Alisa Kovalenko & Simon Lereng Wilmont: Girl Away from Home

This is the IDFA catalogue description: Nastia is a gymnast in Kyiv, training intensively with her four teammates for the Ukrainian National Championships. At other times they make dance clips, perform acrobatic feats, and giggle a lot. Nastia knows that together they can achieve anything. But then the war breaks out, and Nastia’s parents send her to her grandmother in Germany, hoping that the separation will be temporary.

In this youth documentary, Nastia speaks in voice-over about how she’s experienced this intense year—how she had to leave the country in a hurry and was then stuck indoors in a German apartment block for weeks on end. She sadly re-watches the carefree clips she made just a short time ago with her besties. On the phone to her parents, she bravely tells them all is well. But it’s not. She’s wondering whether she’ll ever see her homeland again.

Nastia only starts feeling a bit better once she has joined a local gymnastics club in Germany. The war is still raging, but the surroundings now feel like a kind of home. A story about a resilient girl, strong family ties, friendships, and the solace you can find in sport.

Ukraine, Norway, 2023, 22 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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