Hand-picked by festival programmers at Sheffield for DAFilms, the three South East Asian films that make up our selection show the power and variety of the last edition of the festival, exemplifying three varied and wondrous ways of making non-fiction film.
The hybrid 2021 edition of the prominent British festival Sheffield DocFest has ended, proving that making a festival with that rare combination of daring forms and generous spirit is possible even today. Likewise as with this latest edition, the 2020 festival was marked, rather untypically of a British festival, by a great many highly original South East Asian films that do not conform to outside stereotypes of the region's concerns and styles, suggesting as a whole an alternate kind of South East Asian cinematic presence at a European festival. Our focus here on two independent films from Thailand best characterize the spirit of the half-lost 2020 edition of the festival. Hand-picked by festival programmers at Sheffield for DAFilms, these three films - Santikhiri Sonata by Thunska Pansittivorakul and Away by Teeraphan Ngowjeenanan - push at the boundaries of what is possible in documentary filmmaking, each suggesting new ways of seeing and reimagining the world around us.
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