Cinemata Big Screen

Stories of Solidarity

Chiang Mai University Arts Center,
Thailand May 22 - 26, 2023

From May 22 to 26, 2023, the DRAPAC23 Assembly in Chiang Mai, Thailand, will bring together changemakers from across the region to strengthen the regional digital rights movement through creativity, conversation, and celebration. Central to this creativity is Cinemata Big Screen: Stories of Solidarity, a week-long program running parallel to the main Digital Rights Assembly that will showcase over 20 films on online freedom of expression, surveillance, digital labour, data justice, online gender-based violence and more.

Beyond film screenings, the Cinemata Big Screen offers the digital rights movement high-level community engagement through masterclasses on social issues filmmaking and impact production, talkback sessions with the films’ directors, and network opportunities between filmmakers and digital rights changemakers.


All times are in UTC+7 (Bangkok time).

  • All screenings will happen in Chiang Mai University Arts Center, Thailand.
  • These screenings are free and open to the public.


Program and Films

May 22, 2023 (Monday)

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Opening Night Ceremony

6:45 PM – 7:10 PM

Opening film: Terror Contagion

7:10 PM – 8:25 PM

Opening film: John Denver Trending

May 23, 2023 (Tuesday)

6:00 PM – 7:20 PM

Program: ‘Enduring Issues in the Digital Age’

  • Peon
  • Badman
  • Grey Scale
  • Multiverse of Mekong

7:20 PM – 8:50 PM

Program: ‘Digital Control’

  • Hopes and Feeds
  • Shrinking Civic Space in Bangladesh

*With talkback session

May 24, 2023 (Wednesday)

7:00 PM – 8:45 PM

Program: ‘Digital Natives’

  • Jiwa Pendidik (The Soul of a Teacher)
  • Shitpost
  • Dogs
  • Doble Kara: Online Influencer
  • The Secret Band of Thebes

May 25, 2023 (Thursday)

6:00 PM – 7:20 PM

Program: ‘Pandemic Times: Platforms in Films’

  • Rasa Dan Asa (Flavors, Feelings, and Hope)
  • The Boys Club
  • See you, George!
  • Roundtrip to Happiness

7:20 PM – 8:55 PM

Closing Film: People’s Republic of Desire

May 26, 2023 (Friday)

9:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Thailand Solidarity Screening

  • Pad Thai
  • Wolf
  • Voices from the Deep South
  • Red Poetry

*with talkback session

1:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Myanmar Solidarity Screening

  • Walking Through the Darkness
  • From the Streets of Myanmar
  • 1000 Loads
  • Dancing in the Dark
  • Immortal Rose

*with talkback session


Opening Short Film

Terror Contagion (Trailer)

USA / 2021/ Documentary / 25 mins

Directed by Laura Poitras

A visual study of the investigation by Forensic Architecture into the Israeli cyberweapons manufacturer NSO Group and the use of its Pegasus malware to target journalists and human rights defenders worldwide.

Opening Feature Film

John Denver Trending (Trailer)

Philippines / 2019 / Fiction / 96 mins

Directed by Arden Rod Condez

A 14-year-old Filipino farm boy’s life is suddenly upended when a video of him brutally attacking a classmate goes viral.

Program: ‘Enduring Issues in the Digital Age’

Social, economic, and political challenges over land rights, inequality, gender, elderly care, labour, and human rights persist in Asia-Pacific societies despite multi-faceted efforts to address them. ‘Enduring Issues in the Digital Age’ is a collection of four films from Malaysia and the Mekong Region highlighting how these issues and digital rights crisscross.

Peon (Trailer)

Malaysia / 2020 / Fiction / 15 mins

Directed by June Wong, Shaiful Yahya, and Syaz Zainal

Based on a true story, this film unfolds through a series of texts, voice messages, and video calls, immersing the audience in the daily grind of frontline workers. Riveting from start to end, Peon uncovers an uncomfortable truth in Malaysia.


Thailand / 2015 / Fiction / 26 mins

Directed by Maitree Chamroensuksakul

A young indigenous girl uses a video camera and other technologies to document the nefarious plan of a land grabber in Northern Thailand.

