International Competition Jurors

Here we introduce the five jurors who will decide the destination of awards including The Robert and Frances Flaherty Prize from the fifteen International Competition films for YIDFF 2023.

Oskar Alegria (Filmmaker)

Filmmaker. Teaching at University of Navarra, Basque Country, Spain. Former Artistic Director of the International Documentary Film Festival of Navara. The Search for Emak Bakia (2012) was screened at YIDFF 2015 (Double Shadows program).

SPAIN / 2023 / 89 min

A filmmaker decides to retrace the path once used by village shepherds to get to their mountain pasture, but he cannot find a living person who knows the exact route. He decides to film the route using his family's old Super-8 camera, but that camera, unused for 41 years, no longer picks up sound. The forgotten road, the mute camera, together with a donkey named Paolo, become the protagonists of a journey full of memories, question marks, and silence. The title of the film is in the Basque language and is onomatopoeia used by shepherds to describe three places in the Andia Range in the Basque Mountains.

Oct. 10 CS

Erika Balsom (Film critic)

Reader in Film Studies at King’s College London. She is the author of four books, a frequent critic for magazines such as Artforum, and was the co-curator of the exhibition “No Master Territories: Feminist Worldmaking and the Moving Image” (HKW Berlin/Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, 2022–23).

Chen Chieh-Jen (Artist, Filmmaker)

Born in Taoyuan, Taiwan. Chen calls this universal situation “global imprisonment” or “at-home exile.” Based on these ruminations, Chen has considered how pervasive control technology can be qualitatively changed by transforming desire with alternative forms of desire and detoxifying illusion with māyā.

Worn Away
TAIWAN / 2022–2023 / 69 min

The film depicts a corporatocracy dystopia in which a neoliberal regime of multinational corporations govern society, bringing suffering. Under the rule of this globe-wide empire, the unemployed, psychiatric patients, as well as those who have either little faith in society or advocate views contrary to the mainstream, are increasingly excluded and are brought to a place called the Transit Area via the Biofunction Optimization Support Program. These outcasts are trapped in a labyrinthine space created by the system where they can only wait to be expended in biological experiments. These supposedly worthless people slowly commence to dismantle reality and the system’s lie of a bright future through both inner monologues and vocal utterances.

Oct. 10 F3

Yang Yonghi (Filmmaker)

Filmmaker. Her major works include Dear Pyongyang (YIDFF 2005 NAC Special Mention), the feature film Our Land (2012) and Soup and Ideology (YIDFF 2021). She has also written a novel and non-fiction books.

The Swaying Spirit
JAPAN / 1996 / 30 min

Interviewing Korean residents of Japan attending public high schools in Japan, this is a record of young people who waver between their identity, their Japanese name (tsuumei, or the name used in society), and their real name. In advance of high school graduation, one schoolgirl declares her real name for the first time in front of her entire school. But it doesn’t serve to firm her resolve.

Sona, The Other Myself (Digitally remastered version)
KOREA, JAPAN / 2009 / 82 min

An intimate portrayal of deep ties between families living apart in two countries that are both near and far from one another. We see the daily lives of the families of the director’s brothers, repatriated to North Korea, and in particular that of Sona, the director’s niece—daughter of her second eldest brother.

Oct. 11 YC

Zhang Lu (Filmmaker)

Born in China. Filmmaker. His works include Tang Poetry (2003), Grain in Ear (2005) and Fukuoka trilogy shot in Japan. His newest film is The Shadowless Tower (2023).

The Shadowless Tower
CHINA / 2023 / 144 min

Gu Wentong, a middle-aged food writer, is sampling bustling restaurants in Beijing accompanied by Oyang, a photographer in her twenties. After Wentong’s divorce, he left his six-year-old daughter with his sister and her husband. Harboring regrets towards the poetry to which he once devoted himself, he reexamines his past mistakes—and searches for a new life. Reunions and partings follow one after the next—his long-lost father, his estranged ex-wife—as the seasons come and go. A Tibetan Buddhist pagoda in Beijing stands unmoved, as if watching over them.

Oct. 11 CL