Short documentary film is an excellent format to convey important issues and diverse perspectives to a growing worldwide digital audience. It is also the most common format for young emerging filmmakers to train their crafts and test their marketability. However, the medium struggles to generate revenues for the filmmakers as many digital platforms offer very low payment and unfavorable distribution deals.
IF/Then Asia addresses this issue by curating most potential short film projects, provides funding and mentorship to the filmmakers, and support the distribution strategies of selected films in order to maximize the revenues and international outreach of the films.
IF/Then is created by Tribeca Film Institute. IF/Then program in Southeast Asia was supported by Bekraf and In Docs. In 2018, IF/Then program selected 10 finalists, and among them four projects received cash prizes and distribution support from IF/Then program:
Title: Bullet-Laced Dreams
Director: Cha Escala, Kristoffer Brugada (Philippines)
About: Children of indigenous tribes in Mindanao fight for their right to education as the government militarize their schools to quell rebel conflicts.
Title: The Songbirds of Aceh
Director: Aminda Faradilla (Malaysia)
About: In one of the strictest Muslim states in the world, an all female teenage Muslim choir tackles gender inequality and Islamic extremism using nothing more than their voices in song.
Title: How Far I’ll Go
Director: Ucu Agustin (Indonesia)
About: Two blind childhood friends—now teenage girls, Andrea and Salsabila, living with their blindness in two different continent—USA and Indonesia. They share the same idea of the future: to gain independence so they can prepare themselves for the better life!
Title: Diary of Cattle
Director: David Darmadi, Lidia Afrilita (Indonesia)
About: This film is a tragic comedy about the lives of three different cows who have different personalities but share the same home at a landfill site.
In addition, the following short documentary project from IF/Then program will be fully commissioned by the major news network Al Jazeera, as part of its “Witness” documentary series:
Title: Touch the Color
Director: Baby Ruth (Philippines)
About: A touching story of ill-fated but good-hearted people serving life time in prison for keeping a missing boy. After 19 years, a chance for parole is given on the condition that the mother of the boy forgives them.