There is a spate of astounding films in this year's QCinema festival, but only a few were recognised by the award-giving body. For a remarkable feature debut commandeered by two riveting lead performances, offering a very intense, haunting cinematic experience, Autobiography by Makbul Mubarak wins the Asian Next Wave award of QCinema.
The award, which focuses on emerging filmmakers from Southeast Asia and East Asia with less than three features, made a comeback in this year’s edition of QCinema. The festival also cited Autobiography for its deliberately paced, slow-burn drama with serious socio-political implications that shows a director who’s hitting the ground running with a film that unanimously impressed the jury.
In case you missed it: ‘Return to Seoul’ (2022) is a Melancholic—Albeit Slightly Enthralling—Watch
Winning the NETPAC Jury Award this year is Return to Seoul by Davy Chou. The film is noted for its sensitive portrayal of a woman in search not just of her identity, but also her place in a world that is constantly in flux. It is built upon formal elegance and emotional maturity, taking us to unexpected places as we follow the protagonist on a journey across cities, cultures, and latitudes, but most importantly a journey within her own self.
See also: The Rebirth of the Asian Next Wave
Another awardee is Setsuko Shiokawa for the production design of the film Plan 75. The Artistic Contribution was awarded to Shiokawa for the film’s controlled yet engaging design of an imagined near future where life or death becomes a choice and existence is diminished to muted tones of sadness and resignation. It is also cited for its intelligent re-creation of dystopia that is pegged on reality and never bordering the fantastic.
Also winning in the Asian Next Wave category are Shuming He and Cris Ong, Best Screenplay for Ajooma.