Centrul Astra Film

 

 

Astra Film Festival

Film catalogue

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  • S.O.S. Sighisoara - Romania

    A call to save one of the oldest and architecturally most beautiful of Romanian towns which is in danger of imminent ruin. ...

  • Saint George Give us Strenght

    Saint George is one of the greatest holi­days for the Gypsies living in the town of Kyustendil. Based on the stories told by the elders and with the help of young "in­tellectuals" the community is trying to re­store the forgotten tradition. Everyday life is hard for them, but during the celebration the rapture and happiness particular to the Gypsy spirit will prevail. ...

  • Sasha

    The painful, dramatic years of changes. In Uzupis, a small nook of Vilnius, the name of which is already well known in the world. "The last bastion of Romanticism" - the pictorial place favoured by poets, artists, and photographs, "Montmartre of Vilnius" is becoming the outpost of aggressive pragmatism - in the eyes of indigene Sasha, and Laurynas, an Uzupis "Gavroche". The object of the film is a fragile and retreating world, still fluttering in the open palm of the banner of the U?upis Republic. In the centre of the film - the theme of home. The home that rises, the home that falls. ...

  • SchoolScapes

    Inspired by the cinema of Lumiere and the ideas of the 20th century Indian thinker Krishnamurti, David MacDougall this time explores a famous progressive school in South India, the Rishi Valley School. This is a film dedicated to the simple act of looking, in which each scene is a single shot. ...

  • Schweighofer Effect

    The documentary shows a multistakeholder insight into the consequences of wood-cutting and processing activities in the Reci locality, Covasna county, performed by Austrian company Hozindustrie Schweighofer. ...

  • Scorched Water

    The Axolotl is a fascinating creature for a number of reasons, including its grotesque appearance, its ability to regenerate, and primarily the fact that it exhibits the phenomenon known as neoteny, meaning that it retains characters of the larval stage all through its adult life. It lives in the lakes surrounding Mexico City and is believed to be imortal. In the film, Axolotl a.k.a the Mexican walking fish, becomes a metaphor for Mexico City itself, in an essayistic inquiry into survival and adaptation. ''Beginning with a collection of impressions and quotes about the Axolotl, it´s the film itself that goes through metamorphosis: The places, the people, the protagonists, the atmosphere, everything goes through gradual change. I am interested in documentary filmmaking as a process, where the outcome is at first unpredictable, undefined.'' (Alexander Hick) ...

  • Scream in the Ear-Drum

    An unconventional chronicle of the Romanian avant-garde between 1916 and 1947. This video tries to revive the spirit of this age. The texts used are quotations from avant-garde manifestos and magazines. ...

  • Scream of the Stone

    At Potosí, just like everywhere else, mining gives birth to local traditions and a specific way of life. This occupation engenders legends, myths and superstitions. Yet this „touristy" façade often hides the sufferance of the people working here. This is the only job they know from generations, thus they are condemned to mining for life. ...

  • Screening Room - Jean Rouch

    In the 1970s, Gardner produced and hosted Screening Room, a series of more than one hundred 90 minute programs on independent and experimental filmmaking. The series, considered an invaluable historical record of modern cinema. At AFF 2006, you can see the interviews with Jean Rouch, Ricky Leacock, Alan Lomax, and Peter Huton. Jean Rouch appeared on Screening Room in July 1980 and screened Les Maitres Fous as well as several film excerpts including Rhythm of Work and Death of a Priest. Over a period of five decades Jean Rouch made many films about the Songhay and Dogon of West Africa. He also made, with Edgar Morin, the classic documentary, Chronicle of a Summer about the lives of Parisians. ...

  • Searching for Sugar Man

    ...

  • Second Life

    A documentary about youngsters, and about their passion for computer games, which re-designs the way they spend their time, their perception of aggressiveness, and eventually their view of the world. Morricone, Bill Gates and Tarantino have arrived in a small village in Hungary. Can life be so surrealistic? Yes, it can, when virtual worlds where zou can load up real characters are at hand. ...

  • Seguir Siendo

    A cultural statement about the Mbya-Guarani Indian communities from Misiones, a subtropical province in Northeast Argentina, and their struggle for identity. Dwelling at the edge of the "white world", a world more powerful than theirs in some ways, they use the strength of their spiritual life to survive. ...

  • Selectie filme Atelier - Sibiul văzut de liceeni 2014/2015

    ...

  • Self Portait on An Autumn Leaf

    "To paint means to let yourself carried away by an inner drive. This has been painter's Ion Tuculescu artistic faith. The film explores the secret world of he artist, a world full of secrets. His utmost desire has been to be a "primitive", to let himself guided only by his instincts. The film is a story going beyond the artist's easel. ...

  • Sense

    Nowadays, we buy what we need from the supermarket but there are still people who stubbornly refuse to adhere to the consumerist society and who produce what they need using their own hands. These crafted objects are important to them, as well as the craft itself. It is the only way in which these people keep their spirit alive. The film includes several elements that describe the sense of the Romanian space, from tastes to colors, from faces to customs – the pig sacrifice, wood carving or peasant sandals manufacturing. ...

