Cinemalaya Showcases Acclaimed Asian Indies

AWARD-winning Asian indie films will be showcased in the Visions of Asia section of the 2021 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival on August 6 – September 5 that will be streamed online on the KTX.PH platform.

Five films, all NETPAC awardees, will be shown.  NETPAC or the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema or NETPAC is a worldwide organization managed entirely by cinephiles who have worked tirelessly and selflessly without remuneration over a period of 25 years to promote Asian cinema.  Curated by NETPAC President Ashley Ratnavibhushana, Visions of Asia this year offers the following films:

A Dark, Dark Man by Adilkhan Yerzhanov is a drama about the investigation of a boy’s murder. Detective Bekzat wants to wrap the investigation quickly since a phoney suspect is already “caught” by local police officers. But when a journalist from the city comes to supervise the case, everything falls apart. Now Bekzat for the first time in his career must conduct a real investigation, following all the necessary procedures. The film director Yerzhanov is a multi-awarded film director and scriptwriter, and one of Kazakhstan’s foremost filmmakers. This film is proving to be his most acclaimed film to date, having won awards in important film festivals around the world.

Bandar Band by Manijeh Hekmat has been shown in 20 film festivals around the world as part of the main competition or as a special screening. It won the NETPAC Prize in South Korea’s Ulju Mountain Film Festival in April 2021. In this drama, some Iranian women singers are going to enter an unofficial competition in a coffee shop in Tehran. Pregnant Mahla along with the other members of Bandar Band, her husband and one of their closest friends start their journey to Tehran from a southern province just when they have lost all they had in the flood. They still keep their hopes alive, however every road they take leads to a dead-end in a flood-stricken land. They intend to go to Tehran but they wonder if it is just another turn around a vicious circle. The director of the film, Hekmat, is one of the prominent figures in political cinema in Iran. 

Jazz Kissa Basie: Swifty’s Ballad by Tetsuya Hoshino is a candid portrait of Shōji Sugawara, whose lifelong pursuit to recreate the best audio sound imaginable has, for years, attracted audiophiles from Japan and around the world to his coffeehouse. Hoshino, who made his directorial debut with this film, says: Recorded music by jazz legends such as Count Basie, Miles David and Thelonious Monk are featured in this documentary. To do justice to the sound, a traditional and venerated “Nagura” analog recording machine was used in the film to capture the highest quality audio from Sugawara’s record playing in the right environment that is Jazz Kissa Basie. Whether the viewer knows nothing of jazz or lives for it, this documentary will be able to draw audiences into the world of jazz through the fascinating mirror that Shōji Sugawara provides.

Mosul My Home by Adalet R. Garmiany, which won the NETPAC Jury Prize at the 43rd Moscow International Film Festival in April 2021, is an artistically outstanding work that chronicles the journey into the peaceful, abundant and warm-hearted past of Mosul, now in ruins.  The unanimous choice of the jury, it follows the hero’s feet, plunging into the shadow of his image on the wall, contemplating the once prosperous, but now almost destroyed spiritual, historical and cultural shrines, the viewer, on the one hand, touches upon the former greatness of Mosul, and on the other, realizes the monstrous consequences of the war.  This documentary journey is filled with love and compassion for its city, and is an eloquent manifestation of the power of art, memory and humanity.  The film is the directorial debut of Garmiany, a Sufi Dervish and an experimental artist originally from Iraqi Kurdistan. 

Sthalpuran (Chronicle of Space) by Akshay Indikar tells the story of eight-year-old Dighu who is exploring his new internal and external environments after his mother and elder sister moved to his grandparents’ village on the Konkan coast following his father’s disappearance.  The boy seeks refuge in his imagination and diary entries as he deals with loneliness, loss, change, alienation and pain.  A meditative and poetic piece that presents Dighu’s delicate childhood in the new place.  Director Indikar, who has won recognition on the international film ciricuit, is one of the leading directors using the Marathi language in his films.

Tickets for Visions of Asia films are priced at Php150. Get your tickets at

Follow the official CCP and Cinemalaya social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on the Cinemalaya Film Festival screening schedules and other offerings.  Visit the CCP website ( for more information.

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