We Are One Film Festival: Five to Watch

By Caz Armstrong

The “We Are One” Global Film Festival has begun in earnest. This is a free online festival hosted on YouTube and curated by the best international film festivals in the world. Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca, London, Berlinale, Tokyo, Sydney, Annecy, TIFF, you name it they have something for you.

The films each have a set start time but most are available for around a week afterwards for you to watch whenever you want. How else would they cater for all the time zones.

There are shorts, 360 virtual reality films, panel talks and features. It’s giving me the chance to scratch a few more countries off my watched-film-scratch-off-map, with offerings from all around the world.

Here are five feature films which have caught my eye.

crazy world

Crazy World (2019)
Available from 2pm EST / 7PM BST on 29th May
Toronto International Film Festival

This is a no-budget comedy action film from Uganda. It’s about a child kidnapper who accidentally kidnaps a group of child kung-fu masters. It’s described as a “bonkers, stylistically ingenious thrill ride”.

The stills for this film look unashamedly exuberant. A machine gun blaring, terrible CGI fire effects in the background and a look of screaming intensity on the man’s face. I can’t wait to see what can be made with no budget that would cause the Toronto International Film Festival to put it forwards for We Are One.

I’m also intrigued to see what messages the film has about child kidnapping and how that translates to the action thrill ride we’re promised.

Ice Cream

Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops (2017)
From 3.30pm EST / 8.30pm BST on 4th June
Tokyo International Film Festival

This is a Japanese film about teenagers who discover they can’t put on their play but rehearse it anyway. Described as a “mesmerising shape shifter”, it’s a single take film which takes place over the course of a few months.

It’s a coming of age tale which “probes the subversive possibilities of performance in a world that claims to have no place for it”. The stills look slightly sombre, perhaps reflecting the “emotionally demanding” nature of the play.

Having seen the epic single-take effect of “1917”, and the genuine one shot single take (and split screen) ingenuity of “Last Call” I’m really interested to see how these filmmakers turn events of a few months into a single shot.

Mugaritz

Mugaritz Bso (2011)
From 11am EST / 4pm BST on 30th May
San Sebastian International Film Festival

This is a documentary about chef Andoni Luis Aduriz and musician Filipe Ugarte who worked on a project to transform a restaurant menu into a musical experience.

The film “simmers with joyful creativity” and the stills show a mixture of serious musicians and delicious looking food.

I’m really interested in how the film itself might try to evoke the senses, given the subject matter. And how you would even begin to turn a menu into music.

mystery Road

Mystery Road (2013)
From 8.05am EST / 1.05pm BST on 7th June
Sydney Film Festival

This drama is about an indigenous Australian cowboy who is a new recruit to the police force. A murder victim is found and our protagonist hunts for the killers.

Described as “…a startling social thriller about racial tensions in contemporary Australia”, I’m looking forward to seeing different (or will it be the same?) ways in which race and racism is embedded in a society. I hope to learn something about the Aboriginal communities and the risks they face.

The stills don’t look like they give too much away aside from looking serious, thrilling and dusty.

mary is happy

Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy
From 2.20pm EST / 7.20pm BST on 3rd June
Venice International Film Festival

This film from Thailand is about a teenager in a state of great change. In this moment she confides in a friend but strange things keep happening to her, with dream sequences, imaginations and impulse buying a jellyfish.

Described as “…a candid coming-of-age story, blending fantasy with reality”, the inspiration behind the film is particularly interesting. Filmmaker Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit used 410 consecutive tweets from an anonymous twitter account as inspiration. I wonder how the stream of consciousness will come across and how the filmmakers managed to give life to anonymous thoughts.

I’m also intrigued by the title. Why repeat it twice? I’ll have to watch and find out.

The We Are One Film Festival will be running from Fri, 29 May 2020 – Sun, 7 Jun 2020.

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