  • Sentenced To Marriage

    Three young married women trapped in religious courts.They can't get a divorce because the court needs their husband's consent in order to grant one. Dependant on their husbands whim, they know not when release will finally come. They are denied other relationships and are condemned to be barren, because a married woman is forbidden to another man. In Israel, a democratic country of the 21st century, their pain and suffering is embedded in the law. Being young and anonymous, their voices are silenced. For two years the film follows the Kafkaesque struggle of Tamara, Michelle and Rachel- three young women doing all that is humanly possible to obtain a divorce, with the help of a group of female orthodox rabbinical advocates. ...

  • Serbian Epics

    This documentary set in Bosnia during the war, Pawlikowski steers clear of the usual cliches of war reporting. He takes on the more anthropological perspective relying not on commentary but on the power of images. Pawlikowski's most original and formally succesful film was "Serbian Epics" which was made at the height of Bosnian war. The oblique, ironic, imagistic at times almost hypnotic study of mith-making and murder made aroused a storm of controversy and incomprehension at the time but has now secured it something of a cult status. ...

  • Seven Dwarfs of Auschwitz, The

    The actor Warwick Davis (”Harry Potter”, ”Life's Too Short”) presents the story of the Ovitz family and their ordeal during World War II - from a successful musical act to being tortuously experimented on by Dr. Josef Mengele in a concentration camp. This story might have been lost to history if it weren't for the family's diminutive size. They were a family of seven Jewish dwarfs living under Nazi rule. What happened when they were discovered reaches beyond the imaginings of even the darkest fairy tale. The troupe of performers became prisoners and, eventually, guinea pigs to the Nazi's "Angel of Death”. Warwick's expedition takes us to Eastern Europe and explores their remarkable, inspirational story of human endurance. ...

  • Seven Stories from Beyond. Ghosts

    For those who know Transylvania and its history it is easy to understand why Bram Stoker chose it as a setting for his story of Dracula. By the middle of the seventeenth century, the Austro-Hungarian Empire sent special envoys to investigate the ever increasing number of cases when locals had dug out dead bodies from the graves and thrust stakes in their hearts. Eventually, some of the bodies were burned. The strange thing about them was that they were perfectly conserved, even if they had been buried for a long time. After hundreds of years, this practice is still alive. People do it to destroy the "Strigoi", the vampires. The author documented many cases of such revenants haunting the living, killing their animals and sucking out their strength. People fight back with means they have inherited from a distant past, before the age of Christendom. This documentary is a search of answers to the eternal questions of life and death, reality and fantasy. ...

  • Shadow Of The Holy Book

    Why are some of the world's biggest international companies translating the Ruhnama, an absurd government propaganda book from Turkmenistan, into their own language? Shadow of the Holy Book exposes the immorality of international companies doing business with the dictatorship of oil-and-gas-rich Turkmenistan, thus helping to hide its human rights and free speech abuses - all in the name of profit and corporate greed. Shadow of the Holy Book investigates the morality of international companies and the dictatorship of oil-and-gas-rich Turkmenistan. These comapnies help give the dictatorship the propaganda support that it needs to survive. Turkmenistan's dictator, Saparmurat Niyazov, has written a ludicrous book: the Ruhnama, the Book of the Soul, a key tool in the government's subjugation of human rights and free speech. Yet many international companies give their clandestine support to the Ruhnama and help suppress the country's voices of opposition and dissidence - in return for multimillion-dollar business deals. ...

  • Shape Of The Moon

    The end of the Suharto regime ushered in an era of rapid sociopolitical change in Indonesia. Shape of the Moon registers those changes on aging matriarch Rumidjah and her family. Rumidjah is a Christian, but her son Bakti converts to Islam to marry a Muslim woman. Shape of the Moon juxtaposes this family drama against the rise of fundamentalist Islam in Indonesia, itself a response to the country's uncertain future. Meanwhile, Rumidjah tires of the chaos of Jakarta and longs to return to her home village. However, she remains devoted to her eleven year-old granddaughter and knows that the countryside holds little promise for younger generations. ...

  • Shepherds of Bernaray

    Bernaray is a small island in the Outer Hebrides from which many family were displaces in the past to make way for sheep. Follows the work of the shepherds over the course of a year, with Gaelic songs and stories, interwoven with interviews. Different presures are now forcing people to move away from the island, and the film raises nthe question of whether it will be able to avoid the fate of neighbouring islands, now used solely for winter grazing of sheep. Documentary tracing the life of the island and its people through the changes of the seasons, concentrating on the sheep and fishing industries of the island. A Scottish indepenedent film made by to Americans, Allen Moore and Jack Shea. ...

  • Shinjuku Boys

    A film about love and gender. This film is set in the New Marilyn night club in Tokyo where all the hosts are women who has decided who live as men. They make their living by working in a club with other ' onnabe' like them. The young women who come there often have relationships with them but the underlying fear is whether such a relationships can withstand the pressures on a girl to get married and have children. ...

  • Shocking Truth

    24-old Lisa has chosen pornography as a theme for her undergraduate university paper. She directs her research towards the porn industry, attempting to analyze both the producers, the real face of porn stars and the consumers that keep the industry working. Her investigation focuses on the destiny of a particular movie star named Cookie, whose experience in the industry of pornographic filmmaking reveals how people like her are subjected to violent, inhuman treatment. In a parallel story, 24-old Mikko, an ex-prostitute, talks about his own experience. The two stories converge in an analysis of what pornography can do to young people, who must live the rest of their lives with scars that never heal. SHOCKING TRUTH is a challenging film that confronts the viewer sometimes by means of extremely violent scenes with the issue of pornography as part of the sexual liberalism in Western societies. This film was first screened for the Swedish and Polish Parliament when they were discussing a law regarding pornography and its negative effects. ...

