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Where Is My Home? China Dir: Li Ruijun

China’s independent film sector, including Beijing-based production outfit Heaven Pictures. The company is now producing Li’s Where Is My Home?, which will tell a simple but powerful story about the vanishing grasslands and the disappearing nomadic lifestyle they support. The story is about two young brothers of the Yugur


ethnic minority in Northwest China who board at school while their parents lead a nomadic life on the grasslands, visiting once a month. As the grasslands shrink due to development, the parents travel further to herd cattle and so visit their sons less and less. When the boys set out to find their grandfather, they discover he has died and their father is now working as a miner. “We were impressed by Li’s

‘I want to tell a story about the change of our environment and its huge impact

in our hearts’ Li Ruijun

simple and unadorned narrative style and his ability to touch

everyone’s heart. In Old Donkey, the pictures are also beautifully shot,” says producer Yang Na of Heaven Pictures, a company whose credits include Hao Jie’s Single Man which took the special jury prize at Tokyo Filmex last year. In pre-production, Where Is My Home? will be shot in

HD and with a cast of non-professional actors. “This is a story inspired by my childhood memories where I observed the deteriorating condition of the nomads,” Li says. “I want to tell a story about the change of our environment and its huge impact in our hearts.”


Budget $180,000 Finance raised to date $72,000 Contact Yang Na, Heaven Pictures, delianayang@hotmail. com /


Budget $500,000 Finance raised to date $50,000 Contact Sidharth Srinivasan, Reel Illusion Films,

i Ruijun’s Old Donkey won the best film prize at last year’s China Independent Film Festival (CIFF) and brought the 27-year-old director to the attention of

The Penance India Dir: Sidharth Srinivasan


ollowing his critically acclaimed second feature, Soul Of Sand, Delhi-based film-maker Sidharth Srinivasan is working on a macabre horror film. The story begins

as a dying woman spends her final days in the holy city of Varanasi, on the banks of the Ganges, with her son and daughter. Rather than dying, she slips into a coma which sets off a deadly conflict between the daughter, who wants to help her mother die, and the son, who will stop at nothing to keep her alive. The horror is derived from the grisly depths to which

her son sinks, but the film also has a metaphysical angle as it explores the boundaries between life and death, the sacred and the profane. Srinivasan also describes it as a chamber drama in its examination of a family in crisis. “I’m trying to balance the style of ‘cinema fantastique’

with an Indian horror film — which has never been done because most Indian horrors have been J-horror rip-offs or have a B-grade approach,” explains Srinivasan who also wrote the script. He describes Varanasi as the perfect setting: many Hindus travel there in their dying days to be cremated, and the city can be beautiful and grotesque at the same time. He also says the film will be graphic in its depiction of sex and violence, which is unusual in Indian cinema: “I’m aware this would play better to an international arthouse audience, but in India I’m not sure what the reaction will be.” The project has a UK producer, Pete Tombs, who runs

UK video label Mondo Macabro and co-produced 2007 Pakistani zombie film Hell’s Ground. Srinivasan has raised private investment of $50,000 and is now looking for the rest of the budget, co-producers and a sales agent. Soul Of Sand, which was a Hubert Bals Fund recipient,

premiered at Toronto and was picked up by Global Film Initiative for North American release.

Liz Shackleton DREAM STATE

Budget $500,000 Finance raised to date $50,000 Contact Bui Thac Chuyen, BBB Art and Media,

March 23, 2011 Screen International at Filmart/HAF/HKIFF 9 n

DreamState Vietnam Dir: Bui Thac Chuyen


irector Bui Thac Chuyen is set to break traditional Vietnamese taboos with Dream State, a frank portrayal of sexuality in modern-day Hanoi.

The film follows Du, a repressed 28-year-old librarian

who experiences a sexual awakening which involves her prostitute neighbour Vi, friendly linguistics researcher Vu — who has a family — and security guard Ban, with whom she shares an animal attraction but little else. Bui Thac says he plans to make the low-budget Dream

State feel like a documentary, using hand-held cameras and shooting in natural light. He will be following realistic characters in an intimate way, through familiar settings in Hanoi. Night Run, Bui Thac’s 2000 graduation short from the

Hanoi Institute of Theatre and Cinema, won a Cinefondation award at Cannes. His feature work includes Vietnam-Japan co-production Living In Fear, a post-war story of a bigamist who dismantles landmines to support his two families. The 2006 film travelled to festivals such as Rotterdam and the Montreal World Film Festival. His 2009 Vietnam-France co-production Adrift, dealing with young people’s issues in modern Vietnam, won the Fipresci award at Venice in 2009 and screened at festivals including Toronto and Bangkok. Dream State will be produced by Tran Ngoc, who has

worked on feature, documentary and TV projects for the state-run Feature Film Studio as well as on foreign productions shooting on location in Vietnam. Recent projects include The Last Airbender and I Am That Man. Dream State is to be the first feature produced by BBB

Art and Media, a company Bui Thac set up to gain more creative and financial control over his films. The project will be at HAF looking for financing.

Jean Noh

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