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MAIN AWARD 2019

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Genesis 2.0
 
Christian Frei and Maxim Arbugaev
Switzerland / 2018 / 1:53:00

On the remote New Siberian Islands in the Arctic Ocean, hunters are searching for the tusks of extinct mammoths. There is a gold rush fever in the air. The price for white gold has never been so high. The thawing permafrost not only releases precious ivory. The tusk hunters find a surprisingly well-preserved mammoth carcass. Such finds are magnets for high-tech genetic scientists. They want to bring the extinct woolly mammoth back to life à la “Jurassic Park”. Resurrecting the mammoth is a first manifestation of the next great technological revolution. Man becomes Creator. Genesis two point zero.


 

Jury Statement:

"Genesis 2.0" presents us paralleled and interwoven dystopias. The film’s well-structured arguments and intimate footages provide us groundbreaking information and dimensions of it, not only as skeptical speculation towards near future after this new paradigm shift of genetic science, but also revealing –in a pace of thawing permafrost– the ones we’re living in. On one side is human’s newest ability of Creation “to complete” or even exceed “God’s work”, but on the other hand, some of them are still succumbed to the oppressive system created centuries ago, though they are in the same circle of scientific and archaeological achievement of this mammoth carcass discovery in New Siberian Islands.


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SPECIAL MENTIONS

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A Moon for My Father
 
Manila Akbari and Douglas White
Great Britain / 2019 / 1:25:00

Mania Akbari collaborates with British sculptor Douglas White to coin a tender fusion of langauge, where a meeting of cinema and sculpture investigates the processes of physical and psychological destruction and renewal. Begun a matter of weeks after first meeting, the film charts a deepening artistic and personal relationship exploring the nature of skin, family, death, water, desire and, throughout, a powerful will to form. Akbari looks into the connection between her body and the political history of Iran, investigating the relationship between her own physical traumas and the collective political memory of her birthplace. As she undergoes surgeries on a body decimated by cancer, remembrance and reconstruction provide a framework for investigating how bodies are traumatised, censored and politicized, and yet ultimately remain a site of possibility.


 

Jury Statment:

A proof that a documentary can represent more than only one content, both film-makers (who contribute themselves as subjects to their masterpiece) travelling from one to the other communicating by their footage significant enough to engage our attention, political turmoil in Iran, archeologist discoveries, elements from quite personal experiences, finally to lead us to their main dilemma, overcoming a womanhood threatened by cancer surgeries and interventions. The film offers a very touching overwhelming experience reminding us the values of humanity.





Almost Nothing
 
Anna De Manincor / Zimmerfrei
Italy, France, Belgium / 2018 / 1:17:00


When we think about science often we focus on the big discoveries: the Higgs Boson! Gravitational waves! Sometimes maybe we forget about what happens in between: there’s a bunch of people doing the systematic work. At the border between Switzerland and France there's a citadel called CERN, a global community of thousands of people working together towards a common objective. How can they work for years - sometimes decades - as a unique and enormous brainpower? What are they looking for ?


 

Jury Statements:

The filmmaker discovers inside the huge corporate scientific institut a friendly working space, a culture of organisation, which invits their members to let interact their different capacities and potentials. Beside of their high qualifications, the scientists are presented as poets, video artists and song writers, and maybe also their work motivations are grounded here, their hidden talents can stimulate their great discoveries.






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SIGNS AWARD

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The Signs Award for Documentary honours films, which express in a surprising way sensible and perturbing aspects of reality
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Srbenka
 
Nebojša Slijepčević
Croatia / 2018 / 1:12:00

During the winter of 1991, Croatia defended itself against the military aggression of neighbouring Serbia. Among the innocent victims of this conflict was Aleksandra Zec, a teenager of Serbian origin, who was hatefully lynched in Zagreb. A generation later, while in Croatian schools, Serbian pupils continue to be taken for the “enemies” of yesterday, Oliver Frljić adapts “the Zec affair” at the theatre, with Nina, a Serbian, born in 2001, in the title role. In front of Nebojša Slijepčević’s camera, the troupe’s rehearsals turn into collective psychotherapy, interspersed by shots of an empty stage haunted by personal accounts that build up in voiceover. Through skilful metatheatre that involves both the troupe’s acting and sense of self as they work on their own memories, distanced by the theatrical device, Srbenka delineates a public space likely to break the cycle of vengeance. Slijepčević’s film also constitutes a powerful reflection on one of the possible functions of art: to dry out, metre by metre, the cesspool of hatred fed by the entrepreneurs of ethnic cleansing who continue to act today.


 

Jury Statement:

‘Srbenka’ brought us together with the anxiety between the truths and the conceitedness among different groups of people. Following sensitive ethnicity concerns, the film shows the current situation where people have become embittered through time, the trajectory of the division was seen throughout the film. We as an audience observe the layered stories in the form of a documentary yet full of conducting and staging. Witnessing the rehearsal of a theatre play which allows us to see the process of how we position and see each other through the act of performing. We become an observer but at the same time it leaves us in judgement.