  • Showroom

    On the 4th of March 2012, the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Bucharest City Hall of Sector 2 organized an event in the park Grădina Icoanei as part of the Days of Orthodoxy. The participants brought icons from home for a public blessing. The camera flows over faces and icons while religious speeches of officials are heard in the background, and captures discretely the intersection between religiousness and cabotinage. ...

  • Sibiu County - The Southern Gate of Transylvania

    Sibiu County, The Southern Gate of Transylvania explores the main tourist attractions and objectives, local traditions and cultural hallmarks that have given Sibiu its own identity and have made it one of the top most appealing destinations in Europe. Sibiu’s impressive Medieval history, great acceptance of diversity and friendly reception for all its visitors make it the destination of many thousands of tourists from all around the globe. ...

  • Sieranevada

    One single day with the Mirică family of Bucharest, who gather in an apartment for the Orthodox ritual of commemoration of the family patriarch 40 days after his death, turns into a chronicle of the family, when the clashes between its members generate a storm that stirs up old wounds, grudges, lbetrayals big and small, revenge and reproof, re-enacting parts of what we call la comédie humaine. Sieranevada is a monumental portrait of a family and a society ripped by a mistrust originating in the history of threat and insecurity, the recollection of which opens the wounds instead of healing them. ...

  • Silence Darkness

    In Poland sculptor-workshop are organised for blind and deaf persons.The film is a psychological study of this people.It shows the joy caused by the act of creating. ...

  • SILENT SNOW

    The white Arctic plains are an eminent example of nature's untouched beauty: an endless nothing in which only few know how to survive. Yet a silent assassin is destroying the Inuit community in Greenland. Chemical residues from all over the world accumulate here invisibly, poisoning the inhabitants. By ocean currents and attached to snow, pesticides like DDT are carried northbound, causing illness and premature death. In Silent Snow, a group of experienced Inuit starts out on a dangerous dog-sledge expedition through their barren land. Interwoven with the polar expedition, the film follows a young Greenlandic woman on her journey around the world to find the local causes of the contamination that is quietly poisoning her people. Her journey takes her to three different continents, where she is confronted with conflicting interests when it comes to short-term gains and healthy solutions for agriculture, industries and health care. ...

  • Singing

    With sharp voices, the women of St. Costantino and St. Paul Albanese sing the most heart-rending songs. These are the ancient vjeshet, handed down from mother to daughter. They tell of the Albanian escape to seek shelter in southern Italy, five centuries ago. But they are also the creative expression of women who, to make light of their work in the fields, "threw" songs from one hill to another, to be "picked up" by the other women. Even today, the vjeshet are not said to be sung but are literally, "thrown", using the verb shtie, whilst to finish a song, one uses the verb mbjedh, to pick up. This happens when one of the voices is picked up by the others, and all then conclude in unison. These songs tell the stories of brave and ironic women, stories of emigrations and returns. They are performed throughout the summer at simple daily meetings between the women, giving expression to the memories, the joys and the bitternesses that mark the life of each of them. As long ago as 1954, the anthropologist Ernesto De Martino organized an expedition to these two villages and recorded the vjeshet. But now, more than 40 years after that expedition, as they themselves relate, with irony, it is the women themselves who make the wider world aware of the their songs by giving concerts throughout Italy, and even as far as Albania and France. ...

  • Singing Pictures: Women Painters of Naya

    For generations, Patua (Chitrakar) communities of West Bengal, India have been painters and singers of stories depicted in scrolls. Scrolls cover a variety of themes: mythological and religious, social and especially women's issues, contemporary local and world news. The more recent themes are communal (Hindu Muslim) harmony, Joy Bangla (the birth of Bangladesh as a country), the battle of Kargil (Kashmir conflicts) and the 9/11 events in New York. In the past singers used to wander from village to village, receiving rice, vegetables and coins for their recital. They would unroll a scroll, a frame at a time, and sing their own compositions. But competition from other media eroded this way of life and now the Patuas are trying to adapt to changing conditions. In response of this cultural crisis and as a means to make extra money, recently a group of women from Naya village near Calcutta form a scroll painters' collaborative. The film follows their daily lives as they paint, sing, cook, tend to their children and meet with the cooperative. ...

  • Singing Pictures: Women Painters of Naya

    For generations, Patua (Chitrakar) communities of West Bengal, India have been painters and singers of stories depicted in scrolls. Scrolls cover a variety of themes: mythological and religious, social and especially women's issues, contemporary local and world news. The more recent themes are communal (Hindu Muslim) harmony, Joy Bangla (the birth of Bangladesh as a country), the battle of Kargil (Kashmir conflicts) and the 9/11 events in New York. In the past singers used to wander from village to village, receiving rice, vegetables and coins for their recital. They would unroll a scroll, a frame at a time, and sing their own compositions. But competition from other media eroded this way of life and now the Patuas are trying to adapt to changing conditions. In response of this cultural crisis and as a means to make extra money, recently a group of women from Naya village near Calcutta form a scroll painters' collaborative. The film follows their daily lives as they paint, sing, cook, tend to their children and meet with the cooperative. ...

