Far-reaching, resonating subjects pulled from various corners of the world.
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Documentary Shorts program
Varun Chopra | 24 mins | India, USA | Hindi, Gujarati
In small-town India, a teenage boy and his friends set off on a quest to become saviours of the holy cow.
Holy Cowboys offers a fascinating, disconcerting look at Indian youth indoctrinated as bovine vigilantes. This observational documentary from Sundance Institute alumnus Varun Chopra goes deep into a world of bigotry and division, where a genuine love for animals and a naive sense of righteousness are weaponised.
Pegah Ahangarani | 16 mins | Iran, Czech Republic | Farsi
A powerful act of collective cultural memory, Pegah Ahangarani’s short mixes archival footage, stills and recollections to summon the ghosts of the Iranian Revolution.
The personal becomes the political in actor/director Pegah Ahangarani’s evocative and beautifully crafted documentary, which successfully threads personal photographs, videos and recollections to build a portrait of a family, a national revolution and the spectres of history.
Rayka Zehtabchi, Shaandiin Tome | 22 mins | USA | English
In this stunning, stigma-breaking reclamation of Indigenous culture, a girl and her community prepare for her Ihuk, the once-dormant coming-of-age ceremony of the Karuk tribes of Northern California.
Long Line of Ladies offers a glimpse at a Karuk girl’s coming-of-age ceremony, as seen through a distinctly female gaze. This gorgeously cinematic docu-fiction hybrid from Oscar-winning Iranian director Rayka Zehtabchi and Diné filmmaker Shaandiin Tome takes us inside a community that celebrates and uplifts its young women so they feel seen and respected, while pushing back against the erosion of culture at the hands of colonisation
Masako Tsumura, Erik Shirai | 14 mins | Japan | Japanese
After the sudden and devastating loss of his wife during a tsunami, a Japanese man confronts his grief by learning how to scuba-dive.
Alternately heartbreaking and hopeful, this visually immersive work unflinchingly confronts the fallout from unimaginable grief, plunging its character into the murky depths of the sea and pitting him against the life-changing power of nature to both rupture and heal.
Mohammadreza Farzad | 15 mins | Iran, Poland, Germany | Farsi
A haunting, poetic study of life, love and the mysteries of time comprised of super-8 home movies from Iran.
An eerie, sometimes unsettling essay film inspired by a short story of the same title by Gregory Burnham and the novel Autoportrait by Édouard Levé, filmmaker and poet Mohammadreza Farzad’s existential meditation is pieced together from 8mm home-movie footage from various Iranian people. The effect is transfixing, inviting the audience to commune with a collective portrait that transcends time.
Shuli Huang | 20 mins | China | Wu Chinese
Winner of Cannes’ Short Film Queer Palm, this tender, ethereal essay follows a young Chinese filmmaker returning home in search of love and acceptance.
Shot with evocative detail on super-8 film, this intimate, autobiographical docu-fiction hybrid follows filmmaker Shuli Huang, who also narrates, as he returns to his hometown in search of himself. Will You Look at Me is a reckoning with his past as a queer youth in China and explores his complex relationship with his mother.
Sue Ford | 8 mins | Australia | English
A silent exploration of the beauty of unadorned human faces and the identities they express.
In collaboration with her son Ben, Sue Ford revisits her seminal 1976 short Faces and the same faces within. Shot similarly, each face lingered on for 25 seconds, this updated work not only encourages us to gaze at the people looking at us but also to contemplate the passage of time: how it changes us and what about us inherently stays the same.
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