Grey Scale

Malaysia / 2022 / Documentary / 20 mins

Directed by Evelyn Teh

A single elderly woman in a gentrified community is forced to adapt to the rapidly changing world around her when authorities require app-based contact tracing amid the pandemic. A story about living alone and growing old, Grey Scale presents the quiet struggles among the elderly in their quest for independent and dignified ageing.

Multiverse of Mekong

Thailand / 2023 / Experimental-Documentary / 15 mins

Directed by Patiparn Boontarig

Multiverse of Mekong is a semi-experimental documentary that uses diverse data sets, including satellite images, information on the internet, and television news footage, generated through programming and AI image processing. The resulting data presents clear evidence of the changes happening in the Mekong River and the multidimensional impact of climate change – from past, present, to future.

Program: ‘Digital Control’

The films in ‘Digital Control’ reveal how governments effectively turned the internet into a battleground for political power through targeted disinformation campaigns, surveillance tools to monitor and control online discourse, and crackdowns on dissent in both online and offline spaces.

Hopes and Feeds

Philippines / 2022 / Documentary / 26 mins

Produced by EngageMedia

Joshua and Jeric pin their hopes for a better Philippines on the 2022 presidential bids of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Leni Robredo. Amid online disinformation, the two friends share how their social media feeds are informing their votes – regardless of how credible their sources are.

Shrinking Civic Space in Bangladesh

Bangladesh / 2022 / Documentary / 34 mins

Directed by Zayed Siddiki

The past decade has seen the gradual shrinking of civic spaces in Bangladesh, with the government using state mechanisms and the legal system to suppress citizens’ opinions and constitutional rights in online and offline spaces.

Program: ‘Digital Natives’

The ‘Digital Natives’ screening attempts to show how the internet affects the current generation of young people. Five short films from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines highlight the diversity and complexity of today’s online youth.

Jiwa Pendidik (The Soul of a Teacher)

Malaysia / 2022 / Documentary / 21 mins

Directed by Rahmah Pauzi

How does a veteran teacher help prepare the first batch of pandemic online learning students to sit for the Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) exams in the under-resourced Perimbun Secondary School?

Shitpost (Trailer)

Indonesia / 2020 / Fiction / 14 mins

Directed by Wimar Herdanto

Zakaria, a motorcycle freestyler, is confused when his much younger girlfriend Nurul forces him to become a YouTuber.

Dogs (Trailer)
Malaysia / 2020 / Fiction / 16 mins

Directed by Andy Darrel Gomes

 A young couple, Nigel and Mei, started dating when Nigel was in quarantine for chicken pox. The time spent with Mei reminds Nigel of the days before his confinement. Nigel’s disease reminds Mei of a fond childhood memory. Like Pavlov’s dogs salivating at the bell and not the food, they fall in love not with each other but with each other’s predicaments.

Doble Kara: Online Influencer (Trailer)
Philippines / 2022 / Fiction / 10 mins

Directed by Johner E. Zulueta

Pampered and spiteful teenager Kara will do anything to be noticed by famous influencer @ChattyCathy and become the next big online star – even if she has to pretend to be a perfect lifestyle and productivity guru and endure living with her estranged workaholic sister.

The Secret Band of Thebes (Trailer)

Philippines / 2022 / Documentary / 19 mins

Directed by Augustine

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, CODY’s nude photos and masturbating videos leaked online. How was he able to cope?

Program: ‘Pandemic Times: Platforms in Film’

This screening features four films from Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines produced at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The films document persisting human rights issues and new challenges brought about by the pandemic – from labour rights violations and human rights abuses to issues of misogyny and discrimination.

Rasa Dan Asa (Flavors, Feelings, and Hope)

Malaysia, Indonesia / 2022 / Documentary / 27 mins

Directed by Okui Lala and & Nasrikah

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Indonesian domestic workers Ningrum and Binti could not return home to their families. Together with other domestic workers from PERTIMIG (Indonesian Migrant Domestic Workers Association in Malaysia), they find support and hope by learning to document and share their lives using their phones.

The Boys Club (Trailer)

Malaysia / 2021 / Documentary / 23 mins

Directed by Yihwen Chen

A female Malaysian filmmaker dreamt of making the first feature documentary for theatrical release in her country. After four years of struggles, her film premiered with glowing reviews. But soon after, she lost her job. This documentary reveals her deeply personal and harrowing filmmaking journey of enduring sexual harassment, bullying, and misogyny.

