DocsBarcelona: Children

Sunday morning I took a walk in the Eixample of Barcelona, where my home has been since the beginning of the festival. Lots of parents were in the street with their kids. Happy moments for boys and girls to be out in the good weather to play, have an ice cream, have fun, make friends…

In the cinemas of DocsBarcelona the reality was different for the children. I will never forget the two boys from “Of Fathers and Sons” by Talal Derki, Osama (Photo) and Ayman, the first one to be sent to a sharia camp by his father, the latter staying at home to take care of the smaller siblings and the father, who had lost his foot at a mine explosion, and who is the one, who decides on the future of Osama to be a jihadist warrior. It’s pretty hard to watch Osama, this soft boy, having his childhood spoilt by religious fanatism.

Another child who lives in a war zone is Oleg in “The Distant Barking of Dogs” by Simon Lereng Wilmont, a film that takes place in the Eastern part of Ukraine. Oleg lives there with his grandmother, a relationship that is described with sensitivity. How to live in the neighborhood of bombs exploding, how to cope with the scars it gives a child when he grows older?

And what about Syrian Zeid, who lives with his father and brothers in Spain in the fine film “Hayati” by Liliana Torres and Sofi Escudé. In a materialistic way, he does not suffer, but his mother stays in Turkey and he communicates with her via skype…

Other children are very much present in “Miss Kiet’s Children” by Petra and Peter Lasaster, where Miss Kiet is teaching refugee children language and how to adapt to live in the Netherlands. My hero here is the little Haya, who struggles with her new situation in a way that you get tears in your eyes.

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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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