IAG Film Shorts 2022 Program

Autonomy, Movement and the More-Than-Human

Tuesday morning tea (10am-10.25am)
  • Fábio Márcio Alkmin    Autonomia Maró    AUTONOMY
  • Lisa Palmer    Restoring the Spirit    MORE THAN HUMAN

Tuesday afternoon tea (3.40pm - 4pm
  • Pedro F Neto & João Baptista    ABYSSAL     AUTONOMY
  • W. Nathan Green & Polen Ly    Beyond the Dam's Reservoir    AUTONOMY

Wednesday morning tea (10am-10.25am)
  • Jane Dyson & Kate Jessop    Student Hunger: A Silent Crisis    MOVEMENT
  • Rob St John    Örö    MORE THAN HUMAN

Wednesday afternoon tea (3.40pm - 4pm)
  • Anjali Jayakumar, Omkar Khandagale & Aditya Thakkar     Droughtlands     MOVEMENT


The session organisers would like to acknowledge that we are meeting for this year’s IAG Annual Conference on the lands of the Anaiwan people. We would also like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, and the custodians of the lands on which the selected films have been made. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

Building on longer traditions of geographical and anthropological film, geographers are increasingly embracing filmmaking as an integral part of their research practice. Within this growing landscape, IAG Film Shorts aims to celebrate and encourage ongoing engagement in filmmaking amongst geographers in Australia. For our 2nd edition, we are screening seven films from around the world that centre on interrelated themes of Autonomy, Movement and the More-Than-Human.

We start on Tuesday morning in the Amazon with AUTONOMIA MARÓ, before tracing Timor-Leste’s healing springs in RESTORING THE SPIRIT. In the afternoon we head to Portuguese underwater territory with ABYSSAL, then downstream of Cambodia’s Lower Sesan 2 dam with BEYOND THE DAM’S RESERVOIR. On Wednesday, we swap for dryer lands, washing up on the Finnish Archipelago of ÖRÖ, and into the growing deserts of DROUGHTLANDS and STUDENT HUNGER: A SILENT CRISIS

In their own way, each film explores people’s relationships to place, to power, to the organic world—and thus ultimately to people’s struggles to navigate and find their place within ever more precarious environments. We thank all the filmmakers for submitting wonderful films, and hope you enjoy this year’s IAG Film Shorts.


Tuesday morning tea (10am-10.25am)

Fábio Márcio Alkmin
Autonomia Maró
AUTONOMY     [09:51]

In the Maró Territory, in the Amazonian region of Pará, the Borari and Arapium peoples are organising themselves in an autonomous way to contain deforestation and teach new generations about the decisive importance of the standing forest for the future of humanity.

Director: Fábio M. Alkmin

Fábio M. Alkmin is a doctoral candidate in the Postgraduate Programme in Human Geography at the University of São Paulo, with a Master's degree and a degree in Geography from the same institution. He is currently doing a split-site doctoral at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), UK. His current area of interest is the Brazilian Amazon, especially in issues related to indigenous autonomy, climate justice, socio-environmental justice, regional inequalities and territorial issues involving indigenous peoples.

Lisa Palmer
Restoring the Spirit
MORE THAN HUMAN    [09:59]

In Timor-Leste spring water is central to people’s connections to each other and the ancestral spirit world. Underground flows are the carriers of spirits and the providers of life and well-being to the living. This film follows Simião, a university student, who had been very ill and had almost died when something had attacked him and taken his spirit. With the water’s help, the family had recovered it, and his spirit had been restored to his body. Through ceremony the debt to the ancestral spirits of these healing waters is repaid and connections to more distant coastal springs are honoured.

Director: Lisa Palmer

Lisa Palmer teaches and researches on indigenous environmental knowledge and practices at the University of Melbourne. She has published widely and is the author of an ethnography on people’s complex relations with water in Timor-Leste titled Water Politics and Spiritual Ecology: Custom, Environmental Governance and Development (2015, Routledge, London). Her most recent book is Island Encounters: Timor-Leste from the Outside in (2021, ANU Press). Working also through visual methods she has directed two films, Wild Honey: Caring for Bees in a Divided Land (2019, Ronin Films) and Holding Tightly: Custom and Healing in Timor-Leste (2021, Ronin Films).

Tuesday afternoon tea (3.40pm - 4pm)

Pedro F Neto & João Baptista
AUTONOMY    [12:00]

Which territories are yet to be annexed, which borders are yet to be defined? What is nature? Departing from the Portuguese odyssey in the Atlantic depths, Abyssal explores the present of that country as well as of humanity writ large. There is an epic side in this new expansionist endeavour. It all happens far from the view, in the darkness of the deep sea. Machines and robots, but also imagination and hope, invade places that until recently belonged to no one.

