2021 BSIFF – Documentary

2021 Big Syn Int. Film Festival- Laurel

This film festival has been made possible purely through voluntary efforts of the team of dedicated volunteers, judges and the Grand Jury. Hence, we need the support of all viewers to continue with our mission of educating millions more about the UN SDGs and inspiring action for the Global Goals.

Please support us with any amount if these films make you pause for a moment and help you realise the importance of our actions in today’s interconnected world to ensure a safe, secure and sustainable future for all.

The Iron Lady of Kashmir

The Iron Lady of Kashmir is inspired from the life and fight for justice of Parveena Ahangar. A semi-literate Kashmiri housewife and a mother, Parveena’s life changed on the night of 18 August, 1990, when her son Javed Ahmad Ahangar, then a 16-year-old student, was picked up allegedly by the Army who mistook him for a militant during a midnight raid on his uncle’s house at Bodhipora in the Batmaloo area of Srinagar City. A woman who seldom ventured outside of her house, against her husband’s will, started an agonizing search for her son, alone. She informed the local police station about his arrest and staged a sit-in on the road for a full day. She ran from pillar to post but her heartbreaking efforts proved futile. She approached the court which ordered an inquiry into her missing son’s case. Parveena approached almost all the powerful politicians in the State but in vain. During this process of chase for her son she discovered that she was not the only one, in fact there were thousands of similar children who had disappeared leaving no trail. Determined to continue her struggle, Parveena gathered such parents who were victimized and she formed the Association of Parents of Disappeared People (APDP). The United Front for Disappeared Persons in the story signifies the APDP. Without any formal education, Parveena Ahangar has mobilized women who even after decades of the conflict in Kashmir are yet to know where their missing near and dear ones are. She is known as “The Iron Lady of Kashmir” of the Kashmir valley.

Queens of Orango

In southwestern Guinea Bissau there are some islands where a very special people live, the Bissago. What is it that makes them so special? It is not the fact of living in balance and harmony with the spectacular nature that surrounds them, taking from the land or the sea only what they need to survive. Neither is their deep animistic spirituality, which marks their life with rites to acquire the knowledge of their ancestors. What makes them so special is that, in the Bissago society, the woman is the protagonist. They are the ones who decide how to manage the crops or punish the crimes, they are the priestesses of the temple, those who can communicate with the gods, the forces of nature and the spirits of the deceased. For the Bissago, the woman is feared and respected, since they consider her capable of deciding about life and death. This documentary focuses on the lives of some of the women of Eticoga, the main village on the island of Orango. Through their lives and ways of looking we will know the most outstanding and peculiar aspects of this matriarchal society so different, not only from the Western way of life, but from the rest of Africa and almost all other cultures on the planet.

In plain view

Manot is a blind man who plays the saxophone on the sidewalk of Silom road in Bangkok. Ten meters away from him Ayutthaya, a deaf-mute homeless man, sniffs glue and sleeps all day. Through an impossible encounter between the two, instigated by the director of the film, secrets will unfold that will change their perspectives.

Not only survival

UBI, unconditional basic income, means that the government unconditionally gives the people a sum of money to guarantee the basic living expenses every month. Is this a utopian economic ideal or an economic system that is imperative in the future? In the past, UBI has always been regarded as an economic system that is difficult to practice. However, after covid19, it triggered a wave of global unemployment. In addition, AI and automation technology are largely replacing human resources. The world is facing the issue of economic transformation. UBI has gradually aroused global discussion On December 13, 2020, Taiwan held the first national basic income parade of UBI. I decided to record it and explain how to practice UBI in Taiwan in the film. I hope more people can understand the issue of UBI.

password: CHOSEN

I won’t remain alone

An old disabled couple living in a small village in the northern part of Iran, face an unfathomable tragedy when their youngest son falls into a coma after an accident. Defying the Islamic traditions of burial, overcoming problems of red tape, and turning devastation into hope, the parents agree to donate their son’s organs. Five years after their brave decision, a film crew visits them and records their slow path of reconciliation with death – or rather, their acquaintance with eternal life.

password: HanowzPaeiz

 It’s Still Autumn (WilloW)

In recent years, a huge wave of shocking and unbelievable narratives of sexual harassment, assault and rape of women has taken over social media; An unprecedented move by Iranian women, reminiscent of the #MeToo global movement, which has exposed countless sexual assaults incidents around the world. These narratives are astonishing not only in terms of the appalling quality of the events, but also in terms of the scope, extent, and status of those accused of the assaults. We also wanted to tell the story of one of the women. In this way, we read many stories and tales. There was a lot in common with the stories. Parts of the stories were deleted or censored for the personal reasons of the authors. Topics such as rape, humiliation, lust, and family events were eliminated by narrators and writers. In fact, the nudity of the subjects was very low. Until we got to this story. A story that belongs to all of us as much as it belongs to her.

Voices of the River

“The Fitzroy River is a living system. It has the right to life… It’s a part of me and I’m a part of it, so together we’re gonna protect each other.” – Anthony McLarty, Walmajarri Traditional Owner. The National Heritage-Listed Martuwarra Fitzroy River stretches over 700km from the desert to the sea, and is a site of great cultural significance. However, the river’s cultural and ecological values are now under great threat from Murray-Darling style proposals to pump water from the river and establish an intensive irrigated agriculture industry. Documentary webseries Voices of the River goes out on Country with ten Traditional Owners to share stories of cultural connection and the fight to protect one of the last in-tact river systems in the world.

Green God

Green Bappa is a documentary film about how a society which is divided into three main classes namely the worker class, the educated class and a bunch of conscious citizens who are part of a two-hundred-year-old cultural festival give their insight to the festival. The documentary explores fight within the system which is divided into economic, religious, political and social perspectives and how a connected community is responsible for damage within the society.

The long hunt

For his entire life, Gert Kristensen has fished along the northern coast of Denmark. He is retired now, but still gives a hand in the small fishing community of Thorupstrand. The fishermen there are still using traditional methods that keep fish stocks and marine habitats in balance. But since bigger trawlers started fishing in the same area, it has become a challenge for Gert and his fellow fishermen to sustain their way of life.


Motivated by his patients and motivated by his patients’ need for relief and based on evidence, Dr. Max Alzamora included cannabis in the treatment of four cancer patients. In a context of limited access in Peru, he turns to local growers who hope to be included by law. The extracts give positive effects on patients, their relatives highlight the quality of life and the doctor evaluates the antitumor action, while everyone awaits the democratization of the plant.

The Last Song of the Nightingale

‘The Last Song of the Nightingale’ tells the tale of one of Europe’s most well known birds; its natural history, its role in literature, art and music, as well as its cultural importance and its future. Using a unique storytelling blend of animation, natural history, documentary style filmmaking and archive footage.

Island of Hippos

They are unique animals. On the beaches of the Bissagos Islands, off the coast of Guinea Bissau, in the Atlantic, we can find strange footprints. They seem to be misplaced since they are made by the hippopotamus, an animal that otherwise lives in fresh water. But these are different ones. This is a population of hippos that lives in coastal waters and is the most western one in the range of this species, related to cetaceans. This documentary explores the life within this hippo colony, where dominating males are strongly gregarious and attack any intruder who might enter their territory. We will follow their incursions into neighbouring areas or into the sea and witness their perfect adaptation to this environment, where females are said to give birth for safety reasons. At the same time, we will get to know their environment and the animals with whom they share this little known place in West Africa.