2008 Winners

For the Love of Shakespeare

For the Love of Shakespearewatch trailer

Chinese children learning classic English, the classic Chinese way.

Imagine a group of students from an isolated school in a remote mountain in China, with no access to the outside world, totally ignorant of the English language - reciting the sonnets of William Shakespeare.
Follow them as they learn the classics through an ancient Chinese method of recitation, practicing diligently for a grand English speaking competition - where over 1000 Chinese children will for three hours, fluently and without pause, recite Shakespeare's verses.

Message from the Director
I have a friend who promotes traditional Chinese culture using western traditional classics. One way of doing so in China, is through a competition, whereby students recite the Sonnets of Shakespeare in English. Through my research, I found a school opened by Mr. Tong, who taught just that.

I was curious that nobody understood English in this school, so how will they understand what they are learning? I wanted to know how these students learnt Shakespeare's sonnets under Mr. Tong's direction. What kind of difficulties did they face? How do these children and their parents feel?

What's more, I realized that the most difficult thing in their learning process was not the recital of the Shakespeare's sonnet, but the strong doubt behind this school of thought. Their parents also face enormous pressure from society. Even the Shakespeare competition was postponed over and over again as many were doubtful about its intention.

There are at least three million children learning English in China through the traditional way, with the hope and intention to communicate to the world about the Chinese Four Books and the Five Classics so as to spread to the world about Chinese literature. That's why I decided to pay more attention to the growing up of these children from these two very different schools of thought. I think it is a documentary that will take up a lot of my time.
  • Zhu Chun Guang
  • Director
  • Zhu Chun GuangChina
  • Zhu Chun Guang

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A Farmer's Struggle

A Farmer's Strugglewatch trailer

One man's fight against nature's desertification of his village.

The endless desert advances towards the village in surprising speed, nibbling at the houses on the edge of it. Where several hundred families used to live, now there is only one - Wei Guangcai and his wife.
Living in one of the worst-hit areas affected by desertification in China, this man stands his ground against the sand pushing him away from his home, enduring the forces of nature and the winds of loneliness.

  • Winner of Best Short Film at the Green Film Festival, Seoul 2010
  • 3rd Place Certificate for Creative Excellence at the US International Video & Film Festival 2010
Message from the Director
I started the creation of A Farmer's Struggle to show the audience that a beautiful prospect and innocent dream can prevail despite a terrible living environment. In my opinion, the film's protagonist Wei Guangcai is like a raindrop in spring, standing up against the brewing dust storms. The land which he is trying to preserve against the dust storms seems futile but he strongly believes that one day the earth will rejuvenate once again. As it is said at the end of the documentary, "Dust storms may wreak havoc, but they can never break the spirit of spring."
  • Zhao Liang
  • Director
  • Zhao LiangChina
  • Zhao Liang

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A Weaver's Tale

A Weaver's Talewatch trailer

People's effort at preserving the fabric of their community.

The Yakans are the traditional settlers of Basilan Island in the Southern Philippines, famous for their art of weaving. Their skills have been handed down from generation to generation,and the intricate designs of their fabric are said to be based on their dreams. Get to know the Yakan women as they endeavour to preserve their vanishing art - challenged by a chronic conflict environment and increased modernism - and continue to weave a rich and colourful tapestry of life stories.

Message from the Director
Simple as it may seem, it was a daunting task filming "A Weaver's Tale." With the rise of kidnapping and armed conflicts in the area where the story is set, the experience allowed me to better see and feel the plight of the Yakan Weavers.
This deplorable situation is perceived not as a causal result but rather a way of life, leaving things to fate - as seen through Princess Lily and Ambalang. However, there are no traces of fear nor are they disheartened to continue the art of Yakan Weaving.
At 28, I am fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead. There are still a lot of skills to learn, perspectives to realize, concepts to know, failures to experience. But what I do know and what is clear to me is my desire to continue learning and to nurture my passion. I have learned how to embrace the art of learning and that, I believe, is by far my greatest strength. And The Asian Pitch shaped my benchmark for international standards that pushed me further as a weaver of my stories.
  • Sheron Dayoc
  • Director
  • Sheron DayocPhilippines
  • Sheron Dayoc

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The Icemen: Angadias of India

The Icemen: Angadias of Indiawatch trailer

A unique 150-year-old system of delivering millions of dollars' worth of diamonds.

The Angadias - literally "one who carries valuables" - perform a task that major carriers in the region such as FedEx decline because of the risks involved.
Ironically, even without handheld scanners and high-tech tracking systems, this simple delivery system is the fastest, cheapest, and most reliable method of transporting goods in this region of the world. Plainly dressed, unarmed, and carrying unmarked canvass sacks, these men transport 4 million dollars worth of diamonds each day - yet earn salaries of less than 50 dollars a month.

Message from the Director
The biggest challenge faced during the making of this documentary was getting access and gaining trust of a community that is secretive and closed, to say the least. It took almost two years before we reached a stage when we thought we had enough contacts and leads to be able to start filming. Even then there was no guarantee that we would get on film, for the first time, facets of a community that is the backbone of one of the largest businesses in India. But once the trust was established we were overwhelmed by their hospitality, support and information that they provided. Of course there is that 'little more' that remains - but that is best left within their fold! We need to respect their privacy.
  • Arun Kumar
  • Director
  • Arun KumarIndia
  • Arun Kumar

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