FreedomFilmFest 2022 (FFF2022) is back from 9 to 17 September 2022 after a two-year hiatus and will showcase 34 socially-themed films from all over the world that were made just before and during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Taking place at the PJ Live Arts auditorium in Petaling Jaya, Selangor in Malaysia, FFF2022 will screen films that bring a diverse and critical perspective on the theme, ‘Pandemik Dua Darjat‘ (Pandemic of Inequality). FFF2022 is organised by the Freedom Film Network (FFN), a not-for-profit body established to support and develop social documentary filmmaking within the context of freedom of expression and values contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in Malaysia.
The festival will feature 12 Malaysian films supported by FFN that were made during the pandemic. Of these, four films were produced from FFN’s annual grant programmes in 2021 and 2022:
A close-up into the life of Irene, the filmmaker’s 79-year-old aunt who lives alone in a increasingly gentrified part of Georgetown. During the Covid-19 lockdowns, Irene befriends a gecko, feeding it lunch. Researcher on environmental and urban policies, also filmmaker Evelyn Teh’s entry was a FreedomFilmFest Grant recipient in 2021.
Evelyn explains: “The city we design today has more of an impact on the latter stages of our lives than we realise. The pandemic has amplified this urban inequality.
Illustrator Amirul Ramthan and fellow artist Fafa share their personal journey about the social stigmas faced by persons living with mental health conditions like ADHD – an unspoken struggle faced by many Malaysians.
Journalist Rahmah Pauzi returns to her old secondary school to document the struggles of its under-resourced but passionate veteran teachers to help their pupils who were unable to use remote learning when the pandemic shuttered classrooms.
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.
FFF2022 will also be screening powerful grassroots films from communities.
Rasa dan Asa
The film investigates the working conditions of domestic workers from Indonesia in Malaysia and how they have organised themselves to support 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 have premiered globally at the Native Spirit Festival (United Kingdom), Chuncheon International Film Festival (South Korea) and Asinabka Film & Media Art Festival (Canada).
Baliu Kano Kai
A film about the Punan Ba community in Belaga, Sarawak, covers an uprising when their ancestral lands are leased to plantation and logging companies by the state government. The film questions this new form of colonisation.
Empangan Nenggiri: Suara Bantahan Orang Asli
A dam built on Temiar ancestral land in Gua Musang, Kelantan on the East coast of Malaysia, where authorities there claim that the majority of villagers have approved construction! This film shows strong opposition from the region’s last surviving Orang Asli indigenous communities.
A festival of exchanges
True to FFF tradition, all in-person screenings will be followed by interactive discussions with the filmmakers and resource persons. Festival guests can look forward to exclusive behind-the-scenes stories, deep dives into the issues and brainstorm strategic actions to support their causes.
Filmmakers who are interested in telling social or human rights stories through film can participate in masterclasses facilitated 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”.Anna Har, FFF2022 Festival Director
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.”Anna Har, FFF2022 Festival Director
For full film details and programmes click here.
Venue and directions:
PJ Live Arts: Block C @ Jaya One, 72A Jalan Universiti, 46200 Petaling Jaya.
How to get there: http://www.pjlivearts.my/getting-here/
Entry into the event is strictly by registration at CloudTix. Click here to register.
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