Tag Archives: documentary festival

Young audiences in the spotlight

Through cinema and creative documentary – an inexhaustible genre – we get fascinating glimpses of the world in which we live, we take distance from what happens to us, and we connect with all that’s happening to others and concerns us.

Guided by this motto, the KinderDocs International Documentary Festival for Children and Young Audiences in Greece celebrated its eighth year, with a fascinating programme of award-winning, thought-provoking documentaries complemented by educational activities, exciting encounters with international guests, and in-depth discussions that push the boundaries. Over the course of seven days, from 16 through 22 October 2023, three different venues welcomed cinephiles, film professionals, and enthusiastic young people, all seeking to delve into the many different facets of reality offered by documentaries designed specifically for young audiences. From a diverse array of perspectives a shared agreement emerged: these films hold importance and relevance.

An exciting and vibrant festival week

This year’s edition of KinderDocs kicked off with a Special Screening centred around the theme In search of our place in the world. Part of our extensive tribute to Germany, the event was held on Tuesday 17 October at the Goethe-Institut Athen.

Premiering in Greece, the desktop documentary Dear Dad and the episodic observational documentary Either Way skillfully capture the diverse concerns and aspirations of today's young generation in Europe through very distinct formats. Coming from Germany, the four promising emerging filmmakers (Karoline Roessler, Eva Louisa Gemmer, Hannah Jandl, and Lea Tama Springer) engaged in a comprehensive discussion on identity politics and other explorations that arise on the cusp of contemporary adulthood. Friedrich Burschel, drawing from his extensive experience as the Director of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Office in Greece, delved into the socio-political dimensions embedded in the films' themes. Moderated by the filmmaker Dimitra Kouzi, KinderDocs director, this enlightening discussion engaged the audience, providing an opportunity to draw parallels with the Greek context.

KinderDocs Industry Event

KinderDocs’ first Industry Event, titled ‘Documentaries for children and young people: International Approaches and Perspectives,’ explored strategies for engaging the coveted young audience on Thursday 19 October, hosted at the Goethe-Institut Athen. 

Acclaimed film professionals and representatives from prestigious festivals in the Netherlands, Germany, and Greece illuminated their approaches in how to make creative documentaries appeal to young viewers. Each presentation provided valuable insights into this multifaceted subject, encompassing filmmaking, content, programming, production, distribution, financing, and partnerships. Crucially, the ensuing discussion prompted insightful questions and generated fresh perspectives on current challenges and future possibilities. After eight years of working with young audiences, KinderDocs posed fundamental questions: 

What issues does documentary deal with? Are there other issues to highlight? What limitations must documentary overcome in order to mature as a film genre? What is the range of budgets in youth documentary production? Why are most documentaries for children shorts? How can you work interdisciplinarily with documentary films? What is the landscape in distribution and European co-productions in the Youth category?

, the first to feature documentaries for young people in its competition, entrusted this year's programming to award-winning director Niki Padidar (Ninnoc, All you See). She joined the KinderDocs industry event in Athens to present her vision for the future of the genre for the first time in public and posed the question on how we define a film for young people.

Marije Veenstra, IDFA's Head of Education, highlighted psychosocial approaches  and underscored the significance of diversifying genres and themes in a festival's educational programme; Having an enormous experience through her work at IDFA, she especially emphasised the importance of school screenings.

Gudrun Sommer, Director, DOXS RUHR Festival, underlined the genuine effort required at the European level in order to tell stories about specific situations experienced by young people through documentaries. This approach aims to gain a deeper understanding of their concerns, which go beyond mainstream topics and issues.
Drawing on the experience of organising KinderDocs for eight years now, and a decade of international collaborations in audience development for award-winning films such as La Chana, dir. Lucija Stojevic (IDFA Audience Award 2016), Communion, dir. Anna Zamecka, (EFA Best Documentary 2017), Radiograph of a Family, dir. Firouzeh Khosrovani (Best Feature-Length Documentary IDFA 2021) Apolonia, Apolonia, dir. Lea Glob, (EFA Awards 2023), Dimitra Kouzi a filmmaker herself works on, ‘How can we directors/producers/festivals/curators introduce creative documentaries to a wider audience, including  reaching out to young audiences, which are regarded as the most challenging to engage?
Sophia Exarchou, director of internationally acclaimed films Park and Animal, addressed the spreading conservatism in art, extending beyond youth documentaries; she discussed the implicit adjustments and moderations necessary when presenting a film. The spotlight should be on effective methods of educating the audience.
Directors Martijn Blekendaal (The Man Who Looked Beyond The Horizon) and Susanne Kim (Cabinets of Wonder) concluded with a profoundly important message that could only serve as a motivation for the industry: ‘We must take young people seriously’ – this involves not acting on behalf of them, but listening to their needs and engaging them, creating compelling stories.
Finally, director Martijn Blekendaal who starts his inspiring manifesto about youth documentaries sayig: ‘youth documentary has an image problem: it is the most underrated genre. documentary makers don’t take it seriously’ stated, ‘Almost any subject is suitable for a youth documentary; it's about how you tell the story.’ 

KinderDocs Festival Programme for Schools

Throughout the week, schools – both private and public – joined in the festival programme specifically curated for educational screenings at the Benaki Museum.

Elementary school children had the unique opportunity to meet the director Susanne Kim after the screening of her film Cabinets of Wonder. The school children that attended Sustainability: The Present Becomes the Future had an exciting hands-on experience inspired by one of the three short films they watched, Ramboy. The film explores the relationship between a grandson and his grandfather, a farmer in Ireland. The educational activity, titled The Wool Cycle: From Tradition to Today, was crafted in collaboration with The Pokari Project.

Meanwhile, secondary-education pupils attended a special screening of Aurora's Sunrise, a multi-awarded animation documentary recounting the story of a young girl who survived the Armenian genocide. Schoolchildren had a memorable Q&A with filmmaker Martijn Blekendaal (The Man Who Looked Beyond the Horizon), talking about personal fears and the limits we impose on ourselves to avoid the risk of failure. Pupils and teachers alike left the Benaki Museum enthused, inspired, and eager to continue exploring more educational material in the classroom.

The KinderDocs Festival wrapped up with the motto: EVERYBODY KinderDocs!

KinderDocs Family Weekend

The 2023 festival’s edition culminated in a vibrant weekend, inviting audiences of all ages to two days filled with back-to-back screenings at the Benaki Museum/Pireos 138. A total of 17 award-winning documentaries from 10 countries were screened in 8 thematic sections, tackling contemporary issues such as sustainable development, lesser-known aspects of world history, alternative youth pursuits, gender issues, human rights, juvenile delinquency, and the fragility of our digital selves. The films sparked compelling questions and stimulated lively discussions with guests from Greece and other countries, featuring international and Greek filmmakers (Martijn Blekendaal, Tine Kugler, Günther Kurth, Maria Sidiropoulou), historians (Serko Kougioumtzian), psychologists (Elena Koutsopoulou, Eva Spinou, Marilena Spyropoulou), and start-uppers (The Pokari Project). At the same time, participants immersed themselves in the imaginative world of youth in a unique VR experience linked to the film Cabinets of Wonder.

