2009 Winners

Transmission: Listening to the Mountain's Message

Transmission: Listening to the Mountain's Messagewatch trailer

How can important memories be conveyed to the next generation? In Japan, a country of forests and mountains, work methods that have long been at the heart of mountain life - like tree cutting, slash and burn agriculture,and roof thatching - are quietly disappearing in the course of modernization. Recently, some Japanese high school students have gone up to the mountains to see the people who live there and possess these skills, asking them about their craft and about life itself... writing down what they hear, word for word, unchanged, just as it was spoken.
This documentary takes a close look at the lives of four such masters of life in the mountains and the four high school students who learnt from them, capturing the moments when, by listening and recording, memories were transmitted from one to the other.

  • Winner of Silver World Medal for Documentary at New York Festivals 2011-Television and Film Award
  • Finalist Certificate for Direction at New York Festivals 2011-Television and Film Award
Message from the Director
Ethnic groups are losing their traditional cultures as globalization proceeds, and the loss is particularly rapid in Japan. I made the program in the hope that efforts being made to save Japan's traditional skills and wisdom would strike a chord with people around the world. Co-producing the program with a producer from another country gave me the huge benefit of a fresh perspective on Japanese culture. Thank you!
  • Shohei Shibata
  • Director
  • Shohei ShibataJapan
  • Shohei Shibata

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Red Box

Red Boxwatch trailer

This is a documentary on Chen Xihuang, the eldest son of the renowned Budaixi puppet master, Li Tianlu. Budaixi is a traditional art form of Chinese opera using hand puppets. Chen began his training in puppetry with the family troupe at an early age, but for complicated reasons, did not inherit the troupe when his father passed away.
Now aged 67, Chen then joined another theatre company as the principal puppeteer. Witness how his efforts to revive a fading traditional art have successfully brought Taiwanese glove puppetry to an international stage.

Message from the Director
Traditions are bound to disappear, but yet the camera has recorded everything with grace and cruelty.

Curtains rising...
During the filming, Master Chen really cared about whether his hands were shaking. For someone who performs with his hands, doesn't a pair of trembling hands symbolize the death of his skills? The Master kept asking us, 'Are my hands shaking?' Once when he asked me the same question, I felt so sad that I couldn't bear it anymore. I said to him, 'Master, no, your hands are as steady as rock!' It was a hot summer afternoon and I saw a big smile shinning on his face.

Curtain falling...
When I was little, there were so many budaixi shows performed in the square of the temples. Performed on the stage were the ancient tales told through puppets. I was always fascinated by the delicate moves made by the hands of the puppeteers. I wouldn't leave until the shows finished and the price I paid for coming home late was standing in the kitchen until I fell asleep. Budaixi used to be the most popular form of mass entertainment in Taiwan, but the arrival of television had made the hands of puppeteers idling.

Today, from time to time in some small towns and villages, you may bump into some budaixi shows performed on the garishly painted stage. When you walk to the backstage, most likely you would see a young amateur puppeteer playing the puppet nonchalantly in one hand while sending text messages with his mobile in the other. The music plays thrillingly loud but sounds desolate. When you walk to the front, you're lucky to see a few people watching the rather boring story on the stage without much interest. It feels that the show is just for killing the time... I know that traditions are bound to disappear and yet the camera in my hands has recorded everything with grace and cruelty.
  • Li-Chou Yang
  • Director
  • Li-Chou YangTaiwan
  • Li-Chou Yang

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The Great Indian Marriage Bazaar

The Great Indian Marriage Bazaarwatch trailer

An inner-look into the Indian arranged marriage system which now has become a multi-billion dollar business. In an era of modernization in India, arranged marriages have become a multi-billion dollar business.Indian filmmaker Ruchika brought up in a multi-cultural upbringing puts herself in the process of an arranged marriage to take a look at the realities of the system.

Message from the Director
The Asian Pitch allowed me to make a film about a subject that is very personal to me, that of arranged marriage in India, which is a complex experience of tradition, family and contesting ideas of love and fulfillment. As my co-director, Faiza Khan, and I were going to the Pitching session in Singapore, we decided to point the camera at myself for the 5 minute trailer and before I knew it, I was the subject matter in my own film ? which was fitting as I was experiencing the family pressure to get married.

The Asian Pitch was quite a challenge in this context of a dual director and subject role because I wanted to be as natural and honest as possible, and yet I was aware that the film is for the international market and must appeal to all audiences from every community.

The entire process of making the film has been a positive journey and with the help of the TAP EP, Hee Yah Ong, we were able to script the film with myself as well as two other Indian women as characters whose stories composed a diverse panoply of perspectives on marriage in India. The entire filmmaking experience enabled me to learn invaluable knowledge on documentary production for the international broadcast market.
Ruchika Muchhara [right] and co-director Faiza Ahmad Khan [left]
  • Co-Director
  • Faiza Ahmad KhanIndia
  • Faiza Ahmad Khan
  • Director
  • Ruchika MuchharaIndia
  • Ruchika Muchhara

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