WOW has been celebrating the riches of world cinema since 2001, bringing an eclectic, intriguing, and moving selection of films from around the globe to cinemas across Wales. WOW presents a selection of the very best in world cinema – and sometimes a film from Wales too.
If you’re male in Thailand, in the year of your 21st birthday, you gather with guys the same age from your district to pick a card from an urn in front of everybody. If the card is black, your military service is waived and you don’t need to go. If it’s red, however, you must commit two years of your life serving your country. Unlike in other countries, where military service is either voluntary or compulsory, in Thailand it's largely dependent on luck. Consider this in relation to Thailand's relatively liberal stance on LGBT issues, with homosexuality having been decriminalised in 1956. It wasn't until 2005, however, that the ban on LGBT soldiers in the military was lifted.
This is a subject that director Josh Kim has explored previously, as he explains, "Before coming to Thailand, I had never actually seen this process before... it was still unclear what the rules were regarding male to female transgenders. So in 2013, I made a short documentary, which followed two transgender women on the day of their own draft."
Kim's experience of making Draft Day went into writing How to Win at Checkers (Every Time), Thailand's entry to the 2016 Academy Awards, which is being screened on Thursday 8 & Saturday 10 October at the Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff (in association with WOW).
Leila Sansour gave a tremendously successful Q&A at Taliesin Arts Centre on Monday night, when 190 people attended the WOW festival screening of Open Bethlehem, an event well supported by Swansea's Palestine support groups. Pictured from left to right are David Gillam, Open Bethlehem's director Leila Sansour and her assistant Julia Katarina.