  • Sisters In Law

    Six year old Manka has run away from home, fleeing her abusive aunt. Sonita has daringly accused her neighbor of rape. Amina has decided to end her brutal marriage by taking her husband to court. Set in Kumba, a small town in Southwest Cameroon, Sisters in Law follows the work of the female State Counsel and Court President as they try to help women to change their lives. Incredibly moving and at times disturbing, Kim Longinotto's latest film spectacularly encompasses courage, hope, and the possibility of change. Longinotto is known for her insightful, compassionate studies of women's lives, and the pull between tradition and change. ...

  • Sisters Of Lilith

    Three women who live in harmony with nature, in nature, not succumbing to anyone with the force they draw off their labour: a shepherd who lives with her flock in the mountains; a fisher who goes out to the sea everyday although she can’t swim; and a farmer who cares for her home and buys and sells land when she has to... They represent a productive way of life not yet disconnected from nature. This is a song of praise for the strong and productive identity of women told through the stories of three characters. ...

  • SKOLLIALES

    Wild eider ducks come back year after year to the same nesting grounds, areas where they know they are safe from predators. In Dýrafjör?ur, a remote fjord in north-west Iceland, a group of gentlemen dedicate more than two months a year taking care of these ducks. In return they get to keep the valuable eiderdown that the ducks provide for their nests. The duck's main predator is the arctic fox that comes down from the hills and into the fields during the bright arctic nights. The eider farmersare ready to fight the sly fox with old jeeps, guns, home-made poetry, and cakes. Skolliales is the story of eider farmers and neighbours, Valdimar and Zófonías, and their friends. Between the men, the ducks, and the arctic fox there lies a special connection. A relationship that goes beyond love and hatred, a relationship that is based on understanding, respect, and friendship . ...

  • Slack-Time

    2 Mai is a village on the Black Sea coast, close to the Romanian-Bulgarian border. In the last fifteen years, more and more tourists have come here for their summer holidays. The small fishermen's village has turned into a seaside resort. However, few of the tourists who come here for the beach and to have a good time realize that the village has a life of its own, which goes on after they leave. The film focuses on the life of the village community during slack season. ...

  • Sleeping Rough

    Homeless men and women in downtown Hamburg were filmed over a six-month period of ethnographic fieldwork. While homeless are often represented as outcasts of society, this film shows the construction of intricate social networks, with alliances and sanctions, not unlike those of the working and consuming public that occupies Hamburg's central business district during daytime. The camera offers a privileged, often candid view of daily routines and work, as well as leisure time which is spent socializing on a public square equipped with a container for luggage. Intimately, and with sometimes disenchanted frankness the protagonists reflect on the circumstances of their situation between romance and tragedy, past disappointments and future ambitions. ...

  • Slices of Time

    Slice of time is a documentary about two grandmothers who were born during World War I, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed and a new state, Yugoslavia was established. They lived in different cultural and religious regions of Yugoslavia: one in Bosnia (mostly Moslem), and the other in Slovenia (mostly Catholic). The two women never met, yet they are connected through their children and grandchildren. ...

  • Slow Szék

    The village/ town of Szék/Sic - where our film was made is in Transylvania and is situated about 50 km North form Cluj Napoca in a territory called Mezoség. Even in the Middle Ages the settlement had the rank of a town because of its salt mines. It has lost its town rank later int he 19th century when all the mines got empty. The Roman churches, Gothic frescos and architectural monuments are the reminders of its glorious past. Its traditional folkmusic, that served as a basis for the Hungarian folk-dance movement, had its high time during the 1960's, the time when the base of our film was made. At this time not only the folkmusic but other cultural aspects were also vivid. In our film we try to show these from the perspective of three generations. ...

  • Small Town Girl

    Joanne, Charlotte and Sian are not stars, they are anyone. I filmed their lives every few months for five years. I wanted to stay as close as possible to the individuality of their lives, to find a story in their real lives, which I would discover only as I filmed it. I wanted to see how a child grows into a young woman. Three girls; two small towns; England north and west. In 2001 they are twelve, first years at school; in 2005 they are preparing for college. The changes they go through are intense, fascinating and very fast! Away from the bright lights of the big cities, they find their own entertainment, form new friendships and relationships; quarrel, fall out and make up. They live through economic depression, race riots and death. As the film unfolds, their behaviour and their relationships with their parents changes in surprising and sometimes tragic ways. ...

  • Smell the Roses

    In 1971, a group of young people took over an abandoned military area in the middle of Copenhagen. Here, they founded Christiania, an autonomous community based on communal living and freedom. Initially, the authorities were reluctant about the project, but eventually they accepted the existence of this community as a “social experiment”. Over the years, there have been recurrent attempts to close Christiania down, but the community has always managed to survive. Today, urban redevelopment plans threaten their existence once more. This ethnographic film examines issues like community power and personal freedom. Some of the key residents of Christiania are introduced, and their social and political convictions are explored. ...

  • Snatches of Longocampo

    Snatches of Longocampo represents the omnibus collection of the documentary films created during CINEIMPACT International Film Academy, that took place in the region Campulung Muscel in 2016. The CINEIMPACT Film Academy is an international program dedicated to Creative Documentary and Visual Anthropology. The filmmakers that created in the framework of CINEIMPACT program are students or graduates of MA and Phd programs in Film and Visual Anthropology, coming from countries such as Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Hungary, Brasil, Croatia, England, Greece and Romania Omnibus film is dedicated to the fragments of domestic marginality, joys and aspirations through the visual confessions of local characters belonging to a diverse range of social categories. ...

