East and Southeast Asian documentaries, a list/database of the most significant works


updated September 14th 2016
In the past few days I was online looking for list(s) about East and Southeast Asian documentaries, lists that could give me an idea of what to watch if I wanted to explore the history non-fiction cinema in East and Southeast Asia, well….I couldn’t really find anything. So I told myself “why not making this list? a list that would also function as a sort of database for people interested in non-fiction” and then I realized that although I’m a kind of an expert in the history of Japanese documentary, I don’t really know that much about non-fiction cinema in the rest of Asia, besides of course Wang Bing, Rithy Panh and few others.

In most of these Asian countries cinema as a form of art is something pretty new and still in development, and often documentary is basically nothing more than state propaganda, fortunately things have slowly started to change few decades ago, when the new digital technologies allowed virtually everyone to become a documentary filmmaker and the social unrest set in motion the arts.
An interesting and useful resource on the topic, although it focuses more on the contemporary situation, is Asian Documentary Today, a book published by the Busan International Film Festival in 2012 and compiled and edited by AND (Asian Network of Documentary).

If anybody out there in the vastity of the internet is interested in helping me with this tiny project, a list/database of the most significant and important documentaries made in East and Southeast Asia, please feel free to get in touch with me: matteojpjp [at] gmail.com
Just a few “rules”:

– new works are accepted but don’t forget that the list is about “important and significant documentaries in the history of cinema”

– accepted are documentaries from these countries:  China, Hong Kong, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, East Timor, Brunei, Christmas Island, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand and Vietnam.

– if you’re kind enough to send me some suggestions or titles, it would be nice to have also few sentences contextualizing the documentary and briefly explaining what the movie is about.

the deadline is the end of September, once done and organised properly, I’ll publish it here on the blog and I’ll try to have it spread in the internet.

Thank you