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SIGNS AWARD SPECIAL MENTIONS

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To the Living
À l'usage des vivants
Pauline Fonsny
Belgium / 2019 / 0:26: 46

In 1998, Semira Adamu, a 20 year-old, so-called “illegal”, Nigerian immigrant on Belgian soil, was smothered to death by a police cushion as they attempted to evict her. 20 years later, in a combined female war cry, two women tell her story. Through their tales, they highlight the reality of detention centers intended for migrant people, the conditions of such imprisonment, the suffering of detainees, the abuse of guards and policemen.


 


Jury Statement:

To be in one of the countless places where stories cry out to be heard, the film visualises the case and reveals the story that marks the history of humanity towards the asylum seeker. The film subtly arranges the bitterness and lets us witness the existence of the border that we have created.






Amelina
 
Rubén Guzmán
Argentina / 2018 / 0:25:30


Amelina "Coca" San Martín grew up in a remote Patagonian location inside the volcanic caldera of an extinct supervolcano, rich in archaeological and paleontological remains. Her humble life passes by amidst her world-famous archaeological collection, her cats, her fish and her beloved "choikes" (rheas).

 


Jury Statement:

We are blessed with this charming women whose mystical way of life merges with the intriguing landscape. Her footprints lead us to a space where curiosities gather. Thousands of years of history that lies within the environment embedded in the mountains, rivers and endless lands, the film captures these amazing scenes without any form of direct verbal account or stories. We as an audience together have an intense feeling of yearning and the wish to search for the history that lies within the terrain.


Director Statement:

Thank you so much for the very good news! I am very glad and pleased you showed "amelina" in Signes de Nuit. To me, Singes offers a great opportunity to spread art films to a vast audience. In the case of "Amelina", it gives audiences the chance to "meet" a wonderful and humble person, lost in the Patagonian landscape.



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NIGHT AWARD

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The Night Award for Documentary honours films, which represent reality in an ambivalent and enigmatic way, avoiding stereotypes of representation and simple conclusions
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By the Name of Tania
 
Mary Jimenez and Bénédicte Liénad
Belgium (Peru) / 2019 / 1:25:00

Based upon real testimonies, this hybrid film tells the story of Tania, a teenage girl who is forced into prostitution in the gold mining regions of Peru.



 

Jury Statement:

Though based upon real testimonies, but instead of presenting them as a straightforward social-awareness documentary, certain experiences of these women forced into prostitution are reshaped into a sensitive and, arguably, mythical storytelling. Emphasized by lucid voice narration and dreamlike cinematography, "By the Name of Tania" does their fates justice, not only by revealing what’s happening in these dark corners of Peruvian gold mining regions, but also presenting us with complexity how inhumanity exploits and distorts their minds, selves, and existence after the trauma.


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NIGHT AWARD SPECIAL MENTIONS

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The Sleepers
Los Durmientes
Alejandro Ramírez Collado
Mexico / 2018 / 00:20:35

 

In a shelter on the southern border of Mexico, Central American migrants recover their strength to continue their journey to the United States.


 

Jury Statement:

With a compact length, slightly over 20 minutes, "Los Durmientes" powerfully reveals us another invisible wall which the world doesn’t know much about: Mexican southern border. Filmed in a shelter, where Central American migrants refresh themselves before continuing their journey to USA, with interviews and observation that embody lives and dreams, the filmmaker also challenges us with a profound argument about border walls and how their systems are ambiguous enough to work in alliance to keep pushing yet persuading people to come across, and creates this banal nightmare we have just seen.







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MAIN AWARD

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A Dream of Spring
 
Shih Han Tsao
Taiwan / 2017 / 00:21:49

In 1949, the Chinese Civil War forced many teenagers to flee to Taiwan with the nationalist KMT. They never returned home and many of the men never got married. Today, the veterans' tragic stories fade into silence as each of them passes away, one by one.

 

Jury Statement:

In the mere 21 minutes of time and a simple slice of life, the film manages to talk about the history of Taiwan, the specific condition the history has created and people and the society that live under the condition, as well as the universal need of human being. The film may deal with a topic of politics and sex, but the director succeeded to make the film far beyond the sensational nature of the topic and, with gentle eyes on the protagonists, turn it into a touching human drama.


Director Statement:

Thanks for the jury and International Festival Signs of the Night. I'm glad to get the main award in the short film section. My film "A Dream Of Spring" is about a veteran who face the loneliness and death, after the war. They were forced to leave family in the civil war, and I hope their story will not be forgoten too easily



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SPECIAL MENTIONS

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Fauve
 
Jeremy Comte
Canada / 2018 / 0:16:0



Set in a surface mine, two boys sink into a seemingly innocent power game with Mother Nature as the sole observer.

