2019 marks the 10th anniversary of FilmLAB, 55 CinemAsia’s talent development program. Throughout the years FilmLAB has given aspiring filmmakers with Asian roots the opportunity to turn their personal stories into short films. Thus far this has resulted in the production of almost 30 short films.

CinemAsia believes that filmmakers, producers, writers, cinematographers and actors with Asian roots have a wealth of stories to tell that rarely make it to Dutch screens. That’s why FilmLAB offers them the knowhow and equipment to get their projects off the ground and connects them to the Dutch film and television industry in order to stimulate a more durable and wider range of Asian representation in the media in the Netherlands and abroad.

Every edition focuses on a particular theme to provide the participants with a clear and captivating conceptual framework for their productions. Our talent incubation programme consists of a bootcamp and various workshops by professionals from the Dutch and International film industry. The FilmLAB producers guide the participants from development to postproduction, while experts help the talents to develop their skills and how to use their diverse backgrounds to their advantage. FilmLAB is supported by numerous sponsors with camera equipment, montage feedback, colour correction, sound work and mastering.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of FilmLAB, we are launching two programmes: FilmLAB Writers Room is a programme that helps participants to write their fiction short film script and FilmLAB Documentary is a programme where participants complete a documentary short film.

During the FilmLAB Writers Room program, ten scriptwriters are skilled in how to turn their fiction short film from concept to script. The participants also got professional coaching in project pitching. to present themselves and their projects to industry experts during the festival and to expand their network.

The completed documentary short films of the FilmLAB Documentary programme will be premiered at CinemAsia Film Festival. During several screenings the filmmakers will present their films to the public and industry, with Q & A afterwards. The documentary short films also get a spot in our annual On Tour programme in Rotterdam. Through our popular platforms, participants gain exposure and the chance to share their creative process with the public. They also receive advice and assistance in pitching their work to international festivals, sales and distribution companies.

This year’s theme of FilmLAB documentary programme is ‘Crafts and cultural heritage’. Crafts as a creative process, how practicing crafts effect tradition and can play a role in the construction of identity, and its role in passing on certain values for future generations.

Carve Out | Ami Tsang & Fay Teo
Food sculpting has a profound role in the history of Chinese cuisine. Recognised as an important art in its native land in The Netherlands a very different tale is sung. Once the crown jewel of every dish in Chinese restaurants, food sculptures are now slowly disappearing and the craft threatens to go extinct. Having put aside their carving knives for decades, migrant food sculptors Chen Mo and Awan are once again called to put their skills to work. Artists Ami and Fay invite the masters to dare to reimagine the future of food sculpturing in The Netherlands, with a completely new approach.

Holding On To Silence | Andre Kloer
Three individual artisans from Asian decent find how being highly focused on their crafts lures them into a sense of silence. Which in turn invites each of them to go down a contemplative journey along their family history line. After a seemingly random phone call martial arts teacher Kierty Verbooy connects with his long lost Indian father, setting him on a path that helps him make sense of his life’s choices and innate need for balance. Dutch–Vietnamese Hoang is destined to take over the family business in Vietnamese pastry. But in the focus of her work she longs for quietness and tries to deal with the vast ambitions of her mother. Animation director Yiuloon finds connection with his deceased father through animations about Chinese lion dancers. Reflecting on his two children, he is committed to create a more outspoken relationship than the one he grew up in.

The Bowl | Ingrid Guldenaar
For Dutch-Indonesian artist Barbara, inspiration is everywhere. Her jam-packed studio is filled with creativity. Everything is meticulously placed and ordered, yet anything is possible. A deconstructed Wayang doll shares its parts with a drawing manikin. Naked bowls are waiting to be glazed with poetical or humorous drawings. Cycling against the wind, Barbara visits her garden to pick some inspiration. Working the plants she feels very connected with her Indonesian roots. Nevertheless, her heritage has never brought her to visit the country of her father, but now she is considering it.

Unicorn Cat | Deepti Rao
The days are busy for 9-year-old Maitreyi, the daughter of Indian expats, born and raised in the suburbs of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In the afternoons, she plays hockey, a popular sport among the Dutch, but does she fit in with the other girls? In the evenings, she rushes off to learn Bharatnatyam, a classical Indian dance form, but what does she think about her mother’s wish to move back to India? In the run-up to her solo dance performance, we join Maitreyi as she navigates her way through the struggles and strengths that are part of her identity. An identity that she creates for herself as a Unicorn Cat.