Dimitra Kouzi: Good Morning Mr Fotis

In these times of lockdown all over, where kids sit at home meeting their classmates, and their teacher(s), via a computer, this is a film that can show us how important it is that children are together, when they are together in a class at school – and that they have a teacher for whom the profession is a calling. Mr Fotis is his name and he is the teacher that I would have loved to have.

The kids in the multicultural primary school in Athens profit from his passion and ability to make the 6-12 year old girls and boys interested, listen, be creative and first of all take part in their own individual development; maybe without knowing it, but some of them will never forget – and all right I also had teachers wayyyy back who taught me how to navigate in this crazy world.

The observational documentary, the first film of Dimitra Kouzi as director and producer, is one of those that makes you smile through the 70 minutes it lasts. Because of the kids and their energy, sometimes no-energy because they have to stay up late to pray, because of the interaction between them and Mr Fotis, who builds up his teaching step by step with the goal that the class performs a play with references to Greek culture and myths. ”Where will you be in 10 years”, Mr Fotis asks the kids and they answer… none of them will be in Greece, as one puts it ”Greece has a Past but no future”! Strong words from children! 

There are water fights in the schoolyard, there are small episodes where the background of the kids is revealed, there are many fine poetic moments caught by the very active camera. Wonderful. The director knew what she was looking for. And if you wait and are patient, magical moments will come forward. Actually it is lovely to watch Mr Fotis and his smile and whole warm attitude towards the children. A teacher with will and curiosity, who wants to give the children a fundament in life. 

Of course the film has been used as an inspiration for teachers to see what you can achieve with the right attitude and commitment. It has been part of workshops for teachers who have intercultural classes as well as in film education. Happy to read that in material provided by Dimitra Kouzi, and happy to see small clips with some of the children made for the promotion of the screening at Thessaloniki Documentary FF. 

Greece, 70 mins., 2020  

https://goodmorningmrfotis.com/

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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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