Online Cinema DAFilms Launches Asian Domain With Kazuhiro Soda Retrospective and Wang Bing’s Cannes-Selected Dead Souls

    Streaming service DAFilms, following the successful introduction of a new Americas domain early in 2020, is celebrating the Chinese New Year with the launch of a bespoke platform in Asia, giving documentary and festival enthusiasts on the continent a chance to explore diverse Asian cinema from across Asia all year around for only $6.99 for a monthly subscription or $4.99 for an annual one. Accompanying this release will be a major online retrospective of the works of Japanese independent filmmaker Kazuhiro Soda, whose works have regularly featured at film festivals around the world, most notably at the Berlin Film Festival, and whose “Ten Commandments” of filmmaking have become a manifesto for observational filmmakers the world over since he emerged on the scene. 

    The Asian domain will also play host to Wang Bing’s devastating 8-hour Dead Souls, a masterpiece of recent Chinese cinema that premiered to enormous acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival. Exploring the “anti-rightist” campaigns waged in Mao’s China - and the lingering scars left over from that brutality - Wang’s towering work has never been more relevant or carried quite the same impact for Asian audiences.

    In addition to the presence of key names and titles, the creation of asia.dafilms.com, which can be accessed also from the navigation bar at the top of all DAFilms homepages, more broadly gives audiences the chance to engage with documentaries that deal directly with the affairs of their own societies, divorced from a foreign context and curated specifically to their own interests, cultural concerns, and sense of curiosity. Kazuhiro Soda is an example of a true independent mind, an Asian artist-filmmaker who has forged his own path steadfastly with such original works as Inland Sea, Oyster Factory, or the two Theater and two Campaign films. Soda’s discipline in focusing on a subject so intensely and with such clarity and simplicity of vision should be a model for other filmmakers for the kind of detail, humanity, and psychological insight his artistic gaze elicits in his subjects. 

    DAFilms is proud that Soda’s body of work is the flagship for its Asian domain as he so perfectly exemplifies the values its platform seeks to promote, in Asia but across the world. Users can register with DAFilms Asia and explore Soda’s work and the entire catalogue for themselves, navigating a collection unparalleled for its wealth of celebrated and award-winning festival films.

    The International VOD platform DAFilms began as one of the main projects of DocAlliance, a creative partnership between 7 of the major European documentary festivals that has lasted 15 years. As a consequence, DAFilms can boast of an unparalleled collection of more than 2,500 festival films, a catalogue built up in close association with some of the most prestigious documentary institutions in the world and which sets it apart from platforms with a shorter lifespan in the world of VOD and festival acquisition.

    “With DAFilms Asia, we are overjoyed to be able to bring curated Asian independent cinema straight to the doorstep of the cinema cultures we have long admired from a distance,” says Diana Tabakov, Executive Director of DAFilms and Project Manager of the Asia domain. “We want to create an alternative to the commercial streaming platforms in Asia, which do not cater to more specialist tastes in film that have come to define our mission as a VOD service: we will continue to host retrospectives of well-known filmmakers like Kazuhiro Soda, Agnès Varda, Jonas Mekas, Chris Marker, and Joris Ivens, as well as give a platform to emerging talents in a variety of Asian cultures, languages, and contexts, host special online festival releases throughout the year, and champion ever-evolving styles and movements of nonfiction and experimental cinema in every way we can. There has never been a better time to do so.”

    Over its 15 years in existence, DAFilms has developed close ties with festivals in the region, giving it an advantage in finding up-and-coming voices and trailblazing local mavericks. As such, DAFilms expects to offer the most original and undervalued independent films from across the continent.

    Already in the first months of 2021 alone, we have confirmed collaborations with festivals as well-known for their unique and renowned cinematic selections as Jeonju IFF, Taiwan Docs, Taiwan IDF, Arkipel in Jakarta. DAFilms is also in touch with potential partners in India, Japan, South Korea and Philippines.

    View the full catalogue at:         https://asia.dafilms.com