‘Standing in front of the camera was a form of psychotherapy for Kalle (the protagonist of the film Kalle Kosmonaut).’ Günther Kurth, Director/Producer
I was confronted with my own insights, because my film (The Man Who Looked Beyond the Horizon) is about being afraid and overcoming the fears that feed you. The end can also be seen as a beginning.’
Martijn Blekendaal, Director

8th KinderDocs Festival:
A genuine celebration for all creative-documentary enthusiasts,
offering a generous glimpse of what's yet to come!

Aurora’s Sunrise (97’), Inna Sahakyan, Armenia, 2022
Cabinets of Wonder (79’), Susanne Kim, Germany, 2020
Colors of Tobi (81’), Alexa Bakony, Hungary, 2021
Dear Dad (17’), Karoline Roessler, Germany, 2021
Either Way (45'), Eva Louisa Gemmer, Hannah Jandl, Lea Tama Springer, Germany, 2021
Herd (37’), Omer Daida, Israel, 2021
Ιnsight (20’), Emma Braun, Austria, 2022
Kalle Kosmonaut (99’), Tine Kugler, Günther Kurth, Germany, 2022
My Family is a Circus (16’), Nina Landau, Belgium, 2020
My Hair (3’), Max Jacoby, Luxembourg, 2021
One in a Million (84’), Joya Thome, Germany, 2022
Ramboy (31’), Matthias Joulaud, Lucien Roux, Switzerland, 2022
See you Tomorrow (20’), Kevin Biele, Germany, 2022
The Man who Looked Beyond the Horizon (26’), Martijn Blekendaal, Netherlands, 2019
The School by the Sea (29’), Solveig Melkeraaen, Norway, 2021
View (5’), Odveig Klyve, Norway, 2021
Water, Wind, Dust, Bread (25’), Mahdi Zamanpoor Kiasari, Iran, 2021    

Watch our interviews with KinderDocs 2023 guests:  

Either Way (So Oder So, Germany, 2021, 45ʹ): Interview with the Filmmakers
KALLE KOSMONAUT interview with the directors, Günther Kurth & Tine Kugler

Stay tuned, there is more coming out of the editing room!

We are always delighted to engage in partnerships with like-minded professionals across Europe who share our vision. If you’d like to collaborate with Kouzi Productions, we would love to hear from you!



[email protected]
[email protected] 

A Decade with Alice

Dimitra Kouzi Interviews Isabela von Tent, Alice On & Off before the world premiere in the international competition at Krakow Film Festival 2024

Dimitra Kouzi: What made you stay with Alice and film her story for more than ten years?

Isabela von Tent: The story goes back to 2014. I was in film school and, for an exam, I needed to make a documentary portrait of someone interesting. I had just moved to Bucharest a year before and barely knew anyone outside of school. Back in my tiny hometown in Transylvania, things were different. So, I asked my classmates for suggestions on interesting subjects. One of them, who also happens to be the sound guy on the film, knew Dorian and thought he could be a good subject. I found out he had a very young wife, and that's how I met Alice.

DK: How did that first encounter go?

IT: We were both shy. At the first shoot, I was super polite, asking formal questions, and Dorian gave these long-winded replies. Alice was mostly taking care of their child. After a few days of filming with them, I finally built up the courage to ask Alice if she wanted to talk. She said yes, but only after asking Dorian's permission, which he casually gave.

DK: And what kept you coming back?

IT: In the beginning, it was the exoticness of their lifestyle that drew me in, something completely unfamiliar to me. It took me a while to realize that we had similar pasts. I was raised by grandparents too, and my childhood wasn't easy, not like hers, but I understood her feelings – that longing for love and guidance while growing up.

DK: What exactly made you curious about them?

IT: It was the first time I wasn't being told what to do. My grandparents were very strict, and here I had this chance to explore and find out who I really connected with. Meeting Alice was a special experience. It was a feeling in my gut, a strong instinct that told me I had to stick with her. After finishing the short film for school, I thanked them and moved on. Funny how things turned out, but I randomly ran into Dorian on the street later and asked him about Alice. He told me the sad story of their breakup and how Alice had to give up her studies at the Fine Arts University to focus on taking care of the family. This news coincided with needing another documentary project for my next school year. Slowly, the idea of making a feature film about their messy but captivating life together started to form.

DK: So, how much footage did you end up with after ten years?

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IT: Not so much – around 70 hours.

DK: And did the story come together in the editing room then?

IT: Exactly. A big turning point came when my short film about Alice won a National Film Academy Award. Irina (Malcea, Luna Film) is a member of the Academy, saw the film, and someone connected us. It was a lucky break because at 23, I wasn't prepared to approach producers on my own.

DK: How much did these ten years of involvement influence your own life and decisions? What kind of mark did that involvement leave on you?

IT: A lot. I think the biggest thing that happened to me during this process was that it helped me understand why I was acting the way I was. I mean, why I just wasn't myself. For a long time, I was very very upset with how my parents and grandparents treated me. Of course, therapy is an option, but this was my process, through Alice, through our developing relationship. She wasn't very forthcoming about her past. Letting her tell her story helped me understand my own. That's why I agreed to share a bit of my personal journey in the film. Training my patience was a challenge for me as well. Throughout this process, I was constantly honing my patience while surrounded by colleagues who were actively working on various projects and films.

DK: You made the brave decision to become part of the film.

IT: Yes, but that decision came later, I guess. It was made in the editing room, because that's when a lot of things became clear. Over these ten years, I think the awakening moment, the moment I truly understood what the film was about, came during editing.

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DK: How did the producer, Irina Malcea, help you get to that point?

IT: Irina fulfilled many roles for me. She was a mentor, a sister, and a very caring and loving friend.

DK: Did you ever feel like putting the camera down?

IT: No, I never felt like quitting. However, I was always very careful about how I filmed them. We have a lot of raw footage that's more aggressive, or grounded in reality, but I didn't include it because I didn't think it was essential.

DK: How about the scene where Aristo shuts his ears while they're fighting?

IT:  When I went home afterwards, I questioned myself a lot. Why didn't I put the camera down? Why didn't I call the police? The answer is, I think I was more scared than he was. For him, this was a kind of reality, and somehow, he knew how to cope with it. If I'd stopped filming, I would have chosen not to show a very important part of this child's life. Even though it's difficult to watch, and many people will criticize me for continuing to film, I'm more than happy to answer their questions and explain that I couldn't ignore this significant aspect of Aristo's life.

DK: How much responsibility do you feel towards Aristo in general? You've followed him from birth until now, when he's a young boy aged 11.

IT: I actually feel a lot of responsibility. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. I've heard many opinions on how to act or behave with your characters after filming is complete. But I choose to behave like a human. It's important to me to be part of his development, as much as he allows me to be, especially now that Dorian has just been diagnosed with cancer. We found out two weeks ago [April 2024]. So now I'm quite involved in what's happening with Aristo.

DK: That is very sad to hear. So what's happening with Aristo now?

IT: He's actually doing okay. He's continuing his martial-arts training, which has helped him develop a lot. He's changed a lot. He's a teenager, of course, a young teenager just starting his journey through those rough teenage years, but he's changed significantly. He looks healthier and more energetic. This sport has really helped him. I connected him with his trainer and helped him start training. It's been very beneficial for him. That's one way I'm helping him. Also, after his mother disappeared, I never stopped searching for her. We searched for her a lot.

