadows’

Filipino films at IDFA

Filipino documentary filmmaking features at IDFA almost every year. The Manila-based filmmaking collective ‘Cinematografica’ screens their film ‘Aswang‘. The term Aswang describes witches, vampires, ghosts and werewolves in Filipino. These evil spirits feature heavily in myths and popular films. But according to the filmmakers, ‘since President Rodrigo Duterte took office, they have been appearing in real life on the streets of Manila.’

aswang 300x225 2019 is the best programme ever, says IDFAs artistic director Orwa Nyrabia
‘Aswang’ is directed by Alyx Ayn Arumpac and produced by Armi Rae S. Cacanindin for Cinematografica films.

All in all, IDFA promises to deliver what the artistic director has promised: 2019 might very well turn out to be the ‘best-ever’ IDFA programme.

Cebu Street Children

This year we went back to Cebu to visit friends and find out how Cebu has changed since our last visit in 2012.

During our visit, we learned about the Albert Schweitzer Foundation in Cebu, Mactan, Cordova. The foundation looks after orphaned children.

We visited the orphanage and decided to sponsor two children through High School. If you would like to help, email me at fritz@fritzkohle.com for details.

AFFS Cebu Street Children

Arleen and I with ASFF orphans
(and their favourite cat) in Mactan.

Frankenstein! Well scary – but European!

Today Dave came to visit me in Bournemouth. We reckon that Mary Shelley was a proper European. She wrote a novel with a monster in it created by a German scientist with a well scary German name: Frankenstein! When her husband Percy drowned in Italy his heart was brought back to Mary and is now buried with her. We think Mary and Percy would have hated #Brexit.

mary 1024x784 Frankenstein! Well scary   but European!
mary1 1024x575 Frankenstein! Well scary   but European!

Aaaaand – Action!

Steinkjer is not exactly a bustling metropolis in Noway. But it is beautiful. Except maybe the huge chicken feed containers in the port area. And then there is Nord University. Every year the school organises the “& Action” conference and this time I was invited to speak on the topic of ‘Impact Producing in Documentary Filmmaking’.

I was impressed by the quality of questions from students, staff and visitors to the conference. Staff and students were welcoming, I was well looked after, the atmosphere was easy going and enjoyable. I feel honoured to have been part of a programme that featured speakers like John Thomson and Lara Acaster. I am glad I had the time to make this trip. And I hope I will find the time for another journey to Steinkjer.

wednesday 10th april schedule 1024x724 Aaaaand   Action!
thursday 11th april schedule 1024x724 Aaaaand   Action!
action 1024x575 Aaaaand   Action!

greg3 1024x576 Aaaaand   Action!
hill 1024x829 Aaaaand   Action!