Germany, 2019, 81 min / Original languages: Kyrzyz, Russian
Location: Tajikistan, Murghab
A Film by: Martin Saxer, Daler Kaziev, Marlen Elders

A generation ago, Murghab was well taken care of. As the highest town of the former Soviet Union at 3600 metres above sea level and close to the sensitive borders with Afghanistan and China, the town enjoyed ample provisions from Moscow brought in via the Pamir Highway. It had electricity around the clock, an airport, a movie theater, and a hospital with central heating. Since then, Murghab and its people have endured several storms and the Soviet hallmarks are crumbling away. Yet, life goes on and, with wit and improvisational skills, the ruins of Socialism afford a plethora of new but precarious ways to make do.

From the Land


France, 2018, 28 min / Original languages: French
Location: France, Marseille
A Film by: Jeff Silva, Ramona Badescu

Mixing fragmented stories of people with views of a landscape in transformation, we follow a contemporary Alice through what was once a leafy forest and is today a “concrete jungle” in the center of the infamous northern district of Marseille. At the crossroads of societal, historical and architectural issues, nature seems caught in a grip, surviving only in the memory of those who experienced it as children of the 1960’s and 70’s. Separating image from text, “From the Land” paints a portrait of a contemporary neighborhood battered by violent transformation that echoes in the vulnerable voices of its habitants and the tension between presence and absence, broken down into patterns; plants, animals, humans.

See biography Jeff Silva and Ramona Badescu

House No. 15


Indonesia, 2018, 7 min / Original languages: Indonesian
Location: Indonesia
A Film by: Aryo Danusiri

Jakarta, monsoon season. “House No. 15” is set in the house of a butcher in the riverside slum area of Ciliwung (the city’s main river). While the father is at work, the children enjoy the moment. The shot was recorded a few months before the mass eviction of the area – part of the ongoing gentrification project with the troublesome justification to free the city of floods. The film was shown at the 2019 Toronto Biennial and the 14th Jogja-NEPTAC Asian Film Festival.

First Harvest


Germany, 2018, 7 min / Original languages: Japanese
Location: Japan, Kyoto
A Film by: Martin Gruber, Rika Shinkai

Urban beekeeping is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan. “First Harvest” introduces a group of students and their first experience in beekeeping. They are fascinated and moved by this multispecies encounter. The film deals with beekeeping practice and the acquisition of apicultural knowledge but also with feelings and emotions connected to it. The film juxtaposes interview material and observational footage of the students’ first honey harvest. The disjointed editing style anticipates the students’ fragmented experience.

See biography Martin Gruber and Rika Shinkai

The Stone Guest


Russia, 2018, 8 min / Original languages: English, Russian
Location: Different Locations
A Film by: Marina Fomenko

The key figure of the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 in Russia was Lenin. After his death in 1924, Lenin’s image was immortalized in countless numbers of monuments. There is neither living nor dead Lenin in the film; only “the stone guest” – a momument and its birth and passing. The “birth” of each new Lenin stone is accompanied by a special ritual including speeches and celebrations in front of a large gathering. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the life cycle of “The Stone Guest” comes to an end.

House of Dalang


Japan, 2019, 65 min / Original languages: Balinese
Location: Indonesia, Bali
A Film by: Miho Nitta

A Dalang is a traditional shadow puppet (Wayang Kulit) performer. “House of Dalang” tells the story of an old man who is an expert in Wayang Kulit Performance and until now still has a strong passion for it and performs well in Balinese Ceremony. Living in a traditional Balinese house with his family, his grandchild inherited his talent as a puppeteer. Recorded over five years, this documentary film explores the rituals and ceremonies of Bali Hinduism.

Discussion Friday morning

Participants: Martin Saxer, Jeff Silva, Martin Gruber, Rika Shinkai, Marina Fomenko, Miho Nitta  
Moderation: Peter I. Crawford

In Thunder Lightning and Rain


India, 2018, 39 min / Original languages:
Location: India, Kerala
A Film by: Rajesh James

“In Thunder Lightning and Rain” depicts three Dalit women enduring their ostracization from society. The three women – a footballer, a fisher and a cremator – tell their sagas of woes and weal, resistance and endurance in the film. These three contemporary Shakespearian witches are portrayed against the carnivalesque urban space of Fort Kochi. While they visit the masculine space of carnival, the camera intently follows them with an intense zeal to document their identity. Rajesh James is a documentary filmmaker and scholar from Kochi, India. In 2017, he was awarded the prestigious Riyad Wadia Award for the best emerging filmmaker in India.