DK: What other ethical challenges did you have to overcome? How did you manage to balance being an artist with making your film?

IT: It wasn't an easy journey to overcome the ethical questions. But most of the time, when I faced ethical dilemmas, I tried to imagine how I would feel if I were the character being filmed. I did this a lot and asked myself, 'Would I be comfortable with this?' We participated in many workshops where I shared my thoughts and fears with others, especially at Ex-Oriente and the Doku-Rough Cut Boutique. Those discussions helped us solidify the understanding that respecting the characters was the right approach. The rule, I think, was always to respect your character – respect Alice as a friend, respect her as a woman, and keep that in mind at all times.

DK: Would you say that your protagonists also learned something through this process?

IT: I want to believe that, after seeing the film, something changed within Alice. It was an hour and a half of roller-coaster emotions because it was the first time they were together in the same room, watching their lives unfold. I saw a shift in her, a sense that change might be coming. I don't know if it will happen in two months or three, but for the first time, she said to me, 'Thank you.' Just hearing her say 'Thank you' – it was very deep and heartfelt. She looked me in the eyes and said it, and that was very emotional for me.

DK: In general, Alice was very self-reflective in the film. I was very impressed by that. Do you think that's just how she is, or was it the filming process and your questions that brought that out?

IT: I think it was a combination of both her personality and her needs. The documentary process, the filming itself, became a way for her to be heard. She felt trapped in a family dynamic where she was solely responsible for providing – for the child, for Dorian – and her own needs were left behind. Talking to me, and having most of our conversations focus on her, I believe, created a balance that allowed her to be heard and to talk about herself.

DK: So, how would you describe Alice now that the film is finished? Now that you have some distance and perspective.

IT: I think Alice is an unloved girl, an unloved child trapped in a young woman's life. There's a lot of beauty within her that often goes unseen. She has a lot to offer. I saw the hope and the spark of joy within her. I truly wish that it will come back and that she will find the strength to overcome this very dark period in her life. She's vulnerable, but at the same time, she's powerful. Somehow, through her craziness and her courage to express her feelings authentically, she's grown. I saw the light in her paintings, a place where she felt safe. I saw the light when she played with her son.

DK: Can you reflect on the film's logline: 'How can you be loved if nobody has taught you how?'

IT:  It just emerged instantly. Mirroring myself through Alice's story, when I asked myself what I was missing in my personal development and what Alice was missing, the word 'love' came to mind.

DK: You refer to Dorian as an anti-hero.

IT: I appreciate him a lot for what he did for the child and how he helped Alice. When they met, she was in a very dark place, full of drugs and alcohol. He gave her hope. He had the emotional space to listen to her and encourage her to find a better path. He also gave her the space she needed to do that. But at some point, his darker side emerged – perhaps selfishness. He can be selfish when he wants to be, when his own interests take priority over their common ground. Interestingly, he was very aware of the camera.

DK: In what sense?

IT: In terms of his behavior. For example, remember the scenes where they were fighting? He was very quiet, uncharacteristically silent. I think, because he knew I was there, he put some limits on himself to avoid looking bad. During workshops, many people felt that Dorian wasn't all right, that he didn't always make good choices. On the other hand, you can't entirely blame him. We have beautiful footage of him caring for the child and taking care of Alice when she was younger. And after she left, he continued to care for the child. It's difficult to solely blame him for not always being honest.

DK: Where is Alice today? What's she doing?

IT: She has a new boyfriend, and from what I understand, he also struggles with drug addiction. She still visits her son often. I was surprised to see her at Dorian's place when I went to show them the film. She doesn't have a phone or internet access now, so I had no idea she would be there. I found her to be in a much better state than the last time I saw her, which was after an overdose. She was in a very bad shape then.

DK: Do you think there's a chance she can be saved or escape this path?

IT: She can escape it if she wants to. I can try to help her in a million different ways, but if she doesn't want, she won't be saved. 

DK: What emotions do you hope the audience experiences when they watch your film?

IT: I want them to question themselves. I've learned that uncomfortable feelings can reveal a very beautiful truth.

DK: Thank you, Isabela. It was a pleasure. I feel like I know you a bit better now. 

IT: Thank you for giving me this opportunity.



Isabela Von Tent, Director, DoP

Isabela's filmmaking journey began after she studied film directing and journalism.  She initially served as an assistant director on both national and international productions, collaborating with renowned Romanian filmmakers like Radu Jude and Tudor Giurgiu. These experiences provided invaluable training, but it was Isabela's unique perspective on reality and her passion for storytelling that drew her to documentary filmmaking.

Her debut in this genre, a short documentary, garnered the prestigious Romanian National Film Award. Driven by a desire to explore non-classical approaches to documentary storytelling, Isabela embarked on her first feature film. Shot over a span of ten years, this ambitious project led Isabela to participate in influential international training programs like Docu Rough Cut Boutique, ExOriente, and ZagrebDox Pro.


All the Names that Start with C (2016), 14 min

short fiction

  • Festivals: Anonimul IFF, Romania 2016; STIFF Student International Film Festival, Croatia 2016

Chat with Alice (2015)

short documentary, 20 min

  • Cinemaiubit ISFF 2015 Awards: Best Short Documentary
  • Gopo Awards 2016: Best Short Documentary Film
  • Visegrad Film Forum: Case Study
  • Alter-Native 24, Tg Mures: Official Selection
  • STIFF International Student Film Festival, Croatia: Official Selection
  • Toamna La Voronet International Film Festival: Special Mention
  • Astra Film, Sibiu, Romania, 2016: Official Selection
  • DocuArt Fest, Bucharest, Romania 2016: Official Selection

Alice (2014)

Short documentary, 7 min

  • Cinemaiubit ISFF 2014, Victor Iliu Prize for Best Director of Short Documentary Film
  • Premiile Gopo 2015: Nominated for Best Short Documentary Film

‘Norwegian Democrazy’ international Premiere @ Hot Docs 2024! Interview

Bård Kjøge Rønning and Fabien Greenberg (Directors/Producers)

Interview by Dimitra Kouzi

Freedom of speech played out at the street level: A deep dive into the extreme Islam-critical group SIAN (Stop the Islamization of Norway) and the chaos they cause.

‘Norwegian Democrazy’ explores the clash between free speech and hate speech. It follows the controversial Islam-critical group SIAN and their protests, which spark heated debates and require heavy police protection. We see both sides - SIAN's leader and their opponents - as the film probes the future of free speech in a democracy.

1. What motivated you to delve into the subject matter of SIAN (Stop the Islamization of Norway) and its impact on Norwegian society?

Our initial idea was to dig into the history of integration in Norway with an optimistic approach and angle it towards freedom of speech and cultural expression, but we soon grasped the need for more immediate and current material. At the time, the BLM movement was roaring, and SIAN’s demonstrations caused a huge chaos. So, we decided to seek access there and reshuffle our storyboard. 

2. Could you describe the process of gaining unique access to SIAN leader Lars Thorsen and his partner Fanny Bråten for the documentary?

