An elderly man lying on the grass waiting to die. In his pocket, a message announced that he was from a distant land. He had no documents or any possessions. His desire was to die alone and anonymous. This is the beginning of a documentary that tells the touching story of a man who was determined to plan and control his own death. It is a film about freedom, life, and death.
Debora Diniz is an anthropologist, with master’s and doctorate’s in Anthropology and with a PhD in Bioethics. She’s a professor at the University of Brasilia and director of Anis: Institute of Bioethics, Human Rights and Gender, a non-governmental organization specialized in Bioethics, Human Rights and Women’s Rights. She has directed five documentaries.
Set in Thailand, as well as in India, „No Way To Heaven“ begins on a remote Thai island. There, Fritz Joss, a 32 year-old Swiss from the Bernese Oberland has decided to stop eating - once and for all. He plans to find sustenance in pure (sun-)light by applying what is known as the „21 day process“. In a manner at once relaxed and almost child-like in its naïvety, Fritz sets off on his endeavour, but the planned conversion to „breatharianism“ is more difficult than anticipated. It is above all the first seven days, requiring strict thirsting that raise survival issues: Fritz is confronted with the limits of both his body and soul.
India is the second dramatic location of the film. The filmmakers meet, amongst others, an Indian neurologist who has conducted wide-ranging studies on fasting. His research leads him to sometimes perplexing results that remain unexplained by current science. We also meet a man who spends half an hour every morning sungazing and who is merely still eating because his wife won`t allow him to discontinue completely. Then there`s the eighty-year-old ascetic, revered as an Indian saint, who claims to have fasted and thirsted for seventy years. And finally, there is the 110-year-old woman who has spent her life meditating in a cave and who refused food for months on end.
The film allows all these people to speak for themselves. It is a film about a spiritual quest. With its hallucinatory images, the film raises questions that transcend those merely concerning a nutrition-less life. „What is mankind`s true state?“, it asks. However, for all of its philosophical implications, the film never loses sight of life`s quirkier and more comical aspects.
Tedeschi and Christof Schäfer
Janos Tedeschi and Christof Schäfer, both in their mid-twenties, belong to a new, innovative generation of Swiss film-makers. Having previously worked together on smaller film- and videoprojects, “No Way to Heaven” is their first feature-length documentary, which their produced, filmed and edited entirely by themselves. Janos Tedeschi & Christof Schäfer are currently working on their third documentary, a film about the connection between globalisation and the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest and culture.
In March 2004, one of the world's last voluntarily isolated groups of hunter-gatherers walked out of the forest in northern Paraguay, fleeing ranchers' bulldozers. They formed a new village with their more settled relatives, where they confronted the complexities of learning how to become "Ayoreo Indians" and more critically, how to survive in a rapidly changing world.
This documentary provides an intimate portrait of a divided community four months after this historical event, and their efforts to chart a collective future in a context shaped by deforestation, NGO activity, anthropologists and evangelical Christianity. Self-consciously engaging a history of ethnographic representations and tropes of "first contact," the reflexive video uses the filmmaker's narration to reflect on the experiences and confusions of a process that remains ultimately opaque for the "new people," for their relatives, and for the anthropologist.
This film contributes to the visual anthropology of
lowland South America by putting a human face to critical questions about
"contact," "indigeneity" and the ways certain narrow ideas
of "modernity" continue to be presented as the only options for
Native peoples in the Gran Chaco and beyond.
Lucas Bessire is working toward a PhD in New York University's program for culture and media, Department of Anthropology. After graduating from Kansas State University, he spent 2001–2002 as a Fulbright Scholar with the Ayoreo Indians of Bolivia. He is currently working on a project about an Ayoreo band recently contacted in the Paraguayan Chaco. His research interests involve the production of indigenous identities and epistemologies, native rights and sovereignty.
The life of a reindeer shepherd is no less monotonous than the Tundra itself. It orients itself entirely along the migrations from pasture to pasture. The time spent between these pastures is referred to as “áigi” – the time of the shepherd.
Director Dainis Klava, born in 1965, studied television direction at the Latvian Music Academy. He works as a cameraman and director and has made video art and advertising clips alongside his own films. Films: 1990: Homoa; 1991: Levitation; 1991: La ronde de Paris;1992: Homo-Firefish; 1992: The Naivists; 1993: Gravitation;The Scaffold
This film takes us into the world of old man Peter Sengepov, the last surviving Shaman of the Kazym River, who lives alone in the depths of the Siberian taiga. The region of the Khanty people is the basic source of oil recovery in Russia. About 70 percent of all Russian oil is extracted here. The oil companies actively buy huge territories in the North of Siberia. Indigenous people are compelled to leave these places, their own patrimonial territories, and so a modern civilization gradually absorbs an ancient culture.
Was born in 1978. Graduated from the Omsk State University, History department. In 2002 finished college at the Sverdlovsk Film Studio in Ekaterinburg, department of directors of cinema and TV. In 2005 — finished the Highest Courses of Film Writers and Directors in Moscow, department of film directors. Winner and participant of the international film festivals and film projects.
75-year-old Sisko is fed up with hearing about computers and the Internet all over the place. Even her grandchild spends her summer days by swimming in the virtual pool of Habbo Hotel instead of the beach. “Granted, I feel like an outsider here,” says Sisko, bewildered, and decides to enroll on a computer class.