  • SNOW

    A quiet, essay-like journey into the expansive world of the winter sport industry. What happens behind the lifts, the snow cannons and the heated outdoor pools? What happens beyond the tracks in summer and winter? This is a calm observational piece that raises questions without making evaluations. Instead of finger wagging, the film leaves it up to us to contemplate the natural mountain resources that we have appropriated and our responsibility towards them. Impressive, with bold images, silent and inquiring. ...

  • Sobre el Pampano Roto

    Appearing from the mysterious past, in Guayadeque rises the memory of an embarrassing celebration: until today, the only known phallic dance - let's call it that way - on the Canary Islands. We are talking about the Pampano Roto, dance or game of the broken vine leaf. The Pampano Roto, a celebration apparently exclusive of Guayadeque. Something still close, that elder people say they heard about in their childhood or youth to eldest people that, on their turn, said was heard from their parents and grandparents. although there are several versions of the celebration, all of them refer that a woman covered her private parts with yam leaves while men try to drill the leaves with their penis. It's said that the woman usually helped skillfully with her finger to drill the yam leaves when she had chosen the one who would be her husband. ...

  • SOLAR ECLIPSE

    In 2006, Milan and Tomas electrified a school campus and a hospital in a detached Zambian village. After four years, they return for the last time to find out about their system's failures, repair it and hand it over at last. The film follows them through chaotic days as well as pitch black nights and provides a fresh insight into the pitfalls of humanitarian development projects. Short circuits of all sorts, blending and dissolving of different worlds, rituals of gratitude and concepts of solutions. With no attempts to declare or evaluate anything, Solar Eclipse becomes a situation probe examining various forms of light and darkness. Will the two Czech linkboys succeed in lighting up the Zambian bushland? ...

  • Somebody Like Me

    "Somebody Like Me" follows Ngunina, a young Maasai woman who was the first in her village to go to secondary school, after she returns to her family home in Tanzania. As Ngunina tries to share her story with the filmmaker - who was also the American sponsor of Ngunina's education - the complex nature of their relationship is gradually revealed. By attending to the everyday activities of Ngunina and her family, framed by the interactions between filmmaker and subject, this notification video observes those moments of discomfort - and simultaneous efforts toward emphaty - that results when ethnography, "sponsorship", and friendship intersect. ...

  • SOMEONE TO HUM WITH

    This is the story of one night in the lives of five people in Israel. They meet once a week over the airwaves on a national radio show called "Someone to Hum With". They call themselves a family, the "Hummers" family. When speaking with the broadcaster, they open their hearts, then choose a song and hum. No words necessary, just a compassionate melody. We meet them one after the other, deeper and deeper into the night. Seeing them build together a bubble of solidarity to their lonesome night. This is the story of one night in the lives of five people in Israel. They meet once a week over the airwaves on a national radio show called Someone to Hum With. They call themselves a family, the "Hummers" family. When speaking with the broadcaster, they open their hearts, then choose a song and hum. No words necessary, just a compassionate melody. We meet them one after the other, deeper and deeper into the night. Seeing them build together a bubble of solidarity to their lonesome night. ...

  • Songs For a Museum

    Papu Gherase, Papu Giogi, Papu Coli and Papu Miciu, four old men who sing polyphonic music following a centuries-old tradition in their community, go on the road to give concerts and promote their first and only record, meditating humorously on happier days of the past, the daunting present, and the approaching death. A road movie in space and time that, while going forward with the concerts, goes backwards in time through the stories in which the singers reminisce their past and compare it with a very different present, in the light of the final disappearance of their musical tradition along with their own fading-out memory. ...

  • Songs from the Nickel

    Sirens, screams, laughter, singing, bartering: these are the sounds sweeping into the rooms of Downtown Los Angeles' old forgotten hotels. Their inhabitants' stories tell of lives lived on the margins. Some residents stay for a few months. Others have lived there for as long as 40 years. According to Charlie, the desk clerk at the King Edward Hotel, "you can be anything you want; you can do anything you want - and nobody gives a damn!" After all, we're on America's most notorious skid row, also known to old-timers as the Nickel. Director Alina Skrzeszewska also lived in one of the hotels for a year and a half, while shooting SONGS FROM THE NICKEL. The result is a strikingly intimate portrait of people living in this largely invisible community. ...

  • Sonita

    In a hyper-conservative society where creativity, self-expression and self-agency for women are a privilege, Sonita, a gutsy 18-year old Afghan refugee in Iran, finds solace in socially-conscious rap. Tackling the meaning of personhood in the face of poverty and sexism, the film is one of many ethical dilemmas. It is also the perfect context for the young woman to transform her role of subject into that of active participant: she unabashedly stares into the camera, as if at us directly, while making her demands over how and when she is filmed. The documentary is as much a journey for Sonita as it is for the director, who is faced with a choice between her filmmaker-witness status and that of active influence on her protagonist’s world. Uplifting as it is challenging, the documentary is an improbable success story in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. ...