We phoned Lars, the leader, and arranged for a first meeting. We laid out our premise and intention, and slowly gained access into the organisation and its core members. They were very skeptical at first, but after each time meeting them they loosened up and let us be present with them almost anywhere, both privately and in the public sphere.

3. In the film, you explore the concept of freedom of speech in relation to SIAN's activities. How do you perceive the boundaries of freedom of speech in such contentious contexts?

Freedom of speech is highly regarded in Norway, which is considered to be one of the “freest” countries in the world. Article 100 in the Norwegian Constitution makes it the responsibility of the State to protect freedom of speech. Since Thorsen’s message, and even the burning of a holy book, is legal, the police must protect him, according to the law. When you regard freedom of speech in that equation, have we gone too far? Are we in fact protecting abuse of freedom of speech? Where do we, as a society, draw a red line? Should we let extreme right wingers roam freely, spreading hate? Are we going from Democracy to Democrazy?

4. The film touches on the parallels between SIAN's rhetoric and the tragic history of right-wing extremism in Norway, particularly the actions of Anders Behring Breivik. How do you navigate the sensitivity of this comparison?

This is indeed sensitive. We have seen what Breivik did, and what certain extremist individuals are capable of. Our main focus was an observational approach to the origin of hate, and how the most heated debate of our time plays out at the street level, a deep dive into how freedom of speech works in turbulent times, and the health of our democracy. We were definitely aware of the Breivik parallel, and it scared us, but we tried to stick to our focus and goals with the documentary.   

5. Axel, a young counter-demonstrator, is one of the main characters in your film. What drew you to follow his story, and what insights did you gain from his perspective?

We certainly needed a dramaturgical and narrative counterweight to SIAN. Axel is a bright and brave young man who, after thinking it through, chose to be part of the film, and we are very happy for that. Axel was also perfect because he is a liberal leftist with a very open mind and cognitive horizon. 

6. Can you discuss the challenges you faced while filming scenes of SIAN's rallies and demonstrations, considering the potential for confrontation and violence?

Oh yes! It was unpleasant and hectic at times. Tear gas, fences being thrown, punches given. And a lot of eyes were on us, being up there, with them, filming. For us, moving from the SIAN stand to the crowd of young counter-demonstrators, and back to the SIAN stand, we had to move and behave in a very low key and keep a low profile, but also boldly when needed.    

7. SIAN's activities have been described as racist and provocative by many. How did you approach portraying their ideology and actions while maintaining journalistic integrity?

We do mostly observational documentaries. In the case of “Norwegian Democrazy,” we weren’t sure if we could do it without doing interviews or engaging in critical dialogue with the main characters. But we chose to go for it, because we believed it would make a truer and deeper film. We did numerous interviews with lawyers, supreme court judges, politicians, and experts, but chose not to use them. We would risk to lose the immediate dramatic feeling in the film. The editing process, with Linn Heidi Slåttøy, was very helpful, in terms of making ethical choices with time and thorough thinking.

8. What do you hope viewers will take away from "Norwegian Democrazy" regarding the current state of democracy and freedom of speech in Norway and beyond?

We hope the audience leaves the cinemas eager to discuss and engage in debate. Democracy means so many different things. At a time where democracy declines in many countries, we want to foster an open debate that can give people a deeper understanding of democracy’s pillars and the risks it’s facing.

9. You have described the film as offering a "rough rollercoaster ride" experience for viewers. How did you balance the emotional impact with the need to convey complex political and social issues?

We gave it a lot of thought during the editing process. Here, we wanted to make the cinematic experience strong and intense, to create emotional impact. We also tried to be notoriously tidy with laws and paragraphs, and precise with our indirect gaze towards these topics.

10. As directors, what ethical considerations did you prioritise when making decisions about how to present sensitive topics like hate and racism in Europe?

We wanted to do it up close, on the street level, for the intensity and realness of it, because we wanted to make a good film, with a strong impact. There were many elements of doubt on the ethical side: privacy, young people, possible threats, and so on. The blurring is a measure we took in this regard. We also have tens of good scenes that we cut out, due to an image or content that could possibly be harmful or dangerous for someone.

11. "Norwegian Democrazy" has received critical acclaim and has been showcased at prestigious film festivals. How do you anticipate its reception internationally, particularly in regions where similar extremist movements exist?

We hope the film creates a debate on freedom of speech that is open and healthy. We want to create a debate on hate, on racism, on prejudice, on how a modern state deals with all this. We do believe its reception will be mainly positive, but it will for sure spark controversy and be criticised, as well. We have felt it in the Q & A’s, lots of hands in the audience going up in the air – like in a heated classroom.

12. What role does documentary filmmaking play in fostering understanding and dialogue around contentious issues like those explored in "Norwegian Democrazy"? 

We believe the documentary is becoming increasingly important. Reality is getting distorted in our world: AI, algorithms, fake news, social media, people read much less, woke/anti-woke, and so on… A good documentary has a topical quality about it, which is solid and indispensable. A good documentary shows; it doesn’t tell. A good documentary has the possibility to change people and their behaviour – that is our motivation with every film, to make a change somehow. Let’s see how it goes this time.

International Premiere: HotDocs, Toronto, 2 May 2024 (selected for THE CHANGING FACE OF EUROPE)
European Premiere: DokFest Munich, 6 May 2024
Norwegian Premiere: Human IDFF, 5 March 2024

Sales and distribution

Acquisitions l Journeyman Pictures l T: +44 (0)2087866050 l M +44(0)7789381184 



Festival Distribution Norwegian Film Institute 

Festival Contact Elisabeth Aalmo, Norwegian Film Institute 

[email protected]

+47 932 66 554


Lie to Me Interview with Bår Tyrmi and Dag Mykland

by Dimitra Kouzi

Bår Tyrmi, director and co-editor, ‘Lie to me’

Dag Mykland, producer and co-director, ‘Lie to me’

Dimitra Kouzi: What initially drew you to the story of the OneCoin scam?
Dag Mykland (D): It’s actually quite a story. I remember the date well. It was 6 June 2020, and I was walking to the office, when I got a phone call from an unknown number. I picked up, and this guy just told me: ’My name is Bjørn Bjercke. I’ve sent you two messages on LinkedIn. Google me, and I’ll call you back in 20 minutes.’ I remember thinking: ‘Who the hell is this?’

Bår Tyrmi (B): Yes, I remember you phoned me just after that. We both googled and decided this was extremely interesting.

D: That phone call sent us straight down the OneCoin rabbit hole! 

Bjørn Bjercke is a central character. How did you gain his trust and convince him to participate in the documentary?

B: We had previously made two other feature docs on blockchain technology: 'The Bitcoin Experiment' in 2015 and 'The Code of Trust' in 2019. They both screened on the national broadcaster NRK, and Bjørn had watched them. He liked our approach to the technology and how we  made documentaries. He basically chose us to make the film about his story.

D: It was how we portrayed and explained crypto technology that caught his attention. I guess making hundreds of movies for educational purposes back in the day really paid off.

'Lie to Me' follows Bjørn Bjercke for over three years. What were the biggest challenges in capturing his journey in terms of your or other people’s safety? Did you as filmmakers ever feel unsafe or under threat?

