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DocedgeKolkata 2020 Moments

Day 1, March 2

Introductory Session

The language of motion pictures is a universal form of expression that transcends all boundaries of dialect and culture and this year’s DocedgeKolkata, Asian Forum for Documentary began with a simple yet interesting take on mother tongue.

Shortly after the registration process the participants, observers, tutors and the DRI team joined for an ice-breaking session where everyone were asked to introduce themselves in their own mother tongue. Some chose phrases while other sang, and soon a medley of languages was ringing through the Bhasha Bhawan auditorium at the National Library, Alipore, Kolkata.

Inaugural Ceremony

“We, the documentary film makers, are the poets of the film industry. Nobody wants us here but we do this anyway. We are family”, was Mr. Niels Pagh Andersen’s insightful commentary on the world of documentary filmmaking as he was felicitated along with other esteemed faculty members by Pranabranjan Ray, Vice President DRI and Friso Maecker, Director, Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata.

Opening Film


Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov
Macedonia | 87 minutes

The Oscar-nominated documentary Honeyland is a portrait of the delicate balance between humankind and nature, a glimpse at a fast disappearing way of life, and an unforgettable testament to one extraordinary woman’s resilience.

The film left the audience introspecting on the human intervention, role and responsibilities towards nature.

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Day 2, March 3

Narrative Lab 1

The second day of DocedgeKolkata 2020 began with the first round of narrative labs. The participants and observers were split into 6 groups and 2 to 3 tutors were assigned to each group. Filled with intent of exploring the stories and an urge to learn with an open mind for critical analysis, the participants presented their projects. They received invaluable feedbacks by the tutors who encouraged them to be innovative and mentored them to harp on the core strength of their stories.

During the first session, they gave enough time to the participants to put forward their projects in order to delve deeper into creative ideas. There was an exchange of critical dialogues among the participants, observers, and tutors, which gave the participants comprehensive insights on their projects.

Narrative Lab 2

A thorough interactive discussion ensued on the second session of the narrative labs. Participants worked on the feedback and shaped their trailers while working on their precise presentation with the significant experience gained from the first session. By the end of the second session participants added nuances to major characters with greater clarity.

Evening Screening

The Look Of Silence

Joshua Oppenheimer
Denmark, Indonesia, Norway, Finland, UK | 103 minutes

The Look of Silence is about the Indonesian mass killings during sixties. Through Oppenheimer’s footage of perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered, as well as the identities of the killers. This unprecedented film initiates and bears witness to the collapse of fifty years of silence through the journey of the victim’s brother. The film was introduced by its editor Niels Pagh Andersen.
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Day 3, March 4

Narrative Lab 3

The third day of DocedgeKolkata 2020 saw the participants almost pitch-ready in their presentations in the Narrative Labs. The reworked presentations had made a difference and many seemed to have discovered the right direction they wished to take in voicing their thoughts.


‘Why documentary films? Because filmmakers go out in reality which is much more complex than we think it is. Granules of reality is always beyond our apprehensions.’

On this note Niels Pagh Andersen provokes to invite conversation through his masterclass. Sharing his experience as an editor to an audience of new generation storytellers, Niels said, “If we don’t make our own stories, the audience will make their own, and hence the authors’ focus should be on emotional guidance to the viewers by creating order in chaos.’ Three hours of illuminating deliberation on nuances of editing through evolving tension and emotion in the process of storytelling was concluded with a standing ovation to the master.

Andersen resolved the masterclass with an inspirational embrace to the community by advising the filmmakers to be ‘an integral part of the truth’.

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Evening Screening

Our Time Machine

Yang Sun and S. Leo Chiang
China | 81 minutes

When artist Maleonn realizes that his father suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, he creates “Papa’s Time Machine”–a magical, autobiographical stage performance featuring life-size mechanical puppets. Through the production of this play, the two men confront their mortality before time runs out and memories are lost forever.

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Day 4, March 5

Visual Lab 1 and 2

The final 22 projects that made to the forum divided in two sets were split between the Visual Lab tutors Niels Pagh Andersen, Ollie Huddleston, Emma Davie, Audrius Stonys, John Webster and Sean McAllister. The Visual Lab helped filmmakers develop their trailers and effective visual approaches to foreground the essence of the story in order.

One-on-One Mentoring Session 1 and 2

This year the one-on-one mentoring session ran parallely with the visual labs. Hence one set of participants attended the visual labs while the other were put under the guidance of mentors Gary Kam, Karolina Lidin, Kristine Ann Skaret, Ashley Burgess, Ahmet Gurata, Ryota Kotani and Paul Pauwels for the one-on-one sessions. Here filmmakers were groomed and given valuable tips on reworking their presentations and precise follow up responses when they need to elaborate on the deeper aspects of stories, issues and characters during presentation.

Evening Screening


Ksenia Okhapkina
Estonia, Latvia, Russia | 60 minutes

The film, set in a northwestern industrial town Apatity in Russia, which was previously a concentration camp, reveals the mechanism that entices human beings to voluntarily become a resource to the state. A Nietzschean treat, the documentary asks the core existential question: is a human being ever born free?

The screening was followed by a Q/A session with the co-producer Uldis Cekulis, VFS Films, Latvia

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Day 5, March 6

Visual Lab 3

The third session of Visual Lab was mostly for projects that required more work and needed further finetuning as well. The mentors selected the projects and devoted some more time with the filmmakers to fix the final trailer.