The Healer and the Psychiatrist


Great Britain, 2019, 74 min / Original language: Tongan
Location: Tonga
A Film by: Mike Poltorak

In the South Pacific Island group of Vava’u, the traditional healer Emeline Lolohea treats people affected by spirits. One day’s travel away by ferry, the only Tongan Psychiatrist Dr Mapa Puloka has established a public psychiatry well known across the region. Though they have never met in person, the film creates a dialogue between them on the causes of mental illness and spiritual affliction. Their example offers challenges and opportunities to help address the growing global mental health crisis. This documentary and visual intervention is based on extensive research on mental health and Tongan traditional healing and video recorded as part of research.

I am Sheriff


South Africa, 2017, 29 min / Original language: Sesotho
Location: Lesotho
A Film by: Teboho Edkins

“I am Sheriff” follows a young transman as he travels the mountain kingdom of Lesotho showing his film in remote villages, schools and communities.
Sheriff was born with a girl’s body, but as the grandmother recounts in his film, he refused to wear dresses and always wanted to play with the boys.
“My name is Sheriff now”, he says, “if you want me to come home and visit my home village you’ll have to learn to call me by my name”. His viewers react with surprise and curiosity, but also show him remarkable warmth, love and acceptance.

The King


France, 2019, 64 min / Original languages: German, French, Macedonian, Serbian, Romanian, Ialian
Location: Macedonia; Turkey; Belgium; France; Italy
A Film by: Michele Gurrieri

King Naat Veliov, the king of the gypsy trumpet, is a composer from a famous kin of Balkan Roma musicians. As the leader of a brass band, his dexterity with the trumpet blends music from different cultures, repertoires and musical styles like no one has ever done before. That is why the world welcomes him with open arms.

Discussion Friday afternoon

Participants: Rajesh James, Mike Poltorak, Teboho Edkins, Michele Gurrieri
Moderation: Elena Dellmuth, Claudia Wernike

Time is on Our Side


Senegal, 2019, 62 min / Original languages: French
Location: Burkina Faso
A Film by: Katy Léna Ndiaye

Burkina Faso, October 2014. What many could not imagine is happening. The Burkinabè are ending the reign of Blaise Compaore. The rapper Smockey, member of the Balai Citoyen, is among the artisans of change who want to turn utopia into reality. Today, the uprising, the failed coup, the organization of free elections are behind us, but has the price of the fallen regime been paid off, and the expectations fulfilled? ”Time is on Our Side” brings us into the daily life of Smockey, close encounter with a rebel character who follows a path between activism and artistic work. An intimate encounter of concerns nourished by a fleeting present and renewed hopes for the future.



Switzerland, 2019, 80 min / Original languages: German
A Film by: Christian Labhart

“Passion” talks about the painful fact that our world today is not what many of us dreamed it to be 50 years ago. Episodes from the author‘s life clash with pictures of the present. They tell the story of the generation of 1968 – people who have been vehemently fighting for their ideals and are now struggling to stay connected to these ideals. Texts by Franz Kafka, Bertolt Brecht, Slavoj Zizek, Ulrike Meinhof and the music of Bach's “St. Matthew Passion” provide the author with a view of the capitalist jungle that spans all five continents and the madness of a world suffering from global warming, war, over-consumption, refugee crises and inequality.

Oblatos, Epic Flight Into The Night


Mexico, 2019, 105 min / Original languages: Spanish
Location: Mexico, Guadalajara y Ciudad de México
A Film by: Acelo Ruiz Villanueva

Mexico 1976. The state persecution of student and labor organizations continues. Toño and Guaymas, members of the communist league “23 de septiembre”, one of the most important underground resistance organizations in the history of the country, are arrested for subversion and taken to the high-security section of the Oblatos Penitentiary in Guadalajara. The only chance of survival is escape.

Discussion Friday evening

Participants: Acelo Ruiz Villanueva, Carlos Y. Flores, Andrea Reikat
Moderation: Michael Schönhuth