D: Bjørn has received serious threats to himself and his family, and is still living at a secret address. This meant we could never disclose the real locations when filming, and we had to keep the shooting dates and places secret.

B: I remember meeting Jamie Bartlett with Bjørn in London. He is the journalist behind the award-winning BBC podcast 'The Missing Cryptoqueen,' and has been researching the OneCoin case for years. He had his doubts whether Bjørn was exaggerating the security issues. But after Jamie started receiving threats himself, he told us he was so happy to be protected by the BBC. That made him think how brave Bjørn was to stand up to these people.

D: We have not received threats. But when we went to the Stockholm event in 2022 and confronted the OneCoin leaders, they were quite angry with us for spreading 'lies.' But it’s really Bjørn, Jonatan, Duncan, Layla, Daniel, and Amjad who have been the brave ones. And for us as documentarists, such discoveries are golden!

How did you distinguish the truth from all those lies while doing the research? 

D: That is really difficult because the information about OneCoin comes from so many different sources: social media, blogs, online newspapers, court documents, emails, chat groups… There are so many stakeholders. Some want to clear their name, some want their money back, some want to keep on scamming, some want to bring criminals to justice. They all have their own side to the story.

B: You have to double-check the information.  When the same facts appear in different places, different sources and stakeholders, you can kind of conclude that they are true. It’s very time-consuming, and you can never be one hundred per cent sure that what you’ve found is true. You have to go for what is plausible and most likely to be true.

D: I remember us saying, 'It’s hard to spot a scam in a room full of liars.' That was our working motto while researching this story. But after working on it for more than three years, we have formed quite a good picture of what really happened.

The film explores the psychology behind the scam. Can you elaborate on the specific techniques used by OneCoin to manipulate investors?

D: The people behind OneCoin were very clever; you have to give it to them. It was the first scam that really combined crypto with multi-level marketing. At a scale never seen before. Erica says in our film, 'Not only are you gonna get rich, but if you get your friend to invest, you'll get loads more money, and if you get other people to invest, you'll get lots more money.' It really hit people in a psychological weak spot. That, combined with the insecurity and hype around Bitcoin’s  investment potential – it really hit hard.

B: The combination of social psychology with branding, group and cult mentality, and prospects of getting rich quick was brilliant. If you just add a bit of scarcity or exclusivity to it, it creates a massive FOMO (fear of missing out). It’s all very emotional; it gets you hooked. And that cocktail spread like wildfire.

In terms of storytelling, can you elaborate on the specific techniques used to build the story? 
B: A challenge with ‘Lie to Me’ was that it is a complex, multi-character story. It stretches over a period of eight years, and the starting point of the film is in the middle of that timeline. But to fully understand who these people are and the plot, we take leaps forward and backward in time… We worked a lot with the narrative structure, when to provide and when to withhold information. Our editor, Jo Eldøen, has really done a fantastic job structuring the film.

We wanted to keep our audience in suspense throughout the 90 minutes, and make them feel the same way as we did while we worked with the film. When we thought we knew where the story was going, a new surprise would pop up out of nowhere. It is a real rollercoaster!

That emotionality was one of the things we tried to bring to the film through the use of archive footage and graphics.

D: It’s been a thrilling ride for sure. We also worked with the scriptwriter Siw Rajendram Eliassen as a consultant for the narrative. She really helped us figure out the main sentences of what we were looking into. That helped us when we had to make decisions on the fly.

B: I remember her saying, 'Somebody has to die in the fourth act.'

Does anyone die?

D: I guess you have to watch the film to find out.

The banker Duncan Arthur, a former OneCoin insider, is also featured. How did his perspective contribute to the film's narrative?

D: Duncan has been extremely important for the film. On one hand, he gave us a lot of inside information we could use to verify the actual story. He also made us realise that this story is kind of a tragedy for everybody involved, including the people behind it. Everybody loses on a scam like this.

On the other hand, his dubious persona impersonates the OneCoin scam, in a way. He’s selling, funny, open, and you kind of want to trust him – but can you?

The documentary highlights the international reach of the OneCoin scam. How did you approach filming across different countries?

B: The OneCoin scam is global, so we soon realised we would have to travel. We would research online, and reach out to people that had expressed interesting views in chat rooms or online publications. Sometimes it would take months to get a reply. A lot of people have been hesitant to participate. It is quite an undertaking to come forward in a case like this. It was also challenging because we never offered sign-off fees to participate in our film as many other production companies do. We wanted people to talk with us for the right reasons.

D: But when a person finally agreed, we would act fast to secure the shoot before they change their mind. This has been quite risky, economically, because we are a small production company on a low budget. Luckily most trips ended in solid stories and have ended up in the final edit.

'Lie to Me' is troubling because the scam persists despite being exposed. What do you hope viewers will learn from this aspect of the story?

B: Even if it can be shameful to realise that you have been scammed, it is never too late to pull out. Too many people continue just because they do not want to realise that they have been wrong.

D: It’s sad to hear and see all these people who have lost money but still have hope. I guess when you’re too far down a scam like this, it’s sometimes easier to accept another lie than to face the truth.

You mentioned the film utilises graphics and archive footage. Can you give some examples of how you chose them and how  these elements enhance the storytelling?

B: We wanted to reflect some of the tackiness and larger-than-life nature of the whole OneCoin environment in the visual style of the film. The OneCoin people live on lies, and that is reflected in how they present themselves. Gold, champagne, fast cars, Hollywood glam… but in a tacky way. This has inspired us in choosing the archive and the use of stock footage, and editing the sequences as compact film trailers.

D: Internally, we have referred to the archive sequences as 'film-poems.' We are not so concerned to illustrate exactly what the different persons in the film are talking about, but more about finding the feeling and deeper message in what they say.

The production spanned three and a half years. Were there any surprising discoveries or developments during filming? 

D: Too many! Basically we set out to make a retrospective film about a fake cryptocurrency already exposed as a scam, with the people behind it in jail or missing. Yet we ended up following an ongoing scam for more than three years… so the film was full of surprising discoveries for us. Even now, there’s new developments in the case against the leaders of OneCoin. This story never ceases to surprise us.

How did you work together as the  film’s two directors? 

B: Dag and I have been working together for almost 15 years, and for the last 10 years we have run the Hacienda production house together. In most productions, we cooperate on scriptwriting, production, directing, and editing. We have a saying that no ideas are too small, irrelevant, or crazy to be discussed.

Investigative documentaries are hard and expensive to make. What would make your work easier? 

D: We’re lucky to have a wide range of funding opportunities in Norway. But working with investigative documentaries, the lines between development stage and production are often blurry. It’s an ongoing process and story, and you never know what comes next – you simply have to be aware and throw yourself at what you believe is important to catch on camera. We all know shooting days are expensive, and I believe having access to more of the film’s total budget earlier in the process would make it easier and less financially risky for small production houses such as Hacienda. However, I must also give credit to some of the consultants at Norwegian Film institute and Sørnorsk Film Centre, who have been with us in every step. Especially how they are so open and helpful in creating the best story by adjusting budget, production plan, partnering in narrative and plot-talks along the way.

The documentary has already been acquired by TVE, NRK, SVT, and Al Jazeera. What is your vision for the film's future?