  • Soul

    The Ardia is an ancient, ritualized horse race that takes place at Sedilo in central Sardinia. On sixth and seventh July each year a hundred or so skilled riders race madly in honour of the Saint-Emperor Constantine. Their village's much revered protector and patron the race is led by a pre-established 'forerunner' the prima bandiera. It is considered a great honour to be nominated 'Prima Bandiera'. The aspirant riders have to register their names in an ancient tome sahrded by the parish priest. It can take years to come to the top of the list. Devotion, ability, sangue-froid, daring, courage: these are the requirements needed to participate in the race, summed up in a single sedilese term: "s'animu" (literally: soul) Women and outsiders have never ridden in this race. This ancient ceremony had remained unchanged -and uncontested- until a young sedilese woman presented herself one day at the vicarage and asked the parish priest to put her name down on the list, as a potential Prima Bandiera. He said he would. The village is now asking it self -and especially those men who ride or have ridden the Ardia - whether "females" should now be admitted. ...

  • Spartacus & Cassandra

    The 12 year old Spartacus and his 9 year old sister Cassandra are two Romanian Romani children living on the outskirts of Paris. Director Ioanis Nuguet spent a lot of time with them following them around day by day, several years in a row. He tells us their story at the moment when they are at a crossroad in their life: they have to choose between their parents who live on the streets and Camille, a 21 year old Frenchwoman, a trapeze artist who has decided to take them under her wing and offer them a better life. ...

  • Speed: In Search of Lost Time

    Never before have we worked more efficiently. Never before have we saved time with more sophisticated technologies. But nearly everyone feels they don’t have enough time. It seems that the same technology invented to make our life easier, is now enslaving us. Florian Opitz tries to track down the reasons of our shortage of time and for the constant acceleration of our lives. In his search of lost time he not only questions his own hectic lifestyle, but also visits several people, to find out how they deal with time. The pacemakers of the constant acceleration of society as well as dropouts. He reveals the disturbing picture of a civilisation, that has disposed of all brake systems and, run by autopilot, goes blindly for unlimited and eternal growth, no matter what the consequences are. ...

  • Spirits in Wood

    This film presents current forms of belief in spirits and souls using the evidence of cultural anthropology, folklore, psychology, history, and literature, without interpreting the phenomena, or passing final judgements. Spiritism and occultist activities are of American origin, but have made their way into the rural culture. The film goes beyond a classical ethnographic film, exploring the impact of the urban elite and mass culture on the traditional rural system of beliefs. ...

  • STAFF ENTRANCE

    A film about industrial slaughterhouses but it's humans we are dealing with here. A voice off screen describes the injuries, nightmares, physical and mental suffering and the inevitability of death after retirement. A film about the obsession with productivity and its attempts to transform humans into machines. ...

  • STAM, We are staying

    Two filmmakers spend time getting to know Ruth and Natalia, two young Romanian women who grew up together in the Transylvanian village of Malancrav. One is a Gypsy, the other a Saxon; one left the village, the other stayed. The only thing they seem to have in common is their childhood friendship. This is a film that explores the contradictions in their relationship and questions our understanding of social and ethnic belonging, migration, money, rural life and the search for one's roots. ...

  • Standards

    A travelogue of portions of the USA, Europe and Latin America mixes the concept of "standards" with facts and fiction to explore the state of our culture at the end of the millennium. This is the century which brought us the parking meter, television dinners and enough plutonium to annihilate every living creature on earth. So how does it feel to be a part of all this? ...

  • Staroverii. The Old Belivers

    In Russian, Staroveri means believers of old faith. Their story began as early as the 16th century, when the Patriarch of the Russian Church, with the support of the Czar, imposed religious reforms in Russia. Those who repelled them were brutally persecuted and forced to seek refuge in Siberia or further. Many fled to Europe and some even as far as China, Japan or America, and the community of the old Russians in Romania is among the largest. This film explores the extraordinary power of this community to preserve their language, customs and beliefs, finding in their Christian faith the source for their resistance. ...

  • State Of Play

    A feature documentary about the world of South-Korean professional gamers. Every year thousands of South-Koreans flock to the game stadiums in Seoul to watch the Pro League, a live sports event where professional gamers compete to be the best at one single video game: Starcraft. It’s a title many young South Koreans dream of. The game itself is more than a decade old, almost ancient in the fast developing world of video games, but in South Korea it has become a national past-time. Like most spectator sports, this world of eSports rapidly evolved in a multi-million dollar business. In this story, we follow three boys in different stages of their career as a Pro-Gamer in South Korea. For some it will be a struggle to stay on top of their game, for others it might be the turning point of their lives. ...

  • Stella

    Stella is a modest, ordinary Romanian woman of the post-communist transition age. Or maybe Stella is not common person after all, as she has had the courage to go west, hoping for a better life. Her dream did not turn into reality, and Stella comes back to Romania, with new expectations. She hopes that maybe, once back to Romania, she will eventually be able to build up the life she dreamed of while she was living in Western Europe. ...

  • Stitch by Stitch

    The film creates a portrait of Victor Ion, an artisan making rounders balls based on a model invented by himself. He uses eight pieces of leather for each ball, he sews them together and then stuffs the outer layer with cotton-wool. The camera follows the entire diligent process. This bat-and-ball game is symbolic for Romanian traditional culture. ...

