How do we go about making films for children fleeing wars and crises? What can such films accomplish? What inspiration can the cinema give these children for their future? Can film work relieve suffering or even provide hope?
Two years ago, the Goethe Institute launched the Missing Movies project. The plan is to shoot a number of nonverbal short films to be used in refugee camps. Following an international call for proposals, a group of 7 young filmmakers from Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Germany, Colombia and Iran were selected to tackle these questions. The initial ideas have led to the creation of seven outstanding cinematic concepts, each of which reflects a deep understanding for and addresses in its own highly unique way the needs of the refugee children – with genres ranging from short feature films and documentaries to animated productions. Each of the seven films, with dramaturgical input from Bildersturm, registers in its own unique way the needs of refugee children – in the form of feature films, documentary films and animation films. Each of these films examines a different aspect of life without a home or without a family, without friends, or without even without familiar toys – and ostensibly without a future either. And, for a period of 8 to 12 minutes, each of these short films offers a glimpse of a brighter future. One film opens a window to a more colourful world, another conveys the notion that a loss is guaranteed to be followed by a renewed sense of hope while others give the refugee children the necessary tools to regain their courage, acquire greater self-awareness and express themselves more freely.
Birgit Schulz of Bildersturm has woven the seven short features into an episode film, adding Khaled Nawal’s documentary material from Lebanon, Jordan and Greece. In this way, the wishes and dreams of the children reflected in the episodes meet with a reality that appears timeless, without denying them a future. This creates a near-poetic melancholy that is repeatedly broken up by the energy of the children – an energy that knows no bounds the world over.
Beyond borders – Stories of freedom & friendship is to be shown as an episode film (80 minutes in length) at festivals, in cinemas, refugee camps, schools, etc. around the world. The film has already attracted considerable interest and a number of children’s film festivals are planning to show it. Supporting programmes with accompanying material will be developed together with media educators. However, the individual films can also be shown individually, both in short film programmes and on television.
The titles of the episodes are: · THE MAGNIFYING GLASS von Nazgol Emami · A THING ABOUT ME von Diana Menestrey und Camilo Colmenares · GIANT von Johanna Bentz · ABDULLAH von Khaled Nawal · THE MAGIC BALLOON von Sandra Dajani · SHADY von Nada Riad · THE BREAK von Madeleine Dallmeyer
33rd DOK.fest Munich VFF Documentary Film Production Award 2018
Cast and Crew
Director Johanna Bentz, Sandra Dajani, Madeleine Dallmeyer, Nazgol Emami, Diana Menestrey, Camilo Colmenares, Khaled Nawal