International Festival Signs of the Night - Bangkok



 

18th International Festival Signs of the Night - Bangkok (6th Edition) - July 23-26, 2020
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MAIN AWARD


Monsieur Pigeon

Antonio Prata
Switzerland / 2019 / 0:56:21

INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE


Giuseppe lives in his van in the heart of Paris and has long since stopped communicating with his fellow men. His time, his physical space as well as his mental space are dedicated to the birds that inhabit the cities, abused animals that the old man defends and feeds, suffering threats and attacks.

 


 


Jury Declaration:


"Monsieur Pigeon" enhances the viewers memories and experiences (in particular Mary Poppin´s bird woman evoking the graceful virtue of Saint Francis of Assisi) of daily street scenes in large cities all over the globe. Antonio Prata´s achievement is more as only projecting images on screen. He shines out a human touch and fathoms our attitudes towards peoples we cross in the public spaces. The film´s view on Giuseppe, the "Monsieur Pigeon", contributes the same acknowledgement to him as he himself offers to the pigeons and the other birds. Prata let us see a man who proves a self-made discreet discipline of an ornithologist, thus becoming equivalent to an academic scholar. Bystanders may recognise Giuseppe only as a homeless person, but Prata introduces him as somebody with an uncommon family background who demands nothing from society but happiness, to which he contributes by feeding the birds.


Director Statement:

Giuseppe struggles and resists, every day, for two things that are crucial in every man’s life: Love and Justice. I believe in people like him, people that have the courage to step out to offer a different perspective. Different, and yet universal. My thanks go to the Festival, the Public and the Jury for believing with me, even if it was just for a few minutes.





SIGNS AWARD

The Signs Award for Documentary honours films, which express in a surprising and sensitive way the perturbing aspects of reality



Hi A.I.

Isa Willinger
Germany / 2019 / 1:27:00

THAILAND PREMIERE


The robots are at our doorstep. Scientists as well as tech-visionaries are certain that in a few years robots will be an integral part of our everyday life. But humanoid robots are more than just another gadget. Bearing a resemblance to living creatures in their conduct and looks, they are more like new beings on our planet. We are the Robots, shows robots interacting with humans in everyday-environments already today. What will we gain from this new technology? And what will we lose?

 


Jury Declaration:

How should we perceive robots? The answer is an ongoing arguments between philosophers. Hi, A.I. guides us through contemporary mostly-unseen developments which leaves plenty of audiences in awe. Already fascinating yet incomplete, the film observes and witnesses these advanced robots with emotion: love, care, humour, sexy, uncanny or even scary, persuading outsiders to experience them (second-handedly) through series of relating mundane activities. How would Tezuka Ozamu’s world of robots look like? That’s the question.


Director Statement:

"Hi, AI" shows whatever the future holds for us is most likely ambivalent. I’m grateful to my protagonists to let us observe them and their robots so we get an idea of the many questions we need to be asking
.




SPECIAL MENTION FOR THE SIGNS AWARD

The Signs Award for Documentary honours films, which express in a surprising and sensitive way the perturbing aspects of reality



We Have Boots

Evans Chan
Hong Kong / 2020 / 2:09:00

ASIA PREMIERE



The Umbrella Movement of 2014, also known as the Occupy Movement, paved the way for Hong Kong's current upheavals, but unfolded in significantly different ways. This creative documentary focuses on the intellectual, political, and discursive underpinnings of the social and political actions of 2014, before fast-forwarding to 2019. A range of thoughtful and engaged intellectuals, students, scholars, activists, and artists including Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man, Ray Wong, and Agnes Chow (many of whom are facing imprisonment for their democratic activism) articulate a range of philosophies, viewpoints and emotions, set against Hong Kong's spectacular urban background of skyscrapers, night lights, and street-occupying mass movements. In the 1990s, director Evans Chan was a trailblazer making influential experimental narrative features in Hong Kong. His recent work sets incisive, revelatory interviews in a provocative and fascinating artistic context combining music, art, and poetry. Bracing intellectual history, Hong Kong style: engaged, vibrant, artful, and powerfully moving.

 


Jury Declaration:

Political struggles of the Umbrella Movement is still far from its closure. We Have Boots documented and elaborates the movement’s timeline and impact upon those who joined including its leaders, with such clarification of informative facts about the core problems in modern-day Hong Kong for outsiders who have only heard about it vaguely. Sharp selection of footages, especially the last 30 minutes, highlights the overall situation of Hong Kongers standing against China through police brutality, with enhanced quality of real-life horror.



