Freedom Film Fest 2022: making sense of the pandemic

Freedom Film Fest 2022: making sense of the pandemic

This year’s edition will feature 12 Malaysian films supported by FFN that were made during Covid

AFTER a two-year hiatus, FreedomFilmFest 2022 (FFF2022) will return on the ground from September 9 to 17. It will showcase 34 socially-themed films from all over the world that were made just before and during the Covid-19 pandemic.

FFF 2022 will screen films that bring diverse and critical perspectives on the theme of Pandemik Dua Darjat, or Pandemic of Inequality, that are often missing from the mainstream. It will take place at the PJ Live Arts, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

FFF2022 is organised by the Freedom Film Network (FFN), a non-profit organisation that harnesses the power of films to catalyse social and environmental change, and equality for all.

True to the festival’s reputation of giving voice to the marginalised and unheard, this year’s edition will feature 12 Malaysian films supported by FFN that were made during the pandemic. These include four films produced by FFN’s annual grant programme in 2021 and 2022.

They are:

Grey Scale by urban planning researcher Evelyn The, which is told through the eyes of her 79-year-old aunt who is living alone and growing old in a gentrifying neighbourhood, and whose hardships became more evident because of Covid 19.
Fafa: Perjuangan yang Tak Didendang is by illustrator Amirul Ramthan. He combines creative energies with fellow artist Fafa to tell a story of the social stigma faced by mental health patients – an issue that they and thousands of Malaysians struggle with.
Journalist Rahmah Pauzi returns to her old secondary school in Disini Tersemai Cita-cita, to document the struggles of its under-resourced but passionate veteran teachers. The film shows them helping their pupils who were unable to use remote learning when the pandemic shuttered classrooms.
In Can’t Run, Can’t Hide, filmmaker Umashankari Yomarakuro spotlights the health and ecological crisis in the once-peaceful and green Kuala Langat district in Selangor as the area is converted into a heavy industrial area. At the centre of this crisis is a group of relentless residents who are campaigning for the authorities to act before tragedy strikes.

Not to be missed are also powerful films made by the communities themselves that include:

Rasa dan Asa reveals the story of the working conditions of Indonesian domestic workers in Malaysia and how they have organised themselves to support and be in solidarity with one another.
Three films by young Orang Asli women filmmakers told from their own perspective and in their own voice about their identity and culture – Selai Kayu Yek, Klinik Ku Hutan and Rahsia Rimba. These films have premiered in a variety of film festivals, including the Native Spirit Festival (United Kingdom), Chuncheon International Film Festival (South Korea) and Asinabka Film & Media Art Festival (Canada).
Baliu Kano Kai, which concerns the Punan Ba community in Belaga, Sarawak, who rise up when their ancestral lands are leased to plantation and logging companies by the state government. The film questions whether this is a new form of colonisation.
Empangan Nenggiri: Suara Bantahan Orang Asli, about a dam being built on Temiar ancestral land in Gua Musang, Kelantan. The authorities claim that the majority of villagers affected by the project approve of it. This film shows that there is strong opposition from the tribe that has not been heard.
A festival of exchanges
In FFF tradition, all screenings will be followed by interactive discussions with the filmmakers or resource persons. Festival guests can look forward to exclusive behind-the-scenes stories, deep dives into the issues and brainstorming strategic actions to support their causes.

Filmmakers and those who are interested in telling social or human rights stories through film can avail themselves of masterclasses by distinguished world-class professionals on creative story-telling for documentaries, how to turn an investigation into a film and how to use archive materials in films.

These speakers have worked in major documentary outfits including Doc Society, Al Jazeera, and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Programme.

FFF 2022 will open with Nanfu Wang’s multiple-award-winning documentary In the Same Breath, which the festival’s director Anna Har describes as:

“The perfect opener. It effectively captures some of the most dramatic moments of the pandemic’s early days in China and the United States and reminds us that for governments everywhere, controlling the story was as crucial as controlling the virus”.

FFF2022 will close on September 17 with the latest film by Britain’s foremost political filmmaker Ken Loach. Sorry We Missed You is a story about a hard-up UK delivery driver and his wife struggling to raise a family and make ends meet in the gig economy.

Anna Har adds that these diverse stories represent a world and a nation during a difficult time and they form a part of its people’s history.
“It is a time to reflect on what happened to us, and to make sense of the challenges that are still ahead of us.”

Venue and directions:
PJ Live Arts
Block C @ Jaya One
72A Jalan Universiti,
46200 Petaling Jaya.

How to get there:
Entry into the event is strictly by registration at CloudTix.

source – The Vibes

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