What should you watch at the Doc Edge Festival?

Calling all documentary lovers and curious minds alike: the annual Doc Edge festival is here once again, featuring a mix of international and local documentaries. 

Whether there’s something showing in a theatre near you or you’d prefer to watch online, the Asia Media Centre has gathered a list highlighting Asian directors and Asia-focused documentaries you should consider checking out:  

WUHAN WUHAN (Best International Feature Film Winner) by director Yung Chang 

In a time when the world needs greater cross-cultural understanding, this film is an invaluable depiction of a metropolis joining together to overcome a crisis.  At the height of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan city, five heart-wrenching stories intersect, revealing the universality of our struggles and experiences. With unprecedented access, the film goes beyond the statistics and salacious headlines to reveal the human experiences associated with the outbreak of the virus. 


A still from Wuhan Wuhan, directed by Yung Chang.

A.RTIFICIAL I.MMORTALITY by director Ann Shin 

If you were able to create an immortal version of yourself, would you? Can AI provide the answer to achieving immortality? Doc Edge alumni director Shin (My Enemy, My Brother) explores the latest advancements in AI, robotics and biotech. Can we replicate the human mind – let alone the human soul? The film features visionaries like Nick Bostrom, author of Superintelligence; Japanese roboticist, Hiroshi Ishiguro; Douglas Rushkoff, author of Team Human; Ben Goertzel, founder of Singularity.net; and Deepak Chopra, who is currently creating his own A.I. mind twin. As scientists point us toward a world where humans and machines are merged, we must ask ourselves whether AI will be the best, or the last thing we ever do? 

18 JUN 8:15 PM 

TRY HARDER (Best in Family Category) by director Debbie Lum 

The agonies and ecstasies of a high-achieving majority Asian-American senior class during a cutthroat college application season. At Lowell High School, the top public high school in San Francisco, the seniors are stressed out as they prepare for the emotionally draining college application process. There is intense competition for the few open spots in their dream colleges. Each student scrutinises every element of their application, from their classes to their extracurricular activities, to their racial identities. How will the sum-total of who they are, and what they are capable of becoming, be read by admission officers? Doc Edge alumni (Seeking Asian Female) director Lum’s film takes us to the intersection of class, race, and educational opportunity. 

Doc Edge Festival presents Try Harder

Try Harder from Doc Edge alumni director Debbie Lum.

19 JUN 10:00 AM 

GREETINGS FROM MYANMAR by directors Andreas Riiser, Sunniva Sundby

Unsuspecting tourists enjoy a peaceful holiday in Myanmar’s hotel complexes, lazily walking between swimming pools and sun umbrellas while, 10 kilometres away, members of the Rohingya ethnic group are being tortured and killed in the largest genocide in Asia since the Vietnam War.


LAST DAYS AT SEA by director Venice Atienza

Before 12-year-old Reyboy leaves the isolated fishing village where he grew up to attend high school in the city, director Atienza joins him during his last days at sea, before the precious fleeting moments of his childhood turn into a memory.   Reyboy lives in Karihatag, where every boy grows up to become a fisherman. However, when the first rain falls, Reyboy will leave for the city to study. 


Last Days at Sea in the Doc Edge Festival

Last Days at Sea follows 12-year-old Reyboy in his last summer before he leaves his home for the city.

DOWN A DARK STAIRWELL (Best in Crime & Conspiracy Category) by director Ursula Liang 

Two communities navigate an uneven criminal justice system.  When an Asian-American police officer shoots and fatally wounds an African-American man in a darkened stairwell of a New York City housing project, it sets off a firestorm of emotion and fractured calls for justice. When the NYPD officer becomes the first to be convicted in a decade, the meaning of justice becomes complicated, pitting two marginalised communities against each another in a virulent fight against the system igniting the largest Asian-American protest in U.S. history. 

20 JUN 12:00 PM  

- Asia Media Centre