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Short works by Stephanie Comilang, Simon Liu, Riar Rizaldi and Shireen Seno.

Ghostly Revenants reflects on image-making as historical transmission, giving voice to personal, cultural, and regional realities enmeshed in colonial legacies. These works bear witness to entanglements between people, land, space, technologies and memory that texture understandings of our current moment. 

Happy Valley, dir. Simon Liu (12 min)
British Colonial-era structures overlook scenes in the aftermath of civil unrest as Hong Kongers work to retain some semblance of normality. The sound of petty arguments from local TVB soap-operas of the 80s are put in concert with captive animals, political graffiti and desolate highways. Suspension cables and ship anchor lines reveal a fragile urban anatomy; the structures that keep the city moving along. As civic functions grind to a halt, the limits of our empathy and control come into question. As the days teeter toward an uncertain future, Happy Valley cinematically probes the role of the so-called “little things”.  A rendering of the perseverance of spirit in Hong Kong – an attempt at irony that can’t help but be emotional.

“In Hong Kong, echoes of resistance and turmoil are sensitively captured on 16mm in this poetic rumination  of public spaces and everyday life in a metropolis in upheaval.” — ND/NF 

Come to Me, Paradise (Lumapit Sa Akin, Paraiso), dir. Stephanie Comilang (25 min)
Lumapit Sa Akin, Paraiso (Come to Me Paradise) is a science fiction documentary that uses the backdrop of Hong Kong and the various ways in which the Filipina migrant worker occupies Central on Sundays. The film is narrated from the perspective of Paraiso, a ghost played by a drone who speaks of the isolation from being uprooted and thrown into a new place. Paraiso’s reprieve comes when she is finally able to interact with the women and feel her purpose, which is to transmit their vlogs, photos, and messages back home. During the week she is forced back into isolation and is left in an existential rut.

The film uses Hong Kong’s dystopian maze-like structures that the Filipina migrants re-imagine and focuses on the beauty of care-giving but also explores how technology is used as a pivotal way for the women to connect – to each other but also to loved ones. Raising questions around modern isolation, economic migration and the role of public space in both urban and digital forms, the film transcends its various component parts to offer a startling commentary on the present, from the point of view of the future.

Tellurian Drama, dir. Riar Rizaldi (26 min)
Mount Malabar in West Java, Indonesia, shows us a spectrum of human-nature relationships: the Dutch colonial government saw the mountain as a suitable spot for an antenna for radio transmission; for indigenous communities, the mountain itself is a partner for spiritual communication. In Riar Rizaldi’s eclectic essay film, archival history collides with personal narratives on the history of technology, nature and colonization. A shaman’s breath-taking zither performance brings us a moment of clarity.

E-Ticket, dir.  Simon Liu (13 min)
E-Ticket is a frantic re-cataloguing of a personal archive and a vehicle for the re-birth of forgotten images. 35mm still photographs are obsessively tape-spliced together, one frame at a time, in evolving rhythmic patterns – views shift between a school trip to India and culminate in documentation of a violent 2005 protest at a World Trade Organization summit in Hong Kong. A retelling of Dante’s Inferno for the streaming age; freedom of movement reserved for the modern cloud.

To Pick A Flower, dir. Shireen Seno (17 min)
Employing archival images from the United States’ occupation of the Philippines, Seno’s To Pick a Flower explores how the meaning and uses of nature were altered by colonial rule. The essay cogently demonstrates the historical similarities between human and plant extraction and commodification, and shows photography’s role in instilling 20th century western ideologies on “natural resources.”

 Generously sponsored by IATSE 856 Manitoba.

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