2014 Winners

Sonita is a Traveling Swallow

An 18-year-old Afghan girl named Sonita has become an online sensation as a rapper. She's a refugee in Iran, among a huge number of Afghans who have escaped the growing power of the Taliban in their homeland. Now, she's fighting to avoid being sold by her parents as a bride for an amount that some would call a pittance. Living under the protection of a non-governmental organization that supports refugees, she formed a rap group with friends and began using her songs to proclaim her desire to live the way she wants. Then, success in a music contest thrust her into the spotlight. A female Iranian director tells Sonita's story.

Message from the Director
I recommend applying for Asian Pitch to Asian filmmakers, since we need to get rid of Western supremacy in media . We need to have our own funds to find our own language instead of telling stories about East the way that West likes it and pays for it. I hope we had more funds like this.
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  • Director
  • Rokhsareh GhaemmaghamiIran
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Tuna Hunter

General Santos City on the Philippine island of Mindanao is the country's largest producer of sashimi-grade tuna; it's known as the country's tuna capital. Twenty-year-old Intoy works on one of the city's tuna boats to help support his six brothers and sisters. The siblings lost their parents at a young age, and Intoy began using drugs and getting into fights. Then, at the age of 14, Intoy made the decision to become a tuna fisherman. But the life was harsh. Intoy earned nothing for a long time because he caught no fish and had his wages docked to cover his food. A South Korean director made a documentary about Intoy four years ago. Now, he focuses on Intoy once more to show how life has changed for a young man who staked his family's future on his chances at the sharp end of a tough industry.

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  • Director
  • Jin Hyuk Kim / Chea Wan Yun South Korea
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The Love Commandos

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As young Indians enjoy the benefits of economic growth, they're fast adopting Western lifestyles. Many are turning their backs on the tradition of arranged marriages, choosing instead to marry for love. Some even marry people from different castes and religions. But traditional values are so deeply rooted that many Indians still think marriage should be a parentally decreed union between families. Those who marry for love are drawing a sharp backlash from traditionalists. Some parents even kill their own offspring for an act that they believe stains their family's name. About 1,000 honor killings are said to be committed in India every year.
A non-governmental organization called the Love Commandos shelters couples who escape from their parents and helps them get married. But why does Indian society still not give young people the freedom to marry for love? And why is the caste system still so deeply rooted? The Indian director of "Love Commandos" takes a multi-faceted look at the country's social attitudes from the perspective of a native. His documentary depicts the work of the Love Commandos, investigates the motives of parents, and introduces viewers to couples who fought to marry for love and have since been shunned.

Message from the Director
I have spent the last 18 months filming for the project, during which I have learnt more about hate and violence than about love. I have met several couples who eloped, some without even knowing what they were in for, some met violent endings and some ended up happily settled. One such couple in the film caused a riot (literally) when they eloped; the boy’s mother had to abandon her home and seek shelter in a distant village, it took them several months the get married, they have now been accepted back into the community but still face threats from hardliners.
In another case it was shocking to find that an entire village turned a blind eye when two brothers cut off their sisters head in their own backyard all in the name of honour.
Why do parents in India oppose their child’s choice of a life partner, why does religion and cast take precedence over their own children’s happiness? Why does society feel threatened by individual choices? What hurdles do such lovers face and even if help groups get them married off, are they ready to fend for themselves. This film tries to answer these questions.
I would like to thank the Asia Pitch for their unconditional support. I think it's a great platform for documentaries.
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  • Director
  • Vikram Mishra
    India
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