Directors: Pedro F Neto & João Baptista

Pedro F Neto is an architect, anthropologist and filmmaker, research fellow at the ICS-U. Lisboa. His other most recent films are YOON (feature documentary, 2021) and Withering Refuge (essay, 2020).

João Baptista’s work focuses on the sea, located at the intersection of geography and anthropology. He is a research fellow at the ICS-U. Lisboa.

W. Nathan Green & Polen Ly
Beyond the Dam's Reservoir
AUTONOMY    [12:39]

This film documents social and environmental changes associated with the construction of the Lower Sesan 2 dam in Cambodia, the country's largest hydroelectric dam project. It follows fishing communities, activists, and NGO workers who have been intimately involved in advocating for more socially and environmentally just development.

Director: Polen Ly

W. Nathan Green is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, National University of Singapore. His scholarship critically examines the political ecology of agrarian finance and infrastructure in Southeast Asia, focusing particularly on Cambodia.

Polen Ly is a Cambodian film director. He has made numerous short films, many of which have won accolades in international film festivals. His movies portray the intimate experiences of social and environmental change in Cambodia.

Wednesday morning tea (10am-10.25am)

Jane Dyson & Kate Jessop
Student Hunger: A Silent Crisis
MOVEMENT    [02:00]

A significant proportion of students at Australian universities face difficulties accessing sufficient and nutritious food. Many institutions and universities across the country do not have programs or policies in place to support food insecure students. We’ve brought together our own research with students in Victoria with current research on food insecurity in universities around the world to start a conversation about this silent yet critical issue.

Writing and Production: Jane Dyson
Animation: Kate Jessop

Jane Dyson is an Associate Professor in Human Geography at the University of Melbourne. Her long-term research in the Indian Himalayas on childhood and youth, work, politics and gender has been presented in her book (Working Childhoods CUP 2014), journals in Geography and Anthropology, and her two award-winning films, Lifelines (2014) and Spirit (2019).

Kate Jessop is a multi award-winning animation filmmaker whose work spans across narrative shorts, artists’ film and comedy. She represented the UK in the Best of Women in Film&TV, was a Virgin Media Shorts Finalist & a Berlinale Talents 2019 participant both as director & with her comedy series Tales From Pussy Willow in the Project Lab, which has subsequently been picked up for production by Hipster Films. She has exhibited extensively internationally, undertaking artist residencies in Berlin, Istanbul and Reykjavik. She is a Senior Lecturer in Animation & has taught in China.

Rob St John
MORE THAN HUMAN    [20:33]

Örö, a film by Rob St John, documents an island landscape in transition. Shot on the former military island of Örö on the Finnish Archipelago during two months of fieldwork in midwinter and midsummer, this film highlights the tensions and transitions through a landscape of nationally important ecosystems and species; decaying and rusting military structures, war graves, Iron Age burial cairns and a nascent tourism industry. Örö uses sonification techniques to turn environmental data sets into musical compositions. You hear the dynamics of a 1500-year-old Baltic seabed core (showing how human impact is altering geological formation), eutrophic algae blooms in the sea (due to warming temperatures and nutrient pollution), and photosynthesis fluctuations in an island birch tree. This film forms a new mode of documenting the tangles of life that pattern Örö, across various scales of space and time.

Director: Rob St John

Rob St John is an artist and researcher from rural Lancashire, UK. He recently graduated with a PhD across geography and art from the University of Glasgow. Portfolio: robstjohn.co.uk

Wednesday afternoon tea (3.40pm - 4pm)

Anjali Jayakumar, Omkar Khandagale & Aditya Thakkar
MOVEMENT    [27:17]

The Sugarcane Industry in Maharashtra, India, is a highly lucrative and profitable business. However, a large portion of this business is built upon the labour of migrants who work under highly exploitative conditions. Between the droughts that force them to migrate in search of employment and survival, and the harsh working conditions at the plantations, sugarcane cutters have found themselves in a self-consuming spiral that has lasted generations. Facing neglect from the Government and the factory owners, these labourers are left to their own devices in order to survive on a day to day basis. Through this film, we aim to capture the lived experiences of the sugarcane harvesting labourers while at home during the monsoons, the only time of year they’re able to cultivate the lands they own, through conversations. At the same time, we will try to understand how this cycle perpetuates through the system in place

Directors: Omkar Khandagale, Aditya Thakkar

Anjali Jayakumar is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the UK Biochar Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh.

A filmmaking graduate from Whistling Woods International, a Mumbai-based film school, Omkar Khandagale grew up in a family from the OBC (Other Backward Caste) Community, hearing stories of family members facing caste discrimination, and taking part in workers protests. Over time, he has developed a penchant to work with narratives that help lend a voice to the voiceless. Omkar continues to be actively involved in social and caste-based issues, and plans to inculcate them in his storytelling.