The Festival opens today (Nov. 02) with the theme ‘Documentary Bears Witness’.
The non-fiction films from Sri Lanka are Sri Lanka, Ghosts of War, directed by journalist Vanessa Dougnac and Fabrice Launay, and Demons in Paradise, by Jude Ratnam.
Sri Lanka, ghosts of war (Sri Lanka, les fantômes de la guerre) is filmed after seven years of the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka and the crew travels through the North of the country searching for testimonies and remains of the conflict. The documentary tells about the mechanism of a so-called war on terror. It offers the victims the possibility to go against the official version of a perfectly-led military operation, and speak about their own dreadful experiences of the war.
In Demons in Paradise, director Ratnam takes a train from South to North of Sri Lanka – the same train he took as a five-year-old child in 1983, revisiting the traces of the violence of the 26-year-old war, which turned the Tamil fight for freedom into self-destructive terrorism. He unveils the repressed memories of his compatriots, opening the door to a new era and making peace possible again. Demons in Paradise is the result of ten years of work.
FSA’17, now in its 20th year, will screen 63 documentaries over four days from November 2 to 5. Selected from over 300 submissions, the festival will showcase the best of non-fiction films on South Asia that address contemporary issues in compelling ways.
Of the 63 films, 45 are in the competitive section and will vie for five awards with a net cash prize worth USD 5,500. A jury comprising of Editor / Publisher Kunda Dixit of Nepal, filmmaker Farjad Nabi of Pakistan and senior journalist Rajashri Dasgupta of India will select the winners.
This year, the festival features two special sections – one on ‘Student Films’ that has been carried over from FSA’15 and the other on ‘Documentaries of Dissent’. Six films by the next generation of filmmakers will be screened under the student film category. Twelve non-fiction films, either banned or highlighting dissent within the region, will be screened under the ‘Documentaries of Dissent’ section that aims to open up confined media spaces and push the bar on freedom of expression in Southasia.