Here are synopses of the films for the Free Spirit Film Festival 2016. The schedule of screenings is here.
Directed by Akshay Raheja India 2016 Drama 12:02m Hindi Festival screening on Sunday 30 October
A social commentary/narrative film that revolves around the story of a newly married woman who is dealing with her husband’s domestic violence while being bound by the societal norms about marriages in India and the responsibilities of having to play the roles of being a good wife and daughter.
Directed by Svet Doytchinov Canada 2015 Comedy 09:29m English Festival screening on Sunday 30 October
Conspiracy theorists are wrong. Extraterrestrials are not between us. They are on us. They are… our hair.
Directed by Tomislav Zaja Croatia 2016 Documentary 01:12:34m Croatian Festival screening on Saturday 29 October
Free follows the path to freedom of a group of people with intellectual disabilities who are locked away for decades in Croatian institutions. We watch what it’s like to be isolated, deprived of privacy and of one's rights to make decisions regarding one's own life. One day they are released, and a new beginning awaits each of them: Ivan has always wanted to be a police officer, Enes buys a video camera and starts to document his everyday life, Tina and Kruno want to get married, Mirko and Tomo dream of becoming football coaches at their favourite local club, Silvia starts singing in the church choir, Andjelko is trying to find a girl and a job ... The camera observes them, capturing their perspective on the biggest change of their lives while they try to fulfil their long-postponed dreams.
Directed by Fuad Khater Saudi Arabia 2016 Drama 3:40m Arabic Festival screening on Sunday 30 October
A young man returns to his family after a long absence to get his college degree. He is shocked when his mother does not recognise him because of Alzheimer's disease. He feels sad for this, but he decides to do something for her. He tries reaching his mother through their old memories. Only love heals Alzheimer's.
Humans of Varanasi
Directed by Hartley Woolf UK/India 2016 Short 13:32m Language Festival screening on Thursday 27 October
Kunsang Tenzing is a Tibetan photographer living in McLeod Ganj. In December 2015 he visited Varanasi with film-maker Hartley Woolf and a team of Korean volunteers to take photographs of local low-income families and donate the printed photographs to them. The film focuses on two large families with whom Kunsang has become friendly over previous years, each living in shanty housing near to the river in Varanasi, and each surviving off of as little as 500 rupees per day. Kunsang shares his thoughts on a practical approach towards helping others, and reflects upon the success of his project in Varanasi.
Directed by Sudhanshu Sharma India 2016 Feature 01:10:16m Hindi Festival screening on Friday 28 October
In the Malwa-Nimar region of Western Madhya Pradesh, India, 'Kalichaat' is the name for a kind of exceptionally hard rock. Encountering it while digging for water is considered no less than a disaster in this often drought-affected region. At the same time, it also presents a ray of hope because it is believed that beneath 'Kalichaat' lies boundless water, if it can be broken through to reach it.
My Life I Don't Want
Directed by Nyan Kyal Say Myanmar 2016 Animation 11:54m English Festival screening on Thursday 27 October
A short animated film about the life of a Myanmar girl, inspired by true stories.
Directed by Andréa Prado Brazil 2016 Fiction 13:22m Portuguese Festival screening on Saturday 29 October
Mother and daughter, complicit in a mutual love, share their routines on a deserted beach. The arrival of daughter's adolescence generates a confusion of feelings of loss and fear, face to break this new phase of life.
Directed by Abbas Khademalrasoul (Sam) Iran 2016 Drama 10:05m Persian Festival screening on Monday 31 October
A young man sadly throws a ring into the river. We learn that his wife has had an accident. The man comes back home. He is struggling with memories of an argument with his wife. The young lady's ghost, wearing a wet dress, enters the man's house and puts the ring on the desk and whispers -- the man wakes up and ...
Directed by Lida Chan Cambodia 2016 Documentary 01:03 Central Khmer Festival screening on Sunday 30 October
Red Clothes is a sordid story of profound indifference to individual rights and humanity at the cost of a fashion revolution of contemporary Cambodia, where an exodus of young people from the countryside is staffing the garment industry in the capital city as a cheap workforce. The story centers on the family of a young garment worker who is fighting the impending tragedy of possible amputation of his leg due to bullet injuries during a workers’ demonstration. As the family sinks further into gloom, the starving labourers, ironically, toil with helms and needles for bumper output of avant-garde apparel to send them off to the insatiable West.
