The 8th International Competition Section features 20 films out of 796 submissions from 70 countries, all centered around the theme of mountains. A notable number of films delve into the lives of those living in tough conditions. Of these, An Inhabited Volcano and Paradise are about people who have come to accept natural disasters as a part of their lives. Traditional mountain sports films are also part of this section. A narrative of Nepalese women sherpas, now indelible figures in Himalayan climbing, unfolds in PASANG: In the Shadow of Everest. The Silent Escape chronicles the mad journey of a team scaling two 8,000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen, then skiing them down. Transcendence portrays people overcoming disabilities through relentless effort. Their stories of challenge, humanity, and triumph is history in the making. As we are acutely aware, climate change has become an inescapable reality and a complex issue demanding attentions. It provides the backdrop in Suro and poses an immediate threat to the gaucho family in Veranada. We also present masterpieces that focus on humanity. In Landshaft, the director employs his mastery of long takes to present the dark history and suffering in picturesque Eastern Armenia. In Fauna, the director raises an ethical question by portraying grim animal experiments necessary for human survival. Lastly, The Visitors includes an interview with a cultural anthropologist amidst the frigid nights of Norway's Svalbard that prompts reflection on the relationship between the indigenous and foreign residents, as well as the concept of coexistence.
Jinna Lee, Programmer