See You, George!

Philippines / 2021 / Fiction / 12 mins

Directed by Mark Moneda

A group of hospital workers in the Philippines commemorates the life of a fallen colleague through a virtual necrological service.

Roundtrip to Happiness (Trailer)

Philippines / 2022 / Fiction / 15 mins

Directed by Claudia Fernando

Childhood friends Ara and Hiro explore the world even as the pandemic rages on. They fulfil their hopes of travel and adventure by visiting their hometowns and other beautiful places through Google Earth.

Closing Film

People’s Republic of Desire (Trailer)

China / 2018 / Documentary / 95 mins

Directed by Hao Wu

The film exposes the baffling reality of how virtual relationships are replacing real-life human connections through China’s video-based social network YY.

Thailand Solidarity Screenings

Thailand grapples with significant social issues such as freedom of expression, climate change, human rights, and post-conflict trauma. To shed light on these pressing concerns, this program presents a selection of films curated from the contributions of Cinemata Big Screen’s local partners. The program aims to cultivate a sense of solidarity and mutual understanding, potentially paving the way for collective action in addressing these critical societal challenges.

Pad Thai

Thailand / 2021 / Documentary / 15 mins

Directed by Weeraya Vichayaprasertkul

A documentary reflecting on climate change through one of the most famous Thai dishes in the world.

Thailand / 2022 / Short Fiction / 19 mins

Directed by Abdulhady Chemreh

A boy hears his father say the most frightening thing. It changes his world forever.

Red Poetry

Thailand / 2022 / Documentary / 60 mins

Directed by Supamok Silarak

The film documents the activities of student performance artists Vitthaya Klangnil and Yotsunthon Ruttapradit, who formed the group Artn’t. Vitthaya is shown carving “112” into his chest, in protest at the lèse-majesté (article 112) charges they faced after they exhibited a modified version of the Thai flag.

Voices from the Deep South

Thailand / 2022 / Documentary / 9 mins

Directed by Vijitra Duangdee

A window into everyday life under martial law, a constant state of fear and paranoia.

Myanmar Solidarity Screenings

Myanmar is in the midst of a political crisis since the military coup on February 1, 2021. The junta has suppressed freedom of expression by targeting activists, journalists, and artists who dare to speak out against the regime. This film program, developed in collaboration with Myanmar advocacy groups and partners, seeks to bring attention to the ongoing issues in the country, including the clampdown on freedom of expression, the challenges faced by the LGBTQI+ community amidst political and economic struggles, and the Myanmar people’s ongoing struggle for democracy.​​​​​​​

Walking through the Darkness

Myanmar / 2022 / Documentary / 21 mins

Directed by Aung Naing Soe

Following the February 2021 military coup, five journalists risk their freedom – and their lives – to document the political upheaval in Myanmar. This 2022 documentary film is produced by 1O1fps Production & Athan Myanmar.

From the Streets of Myanmar

Myanmar / 2021 / Documentary / 12 mins

Directed by Visual Rebellion Myanmar

The documentary is made of six episodes touching on the increasing atrocities committed by soldiers, a house search in the author’s house, the growing insecurity and precariousness, COVID-19, and the reporter’s job under such hostile conditions.

1000 Loads

Myanmar / 2022 / Short Narrative / 13 mins

Directed by Heinz

A young man is seeking different ways to unload the burdens of his broken family amidst the political and economic crisis in Myanmar and comes to terms with the reality of his never-ending life struggles.

Dancing in the Dark (Trailer)

Myanmar / 2023 / Fiction / 21 mins

Directed by Bo Thet Htun

This is a short film based on true events about a Karenni woman and her family from a non-peaceful, underdeveloped village who lost her sister in the jungle while fleeing a terrorist operation by the Myanmar military. The filmmaker made this film through re-enactments by real refugees who have fled the war.

Immortal Rose (Trailer)

Myanmar / 2023 / Documentary / 18 mins

Directed by Moore Thit Satt Htoon

After the military coup of February 2021, the people of Myanmar peacefully demonstrated their desire for the end of the military takeover and for recognition of the 2020 general democratic election results. But the military responded with blatant and excessive force, including imprisonment, torture, the killing of peaceful demonstrators, and handing out arbitrary executions of political activists. The people have no choice but to choose the armed revolution as a result.