Alumni Event of 2022
The Alumni Event, after the hiatus of a year (2021) due to the pandemic, was resumed this year in Budapest with the presentation of eight documentary projects either in development, in production or in post-production, which displayed some of the current professional endeavours of former students from DocNomads. The session was complemented by two special screenings and Q&A with the directors, also DocNomads alumni.
This year’s event gathered the students of the currently enrolled classes and a great number of DocNomads alumni, who also attended the screenings in Tában cinema theatre of the films made in the just completed 1st and 2nd curricular semesters.
5 FEBRUARY, SATURDAY
PREMIER KULTCAFE, CONFERENCE HALL
Moderator: PÉTER KEREKES (Member of the Academic Board)
10:30-15:00 - Presentations of work-in-progress documentary projects
VIV LI (DN7, China, director)
Project title: The Two Mountains Weighing Down My Chest
Synopsis: Raised up as a tomboy during the conservative 1990s in China, Viv Li (31) now lives in the progressive city of Berlin, and she couldn’t be more troubled by the pressure of sexual and gender exploration. Following her encounters and her journey back to Beijing, the film takes a witty yet sharp look on how these two polarised cultures and political systems are affecting the way we live, while providing a humorous dialogue between the two societies and within Viv Li herself.
MIRNA EVERHARD (DN6, Netherlands, producer for Serendipity Films, BE)
BAKAR CHERKEZISHVILI (DN7, Georgia, writer and director)
Project title: Cherry Trees on Fire
Synopsis: Despite their clashing personalities, transgender women Madonna and Veronica decide to work together to escape their transphobic home country Georgia. On the road to seek political asylum in Belgium, their journey slowly transforms into a quest for spiritual self-discovery and acceptance.
WERONIKA ANNA JURKIEWICZ (DN6, Poland, director)
Project title: Eco-innovations (10x10 Educational Documentary TV Series)
Synopsis: From protein powder made from waste products of rapeseed oil production, to turning plastic bottles into jet fuel, Polish scientists, entrepreneurs and designers are trying to introduce ECO-INNOVATIVE solutions to slow down or reduce the impact of climate change. This program shows their work, motivations, innovative approach and impact on the development of science and economy. Each of the ten episodes is dedicated to one environmental problem and one innovative solution.
DANIAL SHAH (DN7, Pakistan, director)
Project title: Twenty Miles Apart
Synopsis: Families longing to reunite after 50 years of separation between the disputed border of India and Pakistan. This inter-generational film is about how geopolitics interfere with private lives.
DÉR ÁSIA (DN1, Hungary-Slovakia, director)
Project title: I Haven’t Died
Synopsis: A successful, middle aged gallery owner attempts to find his true needs while facing pancreatic cancer. Through his intimate story the film also portrays the existential struggle of the modern world.
ALEXANDER SUSSMANN (DN7, Germany, director)
Project title: I Used to Be the Mayor
Synopsis: On the collapse of the USSR, Gábor Demszky became Mayor of Budapest and helped turn a totalitarian state into a vibrant liberal democracy. Now his successes are all but forgotten. Under Viktor Orbán, Hungarian politics has regressed 30 years. Against the backdrop of its 2022 elections, this film finds 68-year-old Gábor reflecting on his place in Hungary’s history and mistakes he made – politically and personally – as he considers how he wants to be remembered. As he seeks to write the final chapter of his story, he’ll join protests to stop Orbán’s reelection; fight for his political legacy by helping society’s vulnerable; and try to show the family he sidelined for his career that he’s worth another chance. But how much can an aging man really change… in himself and in society at large?
MARIANA CADENAS (DN3, Venezuela, director)
Project title: Exit Tale (animated documentary)
Synopsis: There are no limits to a child’s imagination. It runs free and is able to reframe almost anything into an adventure. Exit Tale is an animated documentary that fuses imagination and reality. It is based on the story of Daniel, a Venezuelan 8-year-old child fleeing his home in order to survive.
SIMONA JERALA (DN3, Slovenia, director)
Project title: Where Do Butterflies Sleep
Synopsis: A poetic and melancholic film about how time is passing away, stealing from me a precious relationship I have with my father. I intercut mostly observational shots of my father (93) working around the house in different seasons, with my own presence, bits of our telephone conversation and narration.
15:30-16:30 - Screening of My Uncle Tudor, followed by a Q&A with Olga Lucovnicova (DN7, Moldova).
The film had its World premiere at 71st Berlinale 2021 winning the Golden Bear for Best Short Film, and also the European Film Award for Best Short Film at the 34th European Film Awards 2021, among several other prizes in festivals worldwide.
Synopsis: In intimate close-ups the camera captures an idyllic scene that seems to belong to a different era: ripe cherries, blackand- white photographs and a summerhouse full of memories of the seemingly carefree childhoods of several generations. Old aunties talk about the past and Uncle Tudor, too, answers the filmmaker’s questions. Little by little, she confronts him with her trauma, for which he is responsible.
16:45-19:00 - Screening of From the Wild Sea, followed by a Q&A with Robin Petré (DN2, Denmark).
The feature-length documentary had its World premiere at 71st Berlinale 2021.
Synopsis: When the glacial terminus broke, it marked the beginning of one of many waves.” Storms unleash along Europe’s coastlines, taking their toll. Volunteers are preparing for winter. Injured seal pups are nurtured with liquid food and warmed with infra-red lamps. Oil-soiled swans are subjected to foam baths. One stares into the eye of a giant stranded whale. And the whale looks back. In poetic images, Robin Petré traces the gaze between humans and wild animals, narrates the close interweaving of habitats and closes the cycle from perpetrator to helper. Laying bare the ambivalent relationship between society and threatened eco-systems, the haunting imagery patiently and respectfully opens a space for deep reflection. A relentless gaze into the abyss of the Anthropocene.
19:10-19:30 – A short introduction about NAANY collective by Nicolina Sangs (DN3, Germany).
After our graduation a few years ago, a common dream was born: to share a creative and inclusive space within nature, where identity is fluid, with cinema at its heart. A space where we can grow our aubergines, invite our neighbours to share a baba ghanouj and discuss the politics behind it. We will share with you what has happened since then, how we grew our annual Naanu retreats and discuss further steps we envision.