My Family and me, 75 min, 1986
Shot over four years, the film shows one specific aspect of migration:
family relationships. Thanassakis, a 13-year-old boy, is staying with his
grandparents in the Greek
Everyday is not a Feast day, 1994
Every Day is Not a Feast Day is a chronicle of
the daily life in Ano Ravenia, a mountain village in
Let's get married, 35 min, 1985
Thread of the Needle, 25 min, 1982
Ano Ravenia, a mountain village in
"Brides of the Desert takes us deep inside a closed society and also into an emotional space that is rarely revealed."
- Docaviv Judges panel 2008
This is the story of three Bedouin women, struggling within a polygamous system. Living in the Negev desert in Israel, the story is told through the eyes of a wedding photographer, Mariam Al-Quader. She herself is living under constant fear that her husband will marry "over her" (the expression used when a man chooses an additional wife). The other two women are pushed into marrying already married men, and become "second wives", forced to cooperate within a structure they despise or are afraid of.
The family tragedies presented in this film highlight the strength and survival of the social structures and their injustices, leaning usually on the victims' reluctant cooperation. This is most exemplified by the climax of a Bedouin wedding, wherein the groom showers upon his bride gold and jewellery in a gesture symbolizing her purchase. This is meant to be a great moment of joy for the bride, as she becomes a status symbol. However, as these women show, in the long run, it is the first moment in which they acquiesce to a life of silence and unwilling acceptance.
Ada Ushpiz is a director and producer of documentary films. Ushpiz was a journalist for "Ha`Aretz" newspaper for thirty-two years. She holds a Bachelor`s Degree in philosophy and literature, and a Masters Degree in Film, as well as a doctorate in History.
A Beautiful Tragedy
Oksana Skorik is a talented dancer, attending a Choreographic School in Perm, Far East in Russia. She sees her parents twice a year. Life is about one thing: dance.
Russian classical ballet has glorious traditions, and is a distinct part of Russian self-consciousness. The popular engagement is huge. The Perms Order of Honour Choreographic School is one of the most renowned schools in the world. Of five hundred children selected for the annual audition at the school, only 30 are accepted. Most of the girls spend 9 years at this school, sacrificing their youth and suffering unbearable pain – only to realize that the dream will not come through.
“A Beautiful Tragedy” is about striving to perfection. The girls, under the guidance of the legendary teacher Sakharova, know nothing about the world. As if in a monastery they live in isolation, dedicated to the 200 year old conventions of classical ballet. Movements shall be perfected until the demand for beauty and grace is fulfilled. A kilo too much or a tired muscle – and the girls will be finished before they got started.
Only in a society that demands an
extreme level of sacrifice one can have such expectations of children as the
ones we meet at the school in Perm. Thus, the ballet also carries an implicit
expression of the brutality and the demand for subordination in Russian
David Kinsella (b. 1964), is originally a stills-photographer from Belfast, presently living in Norway. He is highly merited and has won the most significant prices for his work worldwide. He was Documentary Press Photographer of the Year several times since he won the price the first time at the age of 16 in 1981. He has won both The Great Picture Contest in the USA and the Fuji Press Photographer prize. David is searching for new challenges and is now making documentaries and directs his own work. He is an exciting new voice in the world of documentary film. This voice has got a personal character loaded with Irish emotion.
The film follows a year in the life of four women living in the outer islands of the Åbo archipelago. Sail away to Brunskär, Brännskär, Tunhamn and Ytterholm to meet Anna, Heli, Thelma and Lotta.The filmmaker sensitively focuses on the womens’ very personal choices, as she shares their daily routines during the course of four seasons and charts their stories of loneliness, loss, love, birth and death. Although representing different generations, they have much in common and all of them consider the fundamental questions of life with openness, warmth and occasional humour. Knowing that they belong on the islands surrounded by nature all four are happily aware that “the meaning of life is not that everything is in order”.
Lotta Petronella is an artist and a filmmaker. She graduated from Chelsea College of Art in London in 1999. Since then she has made short, experimental and documentary films as well as worked in other film productions as an editor, cinematographer and producer. “Women of the Islands” is her first feature length film.Her work has been exhibited internationally in cinemas and galleries in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark,Germany, Spain, Australia, the UK and Brazil. Lotta is currently living in Finland and working on a film about lies and fantasies based on her late grandmother. The film is produced by Kinoproductions.
Stone Pastures tells the story of a nomadic family living on the Himalayan plateau of Chantang, Ladakh. In this high altitude cold desert, the most inhospitable of environments, father Sonam, mother Phuntsok, old uncle Tsewang, and the boys Padma and Kunsang struggle rearing pashmina goats. This struggle contains a paradox: Ladakh’s gritty, rocky conditions give rise to the finest of materials, pashmina wool. Produced by the nomads’ goats as a warm undercoat, this is the raw material for luxurious Kashmiri shawls, and the family’s only source of income. The film follows the family through the seasons in the context of their livelihood. Aspiring towards a more comfortable settled life, we find Ladakh’s nomads in a state of transition, between traditional life and modern ways. In Stone Pastures, this transition is seen mainly through the eyes of the family’s sons Kunsang and Padma, as they move away from the life of his ancestors, traveling between the high plateau and boarding school in Leh, Ladakh’s capital.
Donagh Coleman (1975) grew up mainly in Finland, with long periods in Ireland and the U.S. (he is a citizen of these three countries). In 1996 Donagh travelled to India. This was the first of several trips where he studied Tibetan Buddhism and culture, spending months in North Indian Tibetan refugee communities. Returning from India, Donagh entered Trinity College Dublin to study philosophy and psychology (BA) and continued with Trinity College’s Masters course in music and media technology. Before directing the creative documentary ”Echoes Of” (2002) he also made several short films. Besides filmmaking, he has illustrated best-selling books, worked as an Irish tour guide, as well as guiding for Dublin’s Chester Beatty Library Museum. He has traded in Indian handicrafts first in his uncle’s shop in Dublin, and later with a small business of his own in Finland. Donagh also writes and produces music.
Instead of going away to school, some Evenk children of remote Siberia have the school brought
to them. The film goes part of the way to taiga in Far-Eastern Siberia with experimental nomads school set up by Evenk people and anthropologist Alexandra Lavrillier. Evenk children are allowed to stay with their family instead of going at boarding school. Lessons, for example, include learning to use a computer and lassoing and riding a reindeer.
Teaching standard academic classes as well as traditional ways, and the Evenk language (spoken today only by 9000 people), this nomads school is a desperate attempt to save an ancestral culture. As the mobile school moves across Siberian taiga, Evenk people tell of their sacrifices to be self-sufficient and to live where their spirits belong.
Michel Debats is a film director, specialised on directing films about nature, wildlife, human culture. Among his directed films are Oscars nominated “Winged Migration” (co-directed by Jacques Perrin, Michel Debats and Jacques Cluzaud, 2001) and several films produced for television: “Pigeons and men” (2004; ARTE/France 5); “Pigeons races” (2004; ARTE/France 5), “School on the Move” (2008).