Ajyal Film Festival 2021

Films

All Days

  • After Yang

    Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Film Festival 2022

    Based on a short story by Alexander Weinstein, ‘After Yang’ is a compelling drama set in the alarmingly near future where domestic robots pervade our daily lives. A young couple, Jake and Kyra, adopt a daughter named Mika. To help her understand her place of birth and culture more, they also purchase an android as a carer and teacher—Yang. Forming a strong bond with her new companion, Mika is inconsolable when Yang malfunctions. As a discontinued model that was bought outside of the conventional channels, Jake faces an existential quest to repair Yang.

    Kogonada / United States of America / Feature Narrative

  • An Invisible Apprentice

    Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Film Festival 2022

    Despite the shimmering lights, upbeat music and assumed fun of her roller disco class—something is weighing heavy on the shoulders of 12-year-old Inés. Her dance class is a planned distraction, one that was meant to take Inés away from the flashing and beeping lights of her ailing sister’s EKG machine. Learning balance in more ways than one, the young girl begins to compartmentalise her feelings in this nostalgic 80s short about maturation, family, illness and hope.

    Emilia Herbst / Argentina / Short Narrative

  • Bigman

    Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Film Festival 2022

    Dylan and his best friend Youssef share the same dream of becoming professional footballers after they finish school. They practice diligently every chance they get, coached by Dylan’s huffish but good-humoured father. The team sets their sights on winning the coveted Touzani Cup. But a tragic accident leaves Dylan partially paralysed and unable to play. Stubbornly, Dylan refuses to accept the new limitations of his disability. With the help of Maya and the boys on his team, he searches for new ways to participate in his beloved sport in this inspiring feature about friendship, determination, and the will to win.

    Camiel Schouwenaar / Netherlands, Germany / Feature Narrative

  • Burros

    Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Film Festival 2022

    In southern Arizona, twenty miles from the Mexico border, a young Indigenous girl discovers a Hispanic migrant her age who has been separated from her father while travelling through the Tohono O’odham tribal lands into the United States. Unable to communicate, Elsa takes her through her community and ultimately to her grandmother, Gagi, who speaks Spanish and bridges the language barrier. ‘Burros’ is an emotional story set in a complicated place in the world, but at its core, it is a story about finding connection.

    Jefferson Stein / United States of America / Short Narrative

  • Comedy Queen

    Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Film Festival 2022

    Sasha is 13 years old and wants nothing more than to become a stand-up comedian. She wants to make everyone laugh, especially her father, who cries in the shower when he thinks no one is listening. Behind her eyes, the unhealed tears also burn on Sasha, but she refuses to mourn her mother, who has passed away in tragic circumstances. Instead, she secretly writes a list of everything she must do to survive—shave her hair, stop reading books, say no to the world’s cutest puppy and above all—become a Comedy Queen.

    Sanna Lenken / Sweden / Feature Narrative

  • The Eternal Melody

    Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Film Festival 2022

    When an elderly woman living high in the mountains with her grown son is visited in a dream by her late husband, mother and son go to great lengths to help ease his passage to the next world. Religion, spirituality, and the universal human condition are intricately woven in this tale about the agony of accepting loss—while navigating the dissonance between letting go and holding onto that which has passed

    Niranjan Raj Bhetwal / Nepal / Short Narrative

  • Fairplay

    Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Film Festival 2022

    A shy teenager in search of recognition, a man ready to do anything to win a car, and a senior executive at the end of his career who wants to prove to himself that he’s still got it. Three hapless characters who are all hurtling towards equally unexpected fates in the pursuit of victory. ‘Fairplay’ is a darkly comedic short about the absurdity of peer pressure and one-upmanship.

    Zoel Aeschbacher / Switzerland, France / Short Narrative

  • Farrucas

    Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Film Festival 2022

    Hadoum, Fatema, Sheima and Sokayna are four teenagers from El Puche, a marginalised suburb in the Spanish city of Almería. Proud of their Moroccan and Spanish roots, the girls help each other navigate life’s challenges in their underprivileged neighbourhood and underfunded schools. Full of dreams and hope, their self-confidence is put to the test during Fatima’s 18th birthday in this compelling short narrative about identity, expectation, and free will.

    Ian de la Rosa / Spain, United States of America / Short Narrative

  • Five Stars

    Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Film Festival 2022

    Carlos and Toñi live in a tiny apartment in a marginalised neighbourhood in Portugal. They haven’t been able to pay their rent for months, their electricity is cut off, and they survive by collecting scrap metal. But a windfall is on the horizon when Henrik and Jens, two Danish tourists, offer to pay to spend a day with a low-income family. A tongue-in-cheek dramedy about wealth disparity and the objectification of people in poverty to entertain the privileged.

    Roberto Jiménez Bozada / Spain / Short Narrative

  • Happy New Year, Jim

    Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Film Festival 2022

    It’s New Year’s Eve. Friends Jim and Morten are playing online video games all night long, like every day. But something’s not sitting well with Morten tonight. He’s become uncomfortable with the realism of the digital world and the preprogrammed destinies of characters in their games. These persistent thoughts set off a fascinating series of questions to a bewildered Jim about the ethics of artificial intelligence, the direction of technological advancement and ultimately, an existential crisis about the nature of reality itself.

    Andrea Gatopoulos / Italy / Short Narrative

  • The Headhunters Daughter

    Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Film Festival 2022

    Lynn leaves her family behind to traverse the harrowing roads of the Cordilleran highlands in the Philippines, to try her luck in the city as a country singer. Motivated not by money or fame, she simply wants her voice to be heard and the chance to appear on television so her father might see her perform. Laden with vestiges of American colonialism, this Sundance awarded short is a haunting ballad about the erosion and ultimate replacement of indigenous cultural traditions.

    Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan / Philippines / Short Narrative

  • InBetween Home

    Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Film Festival 2022

    In her efforts to obtain accommodation and, therefore, a residence permit in Austria, Marinela—an overburdened, single Romanian mother—relies on her daughter Ilinca as a mediator and translator. However, Ilinca has other plans. She wants to talk to Bubu; she wants to go home. 'InBetween Home' uses a touch of humour to compassionately portray the struggles of first-generation immigrants as they encounter language barriers, bureaucracy, and homesickness in their hope of finding a new life.

    Brigitta Kanyaro / Austria, Romania / Short Narrative