  • Stone Roots

    Dionysos comes from the sea. The mast of his boat is a vine-arbour like those rising out of the fresh cellars in the streets of baroque boroughs of the “Vale d’Itria”. For two thousand years potters have been making the same jars for preserving wine in the “trullo” beside home-made olive oil, cheese and bacon. In a forsaken estate, branches from a two hundred years old vine grow through tactful stone rings carved from the block. In the “cantina” of Locorotondo, an EC funded palace of technology and marketing, an ecologist is searching for adjectives to qualify the limpidity, aroma and flavour of a white wine born from the red earth of the garden like “vignete”. ...

  • Stories of Romanians in China

    The documentary takes a look at the lives of four Romanians who decided to live in China. A young man who studies Chinese calligraphy, a fashion designer, an interpreter skilled in Chinese crosstalk, and a singer are followed in their daily routine. They are asked about their daily life, about how it is to work and live in cities like Hangzhou, Shanghai or Beijing, and about the European view on the Chinese society and culture. ...

  • Storm is Coming

    This is a short essay dedicated to the Romanian migrants trying to make a living on the streets of Paris. Out of respect for their privacy, the filmmakers chose not to show their faces. The interviews are written on the screen, accompanied by neutral images shot on the outskirts of the city. ...

  • Storming Paradise

    What drives young Western men to leave everyone and everything behind and journey to Syria to get involved in someone else’s struggle? It all started with a radio broadcast. Mourad M. is the first Dutchman killed in Syria in the struggle against Bashar al Assad’s regime. He left for Syria with a group of friends to become a Jihad fighter. Floor knew some of them from the neighborhood of her childhood. The media portrays these boys as vulnerable and derailed, and who may be a terror threat. But is this picture true? In order to understand why they feel called upon to pick up arms and leave everything they know behind, Floor abandons her Western perspective to be able to see things through the eyes of the fighters. ...

  • Story Maker, Story Taker

    This is an attempt at bringing together a selection of the stories and paintings of the Warlis, and some of the writings about “them”. To the Warlis, a community of Adivasis (indigenous peoples), who live close to Bombay, these stories represent their “history”, their world-view. All the outsiders, the Portuguese, the Marathas, the British, the “native” settlers ... they all tried obliterating this history and wisdom. The work of the outsiders who wrote about “the Warli” represents this process of creating new mythologies. By bringing together these disparate discourses, this video aspires to critique these mythologies ... to read between the lines, as the stories themselves do. O incercare de a aduna legendele si picturile comunitatii Warlis, precum si scrierile acestora despre ei insisi. Aceste legende reprezinta pentru indigeni istoria si viziunea asupra lumii. Filmul urmareste o privire critica asupra unei noi mitologii. ...

  • Stream Of Love

    Even in old age, Eros is still inciting the spirits of Hungarian ethnic villagers from a Transylvanian town. Although most of the town inhabitants have reached a venerable age, they do not hesitate to share their most intimate erotic thoughts in front of the camera, with sincerity and without false modesty. An entertaining and surprising documentary, whose bittersweet stories bring forth sexuality in everyday life, in its natural, unaltered form. ...

  • Street Punk Moscow

    The film observes a group of young Punks living in the outskirts of Moscow in concrete blocks built by the communists. They cannot cope with the expectations of the adults. They are the lost between yesterday and tomorrow, living by the principle: "Get drunk, have fun! Cut yourself a mohawk and you'll see what really counts." ...

  • STREMT 89

    The road through Strem? ends in the mountains. But in 1989, villagers were eagerly awaiting army tanks, terrorists and glory. Today, although partly forgotten, partly imagined, the past is crystal clear. ...

  • Submission-In defence of the unborn

    Submission is a documentary about the 'chemical society' - the society we have been building since the Second World War. Back then, humans used 1 million tonnes of chemicals per year; the figure today is 500 million tonnes. The chemical industry is the fastest-growing industry in the world. We use 100,000 chemicals every day, leaving out food additives. They are chemicals we are exposed to in our daily environments. softeners (phthalates), flame retardants (PBDE), surfactants (PFOS, PFOA) and so on. Submission: In defence of the unborn offers the testimony of renowned scientists on the growing chemical burden human bodies carry. Submission is a documentary about the 'chemical society' - the society we have been building since the Second World War. Back then, humans used 1 million tonnes of chemicals per year; the figure today is 500 million tonnes. The chemical industry is the fastest-growing industry in the world. We use 100,000 chemicals every day, leaving out food additives. They are chemicals we are exposed to in our daily environments. softeners (phthalates), flame retardants (PBDE), surfactants (PFOS, PFOA) and so on. Submission: In defence of the unborn offers the testimony of renowned scientists on the growing chemical burden human bodies carry. ...

  • Substitute Country

    “The substitute country” is the story of those who leave and those who stay, of the happy and sad, of those for which emigration means happiness, of those for which the leaving of their beloved means the end of story. Of those looking for their place and never find it, of those who can never say they go home … “The substitute country” is a film where each character tells his/her story, and each chapter is presented in a different color, warmer or colder, depending on the tone of the story. ...

  • Sugartown: The Bridegrooms

    "Funny social analysis" would be the most appropriate words describing this films that deals with the problem of women missing in a Greek village. The male population of the village has no other solution but to seek for women somewhere else. They try to solve this problem in a less usual way: to go to Ukraine in the mass in order to meet their future wives there… ...

  • Summer with Mosquitoes

    Smell of flowers, sounds of carriages and caress of the wind. Few elements of a film that presents the story of a little girl. She has to leave her home village because there is no proper education for her. She leaves the innocent childhood behind herself and faces the cruel reality of being alone. The documentary made by an international team describes the everyday life of an old village and a small girl’s way of becoming adult. ...