D: We hope the film can be screened in more festivals in North and South-America, Europe, and Asia. The topic is global, so I hope it would attract an audience that either wants to watch it or perhaps needs to watch it.

The ambition is that when financial opportunities like OneCoin or any other scheme come along, you’re able to see the red flags and keep away.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently in making this documentary?

B: There are always many things that could have been done differently. We should have aimed for a higher budget to allow ourselves more time in post-production. And there were some leads and possible shoots that we had to cancel for financial or risk reasons… Looking back, it would have made the film even more global.

'Lie to Me' goes beyond simply exposing a scam. What is the larger message you want audiences to take away?

D: If something looks like a rat, walks like a rat, and smells like a rat… it is probably a rat.

B: There are a lot of people and organisations that want our attention, time, money, and endorsement. We all need to be aware of the red flags. If something looks or sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Interview by ‘Silent Trees’ Director, Agnieszka Zwiefka, to Dimitra Kouzi

Dimitra Kouzi: You were impressively confident from the beginning about what you were doing, in a situation which was utterly chaotic. How was that? What drew you to Runa’s story?

Agnieszka Zwiefka: I try to follow impulses, instincts in my work. When I heard about the refugee crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, I had an impulse to just go there. I had no idea whom I would meet and what story I would find. We started to volunteer in a refugee camp. I remember when I saw Runa and her family for the first time. They had just arrived, and their mother was still alive, in a hospital. I felt this impulse yet again. To follow them, especially Runa as a teenage girl. I immediately understood that showing the refugee crisis through the eyes of the refugee children is the most powerful way to tell this story. After all, they are the ones affected the most by this humanitarian crisis. From the moment I met Runa I knew she should be the main protagonist. She had this unbelievable strength in her, this silent resilience. I think it was love at first sight. I believe that you need to fall in love at first sight with your protagonist.

Dimitra Kouzi: You left your hometown, your daughters, who are teenagers, and went far away to the border to help. Is this how you normally operate?

No, I’d say it was a state of emergency in a way. Me and my friends in Poland were shocked by what was going on at the border – the refugee crisis we knew from the Mediterranean suddenly was ‘next door’. But what was even more shocking was the reaction of the Polish government, which immediately restricted access to these people. Volunteers, medical aid, journalists, no one was allowed to enter, no one was allowed to help. And for me, that was so inhuman that I knew I had to do something about it. I guess deep inside I’m a punk. And whenever someone tells me not to go somewhere, it becomes very tempting to actually go there, to tell the untold stories. So that was the beginning.

DK: When you met the family, you immediately started filming. We all know how difficult it is to gain the trust of somebody we want as a protagonist. How did that work out, with the DOP, the camera?

AZ: I’m always very honest with my protagonists. I told the family I was not going to be there for a week, or two, or a month. It’s a long, long journey together. I used the help of an interpreter through the phone, so they were aware of what I was planning to do. But we were filming without the support of an interpreter, following our instincts. Later, when we translated the footage, we discovered that in most cases our instincts were correct. I also choose my crew very carefully. My DOP, Kacper Czubak, is a very kind and empathetic person. On an everyday basis, it was just me and him.

Establishing a bond with documentary characters usually takes a long time and requires patience, trust. I am always prepared for that. But in this case, it all happened very quickly. I guess being together with someone during the most traumatic events of their lives creates this bond very quickly. We were together with them at the very moment they learned about their mother’s death. We cried together. Of course, we didn’t film everything. We tried to carefully choose what to film and what not to film. And this is also one of the methods of working in such situations. But just being with them in this groundbreaking moment in their lives, created a much stronger and deeper bond.

DK: On one hand, you are empathetic and on the other hand you need to create scenes, to find these moments which will enable you to build the story. How do you deal with these issues and the ethical questions involved?

AZ: One issue was that we filmed in a language we didn’t speak. We didn’t have an interpreter on set because access to this refugee camp was restricted. But I think intuition helped us. There is an international language of emotions. In some of the scenes with Runa and her father, we didn’t know what was being said, but we could sense it was important. That was the biggest challenge. You need to develop another sense to pick up these elements. Baravan, Runa’s father, is an amazing protagonist because he is totally sincere. He never tries to pretend, to be someone else. He’s the first protagonist of any of my films that completely doesn’t have any mask on; he wears his heart on his sleeve. That also helped us to have a little light in the darkness we were filming in, because it was really filming in the darkness.

DK: What other challenges did you face during filming?

AZ: Filming the most emotionally difficult moments – especially the mother’s funeral. They actually asked us to film it. I was filming it myself and I remember I wasn’t even sure if the footage was in focus or not because my eyes were so full of tears. I didn’t know what to do, grab the kids and hug them, or film the scene, which was very important for the story. This kind of schizophrenia, I think, is embedded in every work of a documentary film director that touches upon tragedies, traumas, dramatic events, because we have to be at the same time a psychologist who knows how to approach people and open them up, a friend who is there to support, an ‘engineer’ who takes care of the film’s construction, and an artist who has a vision. A lot to handle.

DK: You must also be distanced, not emotionally involved.

AZ: But very often it’s the friend who wins. And that’s when we put the camera away. I always try to explain why we need to film some scenes. It got better with time because the kids started to understand first English, then Polish. Now we have a fluent communication. In fact, they watched the film last week.

DK: That’s also another crucial moment, when they watch the film.

AZ: It was an amazing evening for us because Runa was enchanted by the animations. And when she saw her drawings come alive, she had her mouth wide open and told me, ‘That’s exactly how it was in my head.’

DK: Nice! What is the message you hope the audience will get by watching ‘Silent Trees’?

AZ: I wanted to show the human face of the refugee crisis. Not numbers, not distant stories. Now the European Union is debating legalising pushbacks. That means that people will be sent through the freezing forests, through the Mediterranean, back to their home countries because some bureaucratic system decides so. I wanted to give voice to the people that very often don’t have a voice.

DK: How did you work with animators to balance and bring Runa’s feelings to life?

AZ: The reason we created these animated parts was to enable the audience to see the world through Runa’s eyes, to enter her mind and experience the world through her imagination. Of course, animations are not realistic; they give us the possibility of creating worlds that don’t exist. But we based them very strongly on Runa’s drawings. She had a sketchbook filled with disturbing images, such as trees swallowing people and spitting out bones, a girl sitting on the verge of an abyss. We wanted to bring these images to life. I knew that this world, the sub-world of the film, had to be black and white, harsh but sometimes also poetic. We were visually inspired by Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel ‘Persepolis,’ which also uses a young girl’s perspective. Our animation studio, Yellow Tapir, is one of the top studios in Poland. They were very engaged with the film because of its subject matter, as they were also shocked by the refugee crisis. They studied Runa’s drawings, and we slowly developed a style based on them.

The way we worked on combining the two layers of the film is that we first filmed all the documentary scenes and only then started to work on animation. We were looking for documentary scenes that could lead into the animated world, places where animations can add something, at the same time taking care of their rhythm.

DK: You often focus on girls and women, on the female perspective. Is it a statement you want to make by telling their stories?