One-On-One Mentoring Session 3

Mentors had further valuable exchange with the projects and helped them shape oral presentation. There were also open sessions for filmmakers who needed last minute insights to prepare better for the Pitching season

Special Session Paul Pauwels

Enriching the session with some practical advices about pitching Paul explained the do’s and don’t for a pitch. He eased the fear of judgment of the participants by assuring them that the audience judge their projects and not them as persons. He advised the participants to know exactly what they are going to say, along with the `when` and `why` and asked them to edit the pitch in order to have an impressive pitch within stipulated 7 minutes.


Maria Bozzi, Senior Director, Global Media Makers, Film Independent, USA

During the first half Maria Bozzi presented the Global Media Makers, an initiative by Film Independent and the US State Department to cultivate a fostering growth amongst independent filmmakers. The objective of this program is to provide equal opportunities to filmmakers from those regions where producing an independent film is comparatively difficult than in the US. Bozzi then went on to narrate how they could avail the services and offers provided by Global Media Makers.

Patrick Hurley, Director, Marketplace and Talent Sheffield Doc/Fest, UK

Patrick spoke about what goes into actually producing a documentary film keeping the coproduction possibilities in mind. As the Director of Marketplace and Talent at Sheffield Doc/Fest, Patrick drew on his own personal experiences when describing if a film is worth producing! By saying “the story that is trying to be told and the story that should be told, that is where a producer comes in,” he stimulated the participants with a new perspective to look at while talking about what actually pulls a producer towards a story.

Evening Screening

For Sama

Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts
Syria, UK, USA | 95 minutes


The film is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. It takes the form of a letter from Waad Al-Kateab, a 26-year-old Syrian mother, to her daughter Sama recorded in the last days of the devastating battle for Aleppo, Syria

The screening was followed by a Q/A with Salma Abdalla, Autlook, Austria

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Day 6, March 7

Pitching Season 1

The participants had been polishing their respective pitches and trailers through the mentoring sessions by the distinguished tutors and finally the big day had arrived! Moderated by Paul Pauwels and Karolina Lidin ten projects were presented on the first day of the pitching season before a panel of 19 decision makers comprising of renowned international and national broadcasters, producers, foundations, Sales Agents and institutions in a pact auditorium. The projects were responded favourably and also received valuable feedbacks from the panelists.

One-on-one Session with Panelists

The second half of the day was for individual meetings with the decision makers. While most of the projects had their schedule filled with back-to-back meetings these one-on-one sessions gave them additional time to explain their project ideas better and also received important guidance from the decision makers.

Evening Screening

The Cave

Feras Fayyad
Denmark, Syria | 107minutes


Oscar nominee Feras Fayyad (“Last Men in Aleppo”) delivers an unflinching story of the Syrian war with his powerful new documentary, The Cave that narrates the female perspective of the scenario. The film paints a stirring portrait of courage, resilience and female solidarity.

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Day 7, March 8

Pitch Season 2

The final day of the pitching presented the remainng 12 projects. The first half was moderated by Karolina Lidin while for the second half Paul Pauwels took over. The hall was brimming with positive energy and a this boosted the spirit of the participants. Even some of the projects received promising contributions from the panelists on the spot.

One-on-one session with Panelists

The second batch of the participants were ready with their meeting schedules and similar to the first session, here too some of the projects had meetings throughout the entire one-on-one sessions. They shared their project ideas and creative treatments of the story for insightful professional advices.

Special Screening

In The Absence

Yi Seung Jun
South Korea & USA | 29 minutes


In the Absence focuses entirely on the event of the sinking of the Korean ferry Sewol, in which more than 300 passengers and crew lost their lives, with video and sound recordings made on the day in question.

The screening was followed by a Q/A with Gary Byung-seok Kam, Producer, South Korea.

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Closing Ceremony: A Celebratory Moment for Documentary

DocedgeKolkata, Asian Forum for Documentary 2020 concluded with the Award Ceremony. It was a very emotional moment for everyone. Sharmishtha Sarkar, Programme Coordinator at Goethe-Institut, Kolkata delivered a vote of thanks. Bidding adieu to all Nilotpal Majumdar concluded the event with a message to spread the spirit of storytelling.

And soon it was time for announcing the awards conducted by one of the DocedgeKolkata tutors Prof. Ahmet Gürata.

The winners for each category are as follows:

  1. Whickers’ Docedge Bursary - Children of the Mist directed by Diem Ha Le, Vietnam
  2. IDFA Docedge Project Award - Against The Tide by Sarvnik Kaur, India
  3. Griffith Film School Awards - Dear Juliet directed by Herng Shinn Cheng, Singapore and Gross National Happiness directed by Arun Bhattarai, Bhutan
  4. Dhaka DocLab Award - They Call Her ‘Mafia’ directed by Kushal Batunge, India
  5. Cherrypix Movies - DocedgeKolkata Award for Post-Production Support - An Insignia of a Forced Winter directed by Ajimesh Saha, India
  6. Cherrypix Movies - DocedgeKolkata Award - Co-production support - They Call Her ‘Mafia’ directed by Kushal Batunge, India
  7. Docaviv Award - Airborne directed by Shaunak Sen, India
  8. DMZ Docs Fund/Industry Award - Prabha and The Road to Delhi directed by Vinita Negi, India
  9. Global Film Initiative Award - An Insignia of a Forced Winter directed by Ajimesh Saha, India
  10. Tribeca Film Institute - TFI-Docedge Award - Gross National Happiness directed by Arun Bhattarai, Bhutan

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