Director Statement:

It is an honor for We Have Boots to have received A SPECIAL MENTION for the SIGNS AWARD FOR DOCUMENTARIES at Bangkok's International Signes de nuit Film Festival.

" We Have Boot"s is about the democratic struggles in the former British colony between 2014 and 2019. As it turns out, what the film has ended up documenting was the turbulent prelude to the new era of the National Security Law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong, starting on July 1, 2020. As of today, almost a month after the enactment of the new law, two protagonists featured in my film --- legal scholar Benny Tai, and Legislator-cum-social work professor Shiu Kar-chun -- have both lost their university teaching positions even before the conclusion of their legal appeals against the criminal convictions for their roles in the peaceful 2014 Occupy/Umbrella Movement. The two universities' rush to disciplinary action has gravely imperiled academic freedom and procedural justice. I have made this film in order to bring attention to the situation in Hong Kong, which brings to the fore the question for many concerned observers -- whether China can rise peacefully and generously as a responsible power on the global stage by respecting some basic rights of its own people. For me, the biggest prize and consolation would be for We Have Boots to have made a tiny step in that direction.
---- Evans Chan (July 28, 2020)

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NIGHT AWARD

The Night Award for Documentary honours films, which represent reality in an ambivalent and enigmatic way, avoiding stereotypes of representation and simple conclusions

Watching the Pain of Others

Chloé Galibert-Laîn
France / 2019 / 0:31:30

THAILAND PREMIERE


In this deeply personal video diary, a young researcher tries to make sense of her fascination for the film "The Pain of Others" by Penny Lane. A deep dive into the discomforting world of YouTube and online conspiracies, that challenges traditional notions of what documentary cinema is, or should be.


 


Jury Declaration:

"Watching the Pain of Others" offers an expanding horizon of cinema experience, an unique documentary reflecting the audience´ viewpoints. By her admiration and aspiration of a perceived documentary, Chloé Galibert-Laîne continues it thus by becoming the new subject of her artful masterpiece, Her documentary now proves that the after life of a movie is so impressively real by the lively perceptions and following contributions of a devoted spectator looking to adept and identify. Galibert-Laîne film represents a new "whole in one" dimension of documentary. She offers a response to another achievement and an information about a specific subject (the Mergellons disease) by simultaneity revealing the process of the investigation and the making of her own documentary as also of the works of her inspiring source, the film-maker Penny Lane, all this condensed in only 31 minutes.





EDWARD SNOWDEN AWARD

The Edward Snowden Award honors films, which offer sensitive (mostly) unknown informations, facts and phenomenons of eminent importance, for which the festival wishes a wide proliferation in the future.



Amazonian Cosmos

Daniel Schweizer
Switzerland / 2020 / 01:27:00

INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE


Two tribes of Amazon Indians accept an invitation from foreign NGOs to travel to the land of the Whites to defend their rights. Their journey reverses the usual perspective of ethnography as they turn their gaze on our world, offering a shamanic critique of capitalism.


 


Jury Declaration:


Focusing on an Amazonian Indian’s effort to save Amazonian communities and forests, the film introduces us to rare and unseen documentation of native peoples’ lives. Its successful formula is to make two layers of contrast: the first layer between small (local communities, homeless people and buskers, etc.) and big (national election, UN, Vatican, etc.) and the second layer between the first layer and something even bigger: cosmos. With this structure and by featuring attractive and sympathetic characters, the film manages to make us engage in the cause of the protagonist, which is the main objective of the project.



SPECIAL JURY AWARD



The Music of Things

Menios Carayannis
Greece / 2020 / 1:30:00

INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE


Three people completely focused and dedicated to what they do. A musician, a carpenter, and a photographer invite us to their world and reveal the most sensitive aspects of their work. In the absence of words, images and sounds obtain a different meaning, while music becomes an offspring of togetherness. The flm takes us on a journey with no destination, to a haven of details where the universe hives in.



 


Jury Declaration:


The film takes on a bold mission to focus on and describe daily lives of three people: a sound artist that collects sounds from our everyday surroundings, a furniture maker that makes everyday furniture and a photographer that takes photos of small living things around us. This is highly difficult thing to do as the subjects are so subtle and there is no drama, no climax, and no flamboyant character throughout. The film succeeded to keep the attention of the audience through maintaining the overall tone as well as color tone and sound tone.


Director Statement:

Making"The Music of Things" I wanted to communicate beyond words. I often realize that things unsaid are more important than what we can express with words. There is a space where things reveal themselves clearly. In this documentary I tried to show that space, where we all somehow meet and music emerges. It makes me happy when people appreciate and see and hear the music of things.