  • SUMNA'S LETTER

    Hanna was adopted by an Israeli couple, at a time that was a dark age for Romania and many children were taken out of the country without any legal papers. She has been living for the past years in Israeli boarding schools. Now, nearing 18, after another fierce argument with her adoptive parents, she is determined to discover the truth about her real roots and is embarking on a significant journey to find her mother in Romania. This is a human drama about a lonely girl who longs for a hug from the woman who gave birth to her. Hanna's story is the story of many girls and boys who were adopted from abroad, who cannot find their peace because of the uncertainty of their past and the concealment of documentation. The black hole in the souls of these children motivates our protagonist to embark on this intriguing journey, whose results will change the course of her life. ...

  • Sunday Lunch

    Norbi, a 15 year old boy, wants to live with his mother. The two were separated four years ago when the boy was taken to an orphanage. Although his mother is living in a homeless shelter, the boy spends as much time with her as he can. This observational documentary stirs emotional reactions by portraying the close relationship between the two and their drama while they are trying to escape their predicament. ...

  • Super Unit

    Superjednostka (Polish for Superunit) is a huge block of flats designed as a "housing machine". Up to three thousand people can live on 15 floors of the building. The lifts only stop every three floors so the residents must go through a maze of corridors and stairs in order to get to their flats. The main characters of the documentary are people living in Superjednostka and going through important moments of their lives there. This is where their emotions throb, their expectations engender, and their desires come true... or not. 762 flat doors and 762 stories. We are opening only a few of them. ...

  • Surire

    The Surire salt flat is located in the Chilean high plateau at 4,300 meters over the sea level, on the border with Bolivia, and it is one of the very last places in the world, keeping the treasure of untouched nature with all its beauty, but also holds an allurement: a huge amount of borax, promising the mining industry profits in unknown levels.. In its surroundings live a handful of elders, the last survivors of the Aymara culture in the area. As background, the machinery of a mine site roams the landscape, intermingled with flamingos, vicunas and llamas. ”Surire” is a film that from observation and visual language portrays this unique space in which coexist natural beauty, human absurdity, and cultural decline. ...

  • Swamp Dialogues

    The Danube Delta in Romania - the 'Last European Sanctuary’ - is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While major efforts are made to protect biodiversity, the plight of local communities is largely overlooked. Social scientists claim that the traumatic nature of the swamp bears heavy on the villagers' lives. But is Nature really to blame? Swamp dialogues is based on extensive field-research about the discursive creation of wilderness in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. Through a careful ‘argument montage’ built entirely on cinematic language the film represents an anthropological analysis while reflecting on epistemological questions of knowledge production in social sciences. ...

  • Swarms

    The members of an orthodox hermitage in the mountains of Moldavia, Romania make preparations for the feast of the monastery, each year on the Sunday of Holly Saints. On this occasion, peasant people as well as town dwellers from the neighborhood join them for the holly services and for the final community lunch. As soon as they leave, life turns back to its quiet original rhythms. Membrii unei manastiri ortodoxe din Muntii Moldovei pregatesc hramul manastirii, care are loc in fiecare an in Duminica Tuturor Sfintilor. Tarani si oraseni vin la slujba si participa la masa colectiva. ...

  • Sweet Life and all that Goes with it

    Rosi Muller and her father Michael are among the very few Saxons, or Transylvanian Germans, who still live in Alzen, a village in south Transylvania. Fifteen years ago, a dramatic change occured in the life of German towns and villages all over Transylvania. With the fall of communism, the quasi-total Saxon population migrated to Germany. After centuries during which they had maintained a strong sense of their cultural identity, the German communities disintegrated in only a few years. The film looks into issues like identity, migration, and the sense of belonging, following Rosi and Michael in their every day life. The people who live in the village today belong to a different culture. Alzen, like other Transylvanian German villages and towns, still remains " home" for the Saxons. This is for those who stayed, and for those who left. ...

  • Sweet Sorghum

    Twenty years old Kaira Strecker, daughter of anthropologists Ivo Strecker and Jean Lydall, remembers her 1983 visit to the Hamar of Southern Ethiopia, where her parents carried out fieldwork for many years. Sorghum plays a central role in Hamar economy and nutrition. Grinding and making various dishes out of Sorghum is a common activity. Focusing on the topic of Sorghum, the staple food in Hamar, the film is, at the same time, an unusual reflection of anthropological fieldwork - not by the fieldworkers themselves, but their daughter. ...

  • SweetGrass

    An unsentimental elegy to the American West, Sweetgrass follows the last sheepherders to trail their flocks up into Montana's Beartooth mountains for summer pasture. Without commentary, this astonishingly beautiful yet unsparing non-fiction film reveals a world in which nature and culture, animals and humans, climate and landscape and vulnerability and vilence are all intimately meshed. ...

  • Szekler Highwaymen, The

    At the beginning of the 50s, names of partisans such as Pusztai, Jeges and Dézsi stirred panic in the old Szekler regions of Trei scaune or Plăiești. At their roots, they were simple country folks, but they were deemed defectors by the communists, and later, when they started to oppose the regime and hide, were labelled villains and criminals. The film presents statements, facts and stories about these young people who took their guns and fought against the communist regime, trying hard to stop collectivisation and the spreading of socialist mentality. ...