2013 Winners

My Land is Burning:
Story of Jharia Coal Pickers

My Land is Burning: Story of Jharia Coal Pickerswatch trailer

A hundred years ago, the town of Jharia was known for having lush jungles, tribal inhabitants, and the biggest coal reserves in Asia. Now, that land of bounty has turned into a place of infernos and coal-scavenging. Jharia and nearby villages are crumbling and being swallowed by underground coal fires that have raged for a century. The lives of 400,000 people are in danger. But coal is central to the economy of Jharia, so coal pickers still live on this smoldering, crumbling land to eke out a living. They don't want to let go of their homeland―even when it's being consumed by flames.

Message from the Director
The selection of my film, My Land Is Burning in The Asian Pitch (TAP) 2013, has been a turning point in my documentary making career. TAP experience was very good, I got time to research, photograph and package my film in a comfortable pace, I had adequate funding that helped me to make a film with lot of production values. The whole experience of TAP was a pleasant professional breakthrough for me. My film is now complete and I am happy that four participating Broadcasters of The Asian Pitch are going to telecast my film. Moreover they are going to market and distribute it worldwide. For a film maker it is the most satisfying experience that his/her film is getting such a wide audience in different countries of the world.
In true sense The Asian Pitch has given me a chance to break into international market.
  • Chaitali Mukherjee
  • Director
  • Chaitali MukherjeeIndia
  • Chaitali Mukherjee

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Kung Fu Girls

Kung Fu Girlswatch trailer

They came to the school from all over Taiwan―country girls with dreams of becoming kung fu masters. This film follows the fortunes of two of those girls, turning the spotlight on their hopes and fears and on the lady coach who guides them in their training as martial artists at a school on a desolate mountain. One of the girls is just starting out; she's confronted with the reality of the severe training. The other is about to graduate; if she's successful, she could become a kung fu star. For both girls, entering the world of kung fu is a gamble. It could be their only chance to leave the relative poverty of rural Taiwan and see the world.

Message from the Director
It is my first time to attend The Asian Pitch. My project “Kung Fu Girls” got selected.
I am quite experienced of failing, but very few of winning. From those few experiences, winning usually means the beginning of the frustration.

It is the destiny of documentary making that the reality always develops to the opposite direction from what I tried to manage.
After we started the formal shooting, things went out of my control right away. I started to worry of those words that I said on the pitch.
“Gosh! I'm a liar! How can I explain it to my Executive Producer?”

I had no choice but concentrated on the real story.

I wrote emails to report the shooting situations to my EP from KBS. This nice gentleman, Mr. Song, always replied to me: “Don't worry. I believe in you.”
You know, the pressures were all back to me.

Have you experienced the unprofessional clients? Those guys who often took out the proposal that you wrote 18 months ago and picked out what you didn't keep your promises on the paper?
If you didn't, lucky you! But it's the very first time that I cooperate with those big broadcasters. I have no idea of what kind of person they are.

But it turned out to be one of the most beautiful experiences of mine to make film.

When we delivered the rough cut, I got a new EP. Another nice gentleman from KBS, Mr. Lee.
(There must be some mysterious things happened inside KBS which could surely be potential enough to develop a solid documentary film.)
Instead of taking out the proposal I wrote 18 months ago, he carefully reviewed the rough cut and provided useful suggestions based on the real story we got.

I was so relieved that he didn't mention the differences from the proposal, and also amazed by the perspective that he provided. The perspective is different from ours but points out what we missed in the film.

We had the discussions several times when he met us in Taiwan, and couples of times through emails and Skype.
Sometimes we agreed on what he suggested and amended it. And sometimes we insisted our point of view and persuade him to agree with us. Just like the professional cooperation.

No matter how many good words I said about the process, it is the final version of the film that will show if the process works.
Me and all of my colleagues on the film are very happy with the result. I think it says everything.

Please enjoy the film.
And if you could, give your precious project a try in The Asian Pitch.
  • Da_Jung, Jang
  • Director
  • Da_Jung, JangTaiwan
  • Da_Jung, Jang

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Testimony of a Thread

Testimony of a Threadwatch trailer

In a globalizing world, seeking more and more cheaper labour everyday, Bangladesh became the 2nd largest provider of world clothing lead by China. In only 4 decades it became a 25 Billion US$ export industry, directly engaging 4 million workers, mostly women… and now targeting to double it by 2021 with 50 Billion US$ export! ‘Testimony of a Thread’ explores the connecting worlds of hope and despair around this industry lately marked for man-made catastrophes like Savar Building Tragedy (2013), considered as the deadliest garment-factory accident in history and deadliest accidental structural failure in modern human history.

Message from the Director
‘Ekti Sutar Jobanbondi’ (Testimony of a Thread) is a documentary I was compelled to make as a tribute to the unsung heroes of Bangladesh clothing industry, the 2nd largest one only after China. Since after the Savar Building Tragedy (2013), the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern human history, I had to struggle for years to build the story due to sensitivity of the subject. Living in a globalized world, where economy sets all the rules, I was intrigued by the contrasting world of the stakeholders and wanted to connect through to make sense of it all. My biggest temptation and reward for pitching in TAP was the possibility of broadcasting through 4 major Asian channels and reaching their audiences, with an important and unique story like this from Bangladesh that I believe needs to be told again and again.
  • Kamar Ahmad Simon
  • Director
  • Kamar Ahmad Simon
  • Kamar Ahmad Simon

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