It is a documentary about an ageing woman’s quest to understand the virtual world around her and its strange new language. Sisko’s initiation to the mystical computer progresses from the first touch on the power switch and learning to double-click to mastering Google. The journey has its absurd moments and is frustrating at times, but Sisko is determined not to stay an ignorant old lady.
Finland is the promised land of high technology. We even buy tram tickets on our cell phones. Libraries, banks, communication and shopping rely on computers. We almost seem to live in two parallel worlds: the tangible daily reality and an expanding virtual world. The virtual world has become so omnipresent that it is practically impossible not to run into it every day.
But how would it feel not to understand any of it? If you had retired before computers entered the workplace? A large part of modern society would be beyond your reach, a blur. “The Beginner” is a documentary that also tries to show how absurd and odd the entire virtual world actually is! For those accustomed to it things are practically automatic, but for the uninitiated, even a double-click on the mouse is a motoric skill that requires a lot of practice.
On the other hand, although the world changes and cold, mechanic computers may seem to separate people and generations, they might at best also be new tools that bring them together.
Inka Achté studied theatre design in London before starting her film studies at the Lahti Institute of Design. After graduating in 2004, she has worked on several film and television productions doing various tasks. Alongside film making, she currently works as a freelance journalist for television.
The film, talking about the Japanese videogame culture started as an innocent journey to witness the release of a video-game console in Japan but little by little, as these things usually do, it changed into a showcase of some of the many wonderful ways in which the japanese spend their leisure time. “Hobby”: a documentary that aims to entertain speaking about entertainment.
Ciro Altabás studied Media Studies at the Universidad Europea de Madrid and film-making at the London Film School. Additionally, he studied at the University of California and Los Angeles. He worked as producer, director of photography, editor, art director, sound recordist and director of short films. He currently lives in Madrid.
The Last Rites of the Honourable Mr. Rai
This film is about the cremation of a longtime resident of the holy city of Varanasi. Made at the request of the Rai family, it is possibly the most detailed and respectful study of the Hindu rites of cremation on the sacred banks of the river Ganga at the historic Harish Chandra Ghat.
With no invasive narration but with inter-titles and subtitles the film enables the viewer to see, hear and experience all that is said by the mourners, the funerary priest and cremation ground specialists, as they carry out this final rite of passage for a Hindu.
To underscore that death is as much a part of everyday life, the film begins and ends with the experience of everyday life on the famous ghats of Varanasi and shows the interaction of people with their gods, animals and the sacred river itself.
Dr. Jayasinhij Jhala is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Temple University, where he serves as the Director of the Visual Anthropology Media Lab and the Director of the Graduate and Undergraduate tracks in Visual Anthropology. He has been involved in interpreting culture on film and video since the 1970s. Jayasinhij Jhala has produced, directed, filmed, and edited over fifteen ethnographic films that illustrate the cultures of India and the United States while speaking to various issues in Visual Anthropology. He has also published numerous written texts, which have addressed issues about art and anthropology, nomadism, religious worship, indigenous interpretations of local culture, ethnographic filmmaking and its reception, photography, Hindu marriage, and Rajput ideology and politics.
If the Vagina Had Teeth
Vicious songs, lustful dances and a lot of beer – this is how rain-making takes place in one part of western Mozambique.
Gvozden Rosić, chief of a small orchestra in a small rural village in the heart of Serbia trains for the hugest brass competition in the world.
Used to launch the attacks in the wartime, the trumpet lost its military significance to become an emotional part of the life of Serbian people. In Serbia trumpets play when children are born. They are also played for their baptism, when boys leave to do their military service, when they come back, when they get married and when they move to their new house. They are played in the popular feasts where people dance and sing, but they also play in funerals: trumpet music accompanies the deceased also in his last trip.
“Trumpets’ Republic” describes also the times Serbia is going through. When the country was trying to get out of the spiral of violence from the 1990s, the long international embargo and NATO’s bombing and the economic depression, in March 2003 a new, tragic happening took place: the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić. With the help of Radio B92, historical radio that opposed Milošević, we follow step by step this last dramatic event and its influence on the people: two months after the murder of the Prime Minister a silent procession of citizens still flows to his grave.
Born in Udine in 1972, he studied cinema at “Sorbonne” in Paris and he graduated at “Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia” in Rome in 1997; since then he has made various documentaries in film and digital.
Since autumn, 2000 is the director of www.ildocumentario.it, an internet web site
about documentary film in Italy.His last work, “Che Guevara – The
body and the legend” (2007), was broadcasted in 12 different countries.
The Queen's Film
Efigenia Ramos Rolim is a 74 year old woman, At the age of 60, after widowing and having raised her children, she becomes a popular artist.
She says that her transformation started when she saw a shining object in the street, she thought it was a jewel but it was a candy wrap paper.
This candy wrap paper "a miserable fallen" opens a door to a new world for her.
Efigenia sees herself in this candy wrap paper, she is one of those people “who lost its filling". Ever since she´s found a mission in her life. The hidden poet arises. She decides to wear candy wrap paper and reciclable material that people throw to the garbage and becomes a queen; "The candy wrap paper queen".
"I made these clothes willfully. They say I´m crazy because I wear garbage," she sings in the streets.
Sergio Mercurio is the “Banfield Puppeteer”. He has travelled around Latin America the last fourteen years playing his adults puppets shows. In the journey he has know a lot of people. Efigenia “The candy wrap paper queen” is one of those. “The queens film” is his first film.