AZ: I think women are still not portrayed in films enough, and if they are, they are often shown as victims only. One could argue that Runa is also a victim of circumstance, yet she’s so powerful and strong, being the leader of her family and taking care of her brothers and father. This is why I fell in love with her as a documentary character, because of this strength inside her. I want to tell stories about strong women. But there is also another topic I am a bit obsessed with: outsiders. Actually, all my films in one way or another showed people outside of the mainstream – whether it’s a gypsy community (‘The Queen of Silence,’ 2014), female fighters from Tamil Tigers, an organisation designated as terrorist (‘Scars,’ 2020), or an elderly DJ (‘Vika!,’ 2023). The elderly are often outsiders as well. And Runa, as a refugee, is an outsider in our society. I think this comes from the fact that I also used to be an outsider. I was a migrant child as well, I emigrated with my family to the USA. It wasn’t the same situation Runa faces, but I found myself in a completely different world with no familiar ground beneath me. I think I empathise with people who are in situations like that. I understand what it’s like to suddenly have your life as you know it radically end.

DK: You also tell stories about stateless nations.

AZ: Yes. Roma, Tamils, Kurds…  They are also outsiders wherever they go. The need for a home is something that is very much present in my films. I think home is a basic human need, and Runa is willing to sacrifice everything to build a home for her brothers.

DK: What other aspect binds your main characters together throughout your body of work in your perspective as an artist?

AZ: I look for protagonists who have light inside them, this kind of light that shines even in total darkness. But it’s always a subconscious choice. It’s not like I set out to do an anthology about specific groups or countries. I think it’s intuition, really.

DK: Do you plan to continue making documentaries, in addition to the fiction film you are currently preparing?

AZ: Honestly, I think this is my last documentary.

DK: You’re a successful documentary filmmaker with a unique style, and now you’re venturing into fiction. Why abandon documentaries?

AZ: Because it’s just too demanding psychologically. I find myself deeply affected by the stories and characters I follow. My filmmaking process involves staying connected, not disconnecting, from the world I portray even after the editing is finished. This constant exposure to trauma is psychologically draining. We, documentary film directors, while not experiencing the same level of trauma as the victims of the conflicts we cover, are still affected by it. When you accumulate this over years and years, at some point it becomes too much. This story with Runa nearly broke me, especially being with the children on the day their mother died.

DK: Why did they ask you to film the mother’s funeral?

AZ: Their future was quite uncertain, and films can sometimes change people’s lives for the better. I don’t believe that we can solve global problems and humanitarian crises. But we can help individuals. And they felt that bringing attention to their fate, their tragedy can help them be more secure in Poland.

DK: Do you always work with the same team – the same cinematographer, editor, and composer?

AZ: Choosing a team is crucial. It’s like a marriage, working with the same people for many years as we always do in observational feature-length documentaries. With Kacper Czubak, my DOP, it’s our second film together, and we already have some new plans. But I am also open to new collaborations – as in the case of our composer. We are very lucky to have Niklas Paschburg on board. He is a very well-known musician, a true star of the arthouse music scene.

DK: What creative choices did you make about the music?

AZ: We wanted it to be subtle, minimalistic, and to evoke emotions. Through simple sounds, we wanted to make our audience feel the pain or the joy our protagonists are experiencing. It was more about subtracting than adding.

DK: How is Runa today? How is she today, how are things with her family, her father, and brothers?

AZ: Most of the film was shot in 2022. The situation is basically the same as you see at the end of the film. They have received temporary asylum. Runa is still going to school. Now she speaks perfect Polish. She still wants to become a lawyer.

Time heals, so they are a bit better now, but still moments come when this forest just enters Runa’s head, and I can see her disconnecting from the world around her. It’s a trauma that will keep on hitting back for years, if not for ever.

The film ‘Silent Trees’ is having its World Premiere at CPH:DOX in March 2024 and the Polish Premiere at Krakow Film Festival in May 2024.

Winner at Prix Europa Iris!

Strong women and humour is the recipe for the winner in the 2015 IRIS Doc category (intercultural docs)


And the winner is Patience, Patience You'll Go To Paradise! by
Hadja Lahbib (Belgium, 2014, 85 min.)
After watching the film we had a group discussion (as we always do every day after screenings at Prix Europa)
Here is an interesting insight about reactions to the film.
First of all, the women in the group reacted and said:

I loved it - I wanted to shout/clap my hands while watching it, a lot of humor, it's the first time I saw this kind of story.
The whole day I am about to cry, but this film! I enjoyed the power and the humour!
Women empowerment, multi-culture, diversity, all in! Bravo!
Everybody was laughing, it was a good-mood film!
Thank you for all the mothers, a film with a lot of love!
This film was a brilliant film about diversity.
At first I will say something very unusual - it was not too long! (87 min.)
It showed us that nothing is impossible.
I hope the Swedish television shows it.
It was such a relief - that these women dare to open the door and go!
The story is universal; my mum could also identify, and she is Swedish.
These women do something for the youngsters.
This film made my day!
It's challenging to treat serious films with humour!
We loved it!
This film was so rich - had so many layers, it was light but talked about heavy things (topics). There are scenes you carry for a long time.
You took us to a place (these women's world) where we would never be able to go!
Great humour and power in the film.
I wanted to go deeper into the individual life of them and we stayed most of the time in their group.
That's what I liked: that everything came out of a group discussion. The scene with the scarf was very strong!
This programme speaks to all the audiences. It was so authentic. And even disability was a part of the normal life. This is an extra point for the film.

And then Hadja Lahbib from Belgium (journalist, director, author, producer) responded to the comments. It was a very difficult film. It took three years of her life. In the beginning she produced it alone. She had a bigger group of women of different nationalities, and a lot of them stepped out, and then she made the film we saw.

"I had no support from the commissioners (they said the script is not good, they wanted women with veil etc.); only RTBF, the broadcaster where I work, was positive from the beginning."

Hadja Lahbib, not only a good documentary director but also a very successful journalist and anchorwoman in Belgium

About the film:
In the 1960s, thousands of North Africans came to work in Belgium. Among them were women who had left everything behind to follow their men to an unknown country. “Patience, patience—you’ll get to heaven” was what these women were repeatedly told to encourage them to put up with their lives without complaining. Fifty years on, some of them are savouring emancipation. They turn out to be incredibly fun, loving, and capable of uninhibited self-mockery. This film follows them as they make new discoveries, through the simplicity of their excursions, their warm femininity, and sense of humour.

Watch the trailer (in French)

Production / Diffusion : Les Passeurs de Lumière, Clair-Obscur Productions, RTBF Bruxelles, ARTE France

Be at the Pitching 2014 in Thessaloniki !