 

Jury Statement:

A psychological-thriller evoking anxiety, doubts and hope for survival. Two young (and naughty) boys play games that expanding into a very tragic moment. Seeking revenge as main motivation let appear a children game as an example of "personal politics", reflects on and squeeze global political conflicts and crime scenes to a minimized level.





Umbra
 
Florian Fischer and Johannes Krell
Germany / 2019 / 0:20:00

The film deals with rare and common optical phenomena that occur in nature. These phenomena evoke familiar images such as shadows or reflections on a water surface; but also unusual ones like the “Brocken spectre” or the pinhole effect during a solar eclipse. These ancient and natural projections can be considered as pre-cultural and independent of any apparatus. They occurred even before mankind and are united by their intangible, ephemeral presence. In their immateriality and fragility, they are precursors of the cinema image. UMBRA develops a visual dialogue between phenomenon and apparatus, archetype and image, self and self-perception.



 

Jury Statement:

For its stunning conflation and transformation of a series of conceptual recordings of a solar eclipse into a haunting meditation on the tenacity of illumination as it gloriously struggles against an overwhelming scale of darkness, Umbra is given a Special Mention for the Main Award at the Festival Signes De Nuit in Bangkok.






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SIGNS AWARD

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The Signs Award honours films, which treat an important subject in an original and convincing way
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Patision Avenue
Leoforos Patision
Thanasis Neofotistos
Greece / 2018 / 00:12:49

On her way to audition for a role as Shakespeare's Viola, Yannis's mum discovers that her son has been left home alone. Through a series of phone calls, she fights to balance the most important roles of her life, whilst walking in the most controversial area of Athens, Patision Avenue.

 


Jury Statement:

A compelling drama of everyday struggles of a single mother is packed into this roller-coaster of a long-take, voyeuristic prowl with a hand-held camera. Enhancing the documentary touch and using precise cinematic manipulation, the filmmaker succeeded to make every move of our heroine lead the audience to an uncertain world.


Director Statement :

This film is a letter to my mother and all the mothers out there, and I am so thrilled that it communicated with the audience of Bangkok! I am honored and happy to receive the Signs Award!




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SPECIAL MENTIONS FOR THE SIGNS AWARD

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Viral Kids
 
Arjanmar Rebeta
Phillipines / 2019 / 0:18:08



Viral Kids is about the trending stories of five different street children who have their own past and dreams but being hindered and utilized by an unknown force behind the online scheme.

 

Jury Statement:

Resilient kids living in a challenging condition is a topic that has attracted so many filmmakers and has made into countless dramas, successfully or not so successfully. This film deals with it focusing on the current phenomena of the use of Social Network by kids in the Philippines as a new way of earning living that may or may not be used again by exploiters. Looking so robust and alive, the kids in the film leave a hope in the audience that they will eventually beat the exploiters and find a way to be independent.


Director Statement :

Children need protection. They are one of the weakest parts of our society. They are prone to abuse and manipulation. The Philippine legislation is proposing to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 9 or 12 years old. We are opposing this as it will put
children in danger. With the "SPECIAL MENTION for the SIGNS AWARD" given to our short film “VIRAL KIDS”, we are grateful as this would call more attention from people to protect the rights of the children. We are happy that our humble short film would give impact to the life of the “little” voiceless population.

#ChildrenNotCriminals#NoToLoweringMACR




The Source
La Source
William S. Touito
France / 2018 / 00:17:10

In a popular neighborhood in the Paris suburbs, hours and days following an attack committed in Paris by Brahim, a young man from the hood. His family and friends are shocked and wonder...




 

Jury Statement:

“Family members of an alleged terrorist” is an extremely sensitive and difficult subject and this film has managed to condense and expand it in a short span of time: we see the social condition that created the incident, the effect and consequence of the incident, and the precarious future of the community and beyond that the incident is bringing, while maintaining a tension from the beginning to the end.

 


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NIGHT AWARD

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The Night Award honours films, which are able to balance ambiguity and complexity characterised by enigmatic mysteriousness and subtleness, which keeps mind and consideration moving
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Realms
Valtakunnat
Patrik Söderlund
Finland / 2019 / 0:20:28

A voyage through time, evolution and the kingdoms of life towards the natural destruction wrought upon the planet by the human species. Exploring geological epochs and kingdoms of life, Realms voyages through deep time from the primeval ocean to a post-human future. The film employs visual storytelling, seeking to replace the anthropocentric worldview with greater attention to the complex interrelationships and dependencies between organisms, and between animate and inanimate nature.







 


Jury Statement:

A conventional narrative form of a live-action movie treated uniquely with experimental and documentary techniques, the film manages to evoke eerie feelings in viewers about the world they were not and will not able to see.