Directed by Ishan Shukla India 2016 Short 13:22m English Festival screening on Monday 31 October
In the city of bag-heads, a senate member faces a tough choice between political career, brothels, and love for a mysterious woman. A choice that will transform his life and the city in unimaginable ways.
The School Bag
Directed by Dheeraj Jindal India 2016 Drama 15:00m Hindi/Urdu Festival screening on Friday 28 October
The bond between a mother and her son is indeed a special one. It was the same between Farooq and his Mother. They reside in the small town of Peshawar, Pakistan. Farooq, a child with a simple demand, wants a new school bag on his birthday. But his mother, in spite of her love and affection, seems to be unfazed by her child’s plea. Unknown to Farooq, there is something waiting for him on his birthday.
Directed by Nagaraju Rachakonda India 2016 Experimental 15:52m English/Telugu Festival screening on Saturday 29 October
The story revolves around the philosophical journey of Charvak, 15 years old, who is confused about what's good for him and what is not. The reasons for his confusion are his age, the people around him, a book, drugs, and his intuition. On one particular day he sees people with masks chasing him. Who are they and why are they chasing me, are the questions of Charvak. Ironically, the very causes of his confusion provide him with an answer.
Directed by Shreekara Bhat India 2016 Experimental 31m Hindi/English Festival screening on Thursday 27 October
We humans who call our self a superior being, look at that enormous light that lights everything around us and this entire world, that light which is very pure, so vibrant and beautiful, we try to look at it in the horizon where sky meets the ocean, we try to find it in midst of tome and treaties, we search for it inside the four walls and the static statue, we try to find it in some artificial nostrum which is just an another beautiful lie, that light in search of it we travelled miles around, turned hundreds of pages, fooled our self becoming pilgrim, but at last it was within.
The Take Over
Directed by Jennifer Alphonses India 2015 Documentary 01:00:00m English Festival screening on Thursday 27 October
Cinema is one of the greatest art forms of our time, providing popular entertainment in the preeminent forum for ideas and self-expression. Since the time of its invention in the late 1880s, cinema has used moving images to create amazing works. Movies have helped us share our experiences and dreams. Photochemical film has been the exclusive format used to capture, develop, project, and store moving images for over 100 years. But over the past two decades, a new form of digital filmmaking has emerged, creating a ground-breaking evolution in the medium ... a total transformation from analog to digital.
Directed by Hyungmin Jung Korea, Republic of 2016 Documentary 01:20:30m Korean/English Festival screening on Monday 31 October
A man is travelling in the Himalayas, and looking out the window of a Japanese restaurant finds himself looking at a photo of a Japanese traveller in a missing poster on the wall. The next day, he goes to the Japanese Embassy in a taxi, and his journey ends. Then we see him one year ago, when he is leaving for his father's hometown in Korea. His father had died when he was only one year old. In his journey in the Himalayas, the man is walking into deep sorrow, but in Korea, he is healing his pain little by little.
Directed by Natashaa Iyer India 2016 Experimental 12:51m English Festival screening on Saturday 29 October
A fine distinctness of manhood comes in the aftermath of a rape victim's life.
The Whole World
Directed by Julián Quintanilla Spain 2016 Fiction 29:53m Spanish Festival screening on Monday 31 October
As he does every year, Julián visits his dead mother in the village cemetery. She appears to him and they make plans... more or less 'together': she devises them and he obeys. But this year, Julián is going to get a very special request from his mother that will surprise... the whole world.
Directed by Dennis Miller US 2015 Animation 09:34m English Festival screening on Friday 28 October
Nine short movements exploring versions of a single image. The music creates an affect for the abstract images and propels the piece forward.
Directed by Marco Capriotti Italy 2016 Short 18:12m Italian Festival screening on Sunday 30 October
As children our minds daydream so easily that we feel like we have wings. As we grow up we tend to forget this wonderful state of mind, but our wings will never leave us -- they will always be there, waiting to be used again.