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by Adrian Branzan, Samuele Matteuzzi, Elina Boeva, Katarina Mihelic, Ada Gabor

Filled with true, raw, heart-breaking, and inspiring stories from everyday people, everyday scenarios, and everyday struggles, Asia’s Best Independent Documentary Film Category can be encompassed in one word: honesty.

The stories range from comforting to devastating, however we adore them all, for the directors bring us their vision through a clear, spotless lens; no script, no scene, just the story they want to share with the world.

BROKEN (2021) – Dir. Nan Khin San Win

Life for women and girls is far from safe in parts of conflict-affected Kayah State. In this absorbing short documentary, first-time director Khin San Win explores both her own trauma and that of another woman from her village in a bid to break the silence that shrouds violence against women in Myanmar.

XIAODI (2022) – Dir. He Shaowei

Xiaodi is a member of the acrobatic troupe. In the course of the acrobatic content, the heart of Xiaodi is slowly changing. It’s growing.

BEAUTIFUL DREAMS (2021) – Dir. Zhang Yihuan and Zhou Paul

The story follows Meihao, a strong, high-spirited, ambitious young woman who is wheelchair-bound. The directors follow her around to showcase her everyday life, her fights, and her struggles

Meihao is an ambitious young woman, a wheelchair user, living an independent life, alone in Beijing. Although passionate about her work and popular with clients, she still faces the same discrimination she has endured throughout her studies. She continues to face physical barriers and struggles with the expectations of others as she navigates her life and her future career.

SHIFTING SANDS (2021) – Dir. May Thyn Kyi

Every year, thousands of young people flock to Yangon from Myanmar’s rural dry zone to work in the factories that have sprung up on the outskirts of the country’s former capital. Ma Nwet Yin Win is one of them. She and her sister left their home on an alluvial island in the Ayeyarwaddy River twenty years ago. Climate change has made life there difficult, but fighting for workers’ rights in Yangon is no less daunting.