Director Statement:

The film embodiment different cinematic styles approaching no matter what genres or styles, taking our attention to different levels and enlighten us by its finale. Experimental, documentary, live-action and conventional narratives stabilise constantly their paradigms, and simultanely open up for individually interpretations. In an experimental perspective, the movie maintain experimental, but the spectators also can focus on formalisms, or the non-dialogue narrative introducing us to an apocalyptic post human environment.





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SPECIAL MENTIONS FOR THE NIGHT AWARD

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Meteorite
Meteorito
Mauricio Sáenz
Mexico / 2018 / 00:14:56


Bird men suffer mysterious falls in the search for where the sun rises. An altered reality through rites that converge in one objective: die to generate life.


 


Jury Statement:

Beginning as a nondescript trek down a winding mountain road, a march of a quartet of Bird men quietly escalates, alternately descending then ascending into mythical heights. Meteorito is given a Special Mention for the Night Awart at the Festival Signes De Nuit in Bangkok for deftly and organically intertwining installation, landscape, and ritual in a relentless choreography that distills the cyclical dance of life and death as it is violently inspired by the movement of a natural celestial phenomenon.



Director Statement:

I feel flattered to receive this special mention and therefore feel happy that the jury consiDerek my film interesting. I think my film does embodies mystery and ambiguity as two of its most important elements. With this I try keep the narrative and actions compelling and let the viewer witness something extraordinary and at the same time make them feel a new kind of sensation and embrace a new concept.




Heaven-Hell
 
Dirk de Bruy
Australia / 2018 / 0:22:24



A technological diary/found footage film scribed somewhere between outer and inner space. What future does technology extend our vision into? An incredible journey inside and outside our flesh. An apparition proclaimed by Walter Cronkite, America's benevolent voice of authority that colonized the 20th Century. Thoughts caught between heaven and hell. Within these technological shifts our bodies atrophy into lumps of meat, tended and seared.


 


Jury Statement:

An delightful entertainment of menace, deviding our perception in selective fields on the screen, each demanding dominance. On the right side we see medical anatomy footage as heart surgery and eye-ball operation, documenting inner body functions and activities, extracts of the infamous TV show in the Sixties entitled "The 21st Century", on the left side outbrakes in the cosmic space in interference with an delirious off voice narration, maybe leading us nearer to heaven, as the film title suggest. Both of these dimension are overpassing daily life perceptions, but inspire creativity and various innovations.






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EDWARD SNOWDEN AWARD


The Edward Snowden Award honuors films, which offer sensible (mostly) unknown informations, facts and phenomenons of eminent importance, for which the festival wishes a wide proliferation in the future
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Swatted
 
Ismaël Chandoutis
France / 2018 / 00:19:59



Online players talk about their difficulties in escaping "swatting", a cyber-harassment phenomenon that is sometimes fatal and threatens them whenever they play. The action takes shape through youtube videos and wireframe images from a video game.

 

Jury Statement:

A topic of an almost unbelievable and unreal game of cyber cave dwellers, in which unsuspected online gamers are tricked using a fake 911 call, is revealed to the audience using a design that evokes an unbelievable an unreal atmosphere of the online gaming world. The artist’s effort resulted in the effective wakeup call for all those who are busy immersing themselves in the unreal world.




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JURY AWARD - FOR THE INGENIOUS USE OF MEDIA

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String Figure of Time
 
Kieko Ikehata
Japan / 2018 / 0:13:30

This work shows the photos of four generations of women: The director herself, and her grandmother, mother, and daughter. Contained in one household's album were the memories of women from many generations - women who have passed, women who were newly born, women who became adults, and women who grew to become old. The times they lived were different, yet they were all someone's daughter and someone's mother. When we take and connect these moments that they share, the concept of time unravels, and takes on a new shape. These stories do not belong to anyone, yet they were all mine at the same time.

 

Jury Statement:

String Figure of Time is given a Jury Award for Ingenious Use of Media for its sensitive and unembellished use of the uniqueness of the cinematic medium as repositories and markers of memory and gendered history. String Figure of Time delicately locates and whispers the cycling of the roles and corresponding obligations of women, as mothers and daughters, across generations.



Director Statement :

Thank you very much to the judges! It is a great honor, and will be encouraging for my future work production! I used my childhood video (taken by my mother) and my daughter's video(taken by me) to make works. My own birth to a daughter also makes more sense in making works. In this work, my mother, me and my daughter are mixed. It does not matter which person's memory is. Rather, I want you to feel some kind of joy and awe in continuing endlessly while mixing. Then, as a motivation for the work, I wanted to have my grandmother meet my daughter  (the grandmother died before met my daughter). If I could change the time axis in the album, would my grandmother and my daughter meet? I made this while thinking vaguely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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