A must place to be during the Festival are the Open Pitching Sessions in Pavlos Zannas, Olympion cinema, on Saturday 22 March from 10:00-15:00 and on Sunday 23 March 10:00-13:00.
The pitching Forum is the place to see the latest developments in the documentary sector, learn about changes in the market and watch the presentation of 21 fresh projects ready for co-production. It is like always organized by the EDN.news-thessaloniki-documentary-festival

The Pitching Projects this year are:
After the Dream director: Loraine Blumenthal, produced by Rob Mitchell, Firstborn Studios, UK
Andreas Papandreou – The Making of a Political Maverick directors: Yianni Drakos and Stan Draenos, produced by Magnus Briem, Schadenfreude Films, Greece.
Carbon Trade/Off director: David Soto-Karlin, produced by Aaron Soto-Karlin, NoMoha Media, Mexico and USA
Digitalcurry director: Francesca Scalisi & Mark Olexa, produced by Mark Olexa, Italy
Falc/Harm director: Dénes Nagy, produced by Sara Laszlo and Marcell Gerö, Campfilm Production, Hungary
Five Times a Stranger director: Vangelis Efthymiou. Producer: Maria P. Koufopoulou, Land Art Productions, Greece
The Forgotten Army director: Signe Astrup, produced by Jesper Jack, House of Real, Denmark
The Fragments director: Rojda Akbayır, produced by Zeynep Köprülü, Periferi Film, Turkey
The Honorable Generation director: Nima Sarvestani, produced by Maryam Ebrahimi, Nimafilm AB, Sweden
Il non detto director: Tim De Keersmaecker, produced by Emmy Oost, Cassette for timescales, Belgium
In Dependence director: Henriikka Hemmi, produced by Sami Jahnukainen, Mouka Filmi, Finland
Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life director: Tomer Heymann, produced by Barak Heyman, Heymann Brothers Films, Israel
Leaves of the Horn directors: Davide Morandini, David Chierchini, Matteo Keffer, produced by Lucio Mollica, GA&A Productions, Italy
Life and Death of Max Linder director: Edward Porembny, produced by Monika Bednarek, AMP Polska, Poland
The Most Boring Thing in the World directors: Christina Pitouli, Carlos Muñoz Gomez-Quintero, produced by Joan Soler, Cinefilms Productions, Spain
Next Stop: Utopia directors: Apostolos Karakasis, produced by Marco Gastine, Minimal Films, Greece & Carl Ludwig Rettinger, Lichtblick Film, Germany
The Promise director: Zeljko Mirkovic, produced by Zeljko Mirkovic, Optimistic Film, Serbi & Dusan Gajic, SEETV, Belgium
Samuel en las nubes director: Pieter Van Eecke, produced by Hanne Phlypo, Clin d’oeil films, Belgium
Three Lives director: Yan Ting Yuen, produced by Reinette van de Stadt, Trueworks, Netherlands
Transit Havana director: Daniel Abma, produced by Iris Lammertsma, JvdW Film, Netherlands
Violence director: Åsa Ekman, produced by Oscar Hedin, Film and Tell, Sweden

The following financiers have confirmed their participation in the open pitching session:
Hanka Kastelicova, HBO Europe, Slovenia/Hungary / Kerime Senyücel, TRT, Turkey / Wim Van Rompaey, Lichtpunt, Belgium / Jenny Westergård, YLE, Finland / Jan Rofekamp, Films Transit, Canada / Kathrin Brinkmann, ZDF/ARTE, Germany / Lars Säfström, SVT, Sweden / Flora Gregory, Αl-Jazeera English, UK / Ivana Pauerová, CT, Czech Republic / Anne Grolleron, ARTE France, France / Claudia Neuhauser, ORF, Austria

Interview with Gudrun Sommer, doxs!

Dimitra Kouzi talked with Gudrun Sommer, the director of the unique festival Doxs!, which just took place in Duisburg, Germany (November 4-10). Watch the interview.(video in German with Greek subtitles)

doxs! is the oldest German film festival exclusively presenting documentaries for children and adolescents. The international film programme is part of the well-known documentary festival Duisburger Filmwoche. Each screening is accompanied by a moderated Q&A. The entry to all screenings is free for accredited festival guests and pupils.

doxs! works in various fields of media education and constantly develops new pilot-projects that set pace and break new ground.
doxs! jointly produced with the Goethe Institut a unique European Documentary film package, Young Heroes, in 2006.

Are you looking for a festival?

Check out filmfestivallife.com! They have 800 festivals listed and counting. And they do a great job helping directors not only to find the right festival, but also to apply easily.

See also my post Festivalitis.

And the winner of Prix Europa 2013 is…

PRIX EUROPA - Best European TV Documentary of the Year 2013

THE PUNK SYNDROME - A FILM ABOUT PERTTI KURIKAN NIMIPÄIVÄT / Kovasikajuttu Directed by Jukka kärkkäinen, J-P Passi

entered by Yle, Finland, produced by Mouka Filmi, co-produced by Indie Film, Auto Images, Film I Skåne

This film is about Finland’s most kick-ass punk rock band, Pertti kurikan Nimipäivät. The band members, Pertti, kari, Toni and Sami, are mentally
handicapped and they play their music with a lot of attitude and pride. We follow these professional musicians on their journey from obscurity
to popularity. We watch them fight, fall in love and experience strong emotions. We witness long days in the recording studio and on tour.
They laugh, cry, drink and fight over who gets to sit in the front on the tour bus. Then it is time to make up and go talk to people in the audience
and tell them how great their band is. Their songs are about the problems in society as well as about things that
they face in their everyday life: how going to the pedicurist sucks and the misery of living in a group home. The guys give a piece of their minds
to both politicians and people whose attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities need improvement.
This film is about the essence of punk. It is a story of handicapped people rebelling against the mainstream. This time you are allowed to stare and
wonder why they act the way they do. And you will fall in love with them as you watch how the most kick-ass punk band in Finland conquers the

trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM58kP_JHkQ

and at the category of
TV IRIS - Under the Patronage of the Dutch Public Broadcaster NTR

PRIX EUROPA Best Intercultural TV Programme of the Year 2013

the documentary

DISPLACED PERSSONS / Familjen Persson I främmande land, Directed by åsa Blanck and Johan Palmgren

Per Persson left Sweden 40 years ago in search of adventures. He drove eastward in his Land Rover and ended up in Pakistan where he
fell in love with Shamim. They married, settled down in Lahore and had two daughters, Zahra and Maria. Per raised his daughters to be free and
strong women which wasn’t very popular with neighbours and relatives. As Zahra and Maria grew older the family felt more and more threatened
by the surrounding society. At last, when the girls are in their mid-twenties, the family takes the difficult decision to move to southern Sweden, back to Per’s roots. Shamim, Zahra and Maria have great hope for their lives in the new country but once in Sweden nothing turns out as expected. The family have to live in a small caravan while being stuck in the Swedish bureaucracy, with endless meetings and paperwork. Money is scarce and their dreams slowly fades away.
After a while Zahra falls in love with Aun, a fellow Pakistani also trying to find a new life in Sweden. When Aun’s Swedish visa expires he moves
back to Pakistan and from there he proposes to Zahra, which she accepts. After a tearful goodbye Zahra leaves for Pakistan but promises she will be
back in Sweden, in a year or so. In the meantime Per, Shamim and Maria slowly begin to build a decent life in Sweden and especially Maria likes
her new country more and more. And finally, after years of longing, the family is reunited when Zahra and
Aun comes back to Sweden.With them they bring their son Lille-Pelle, Per’s first grandson. The whole family celebrate and rejoice, but will they live happily ever after?
Well, as Per says: ‘Right now things are pretty good, but how the future will be? Inshallah!’

entered by SVT, Sweden, produced by Strix, co-produced by The Swedish Filminstitute, NRK, Yle

More about Prix Europa here.