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Documentaries To Explore Our World

The documentary remains one of the most fascinating forms a film can take, opening up a window onto lives or a part of the world we may never have considered before. At ASFF, we have been showcasing a diverse range of shorts from the international film community. From life in Moldova or Jerusalem and making latex in West Lothian to beach-combing in Wales and the lives of three mothers, these titles all take us on a unique journey.

Now I Am Old and Do Not Need the Moon | Dasha Bough, 2023

This couldn’t feel more relevant. Dasha Bough’s non-fiction film takes us into the heart of a Roma village in Moldova, where an aged woman named Daria lives in fear of the Russian-Ukrainian war arriving at her doorstep. As the camera peeps into her dwelling, she contemplates her past, living under the Soviet Union and her life as a young woman. Lit up by the glow of her television, Daria talks openly and intimately. “I said just a little,” she notes. Quite the opposite.

Wifi Rider | Roxy Rezvany, 2020

From Brent-based filmmaker Roxy Rezvany comes Wifi Rider. This documentary follows Shukri, a Queer Palestinian teenager who yearned to leave his lonely life in Jerusalem. “When I was 17 years old, I wanted to move to Paris,” he says. “I was always under the impression that people’s lives were easier in the West.” Now spending his days online, looking at western pop stars preaching about self-love and unity, Shukri is in desperate need of connection – and Rezvany’s 16mm film examines how he channels his frustrations into his fashion label, Trashy.

The Last Taboo | Chloe White, 2019

“I think it’s one of the last taboos: non-custodial mothers are [a] big taboo.” So says Nataly, mother of two, at the outset of Chloe White’s fascinating, incisive and intimate documentary that meets three women who made the decision to leave their family home and take on the role of a mother from afar. Speaking to Nataly, Maria and Rebecca, White allows us to ponder their stories and why, in an age when alternative models of parenting are fast becoming everyday, should society be so appalled by the idea of non-custodial motherhood.

The Making Of Latex 101 | Hayley Evans, 2016

In the windy town of Armadale in West Lothian, Scotland, you might be surprised to learn that a small boutique factory exists manufacturing latex fetish-wear and accessories. Hayley Evans’ 8 minutes-long documentary takes a peak behind the curtain to see where the magic happens. From creating and cutting the materials to marketing the creations, taking photos with a willing model, this really does give you the ultimate 101 guide to kinky clothing. What really fascinating to see is how much enjoyment the company’s heads, Richard and Stewart, get from the feedback of satisfied customers: “You’ve made that for them to enjoy.”

Sid Burnard: Free Spirit | Alex J.  Wright, 2012

Born in Brighton, and based in Borth, near Aberystwyth in Wales, Sid Burnard is a most unusual artist. A dedicated beachcomber, Burnard has a knack of taking the flotsam and jetsam he finds and turning it into art. As this delightful film from Alex J. Wright shows, Burnard can take a fragment of driftwood and turn it into the neck of a bird. Or a discarded lavatory seat, which he refashions as a boat. “I like a challenge,” he says, but this shows just how Burnard’s artistry shines through. As The Full Monty scribe Simon Beaufoy puts it, “It takes a

special eye to see the potential beauty in what others discard.”

Explore the ASFF Short Film Library.

Words: James Mottram

Still: “S.E.N?” dir. Alfie Barker