DocsBarcelona: Ouaga Girls

It’s one of those documentaries that makes you smile through the whole film, Ouaga Girls by Swedish Theresa Traore Dahlberg. It was shown yesterday at DocsBarcelona at the Aribau Club cinema followed by a Q&A with the French coproducer Estelle Robin You, who is also involved in the production of “Dolphin Man” by Lefteris Charitos, that plays in the competitive Panorama section of the festival here in Barcelona.

The smile… because of the life energy of the girls from Burkina Faso, who study to become auto mechanics in a male society and enjoy the company of their sisters in the school, where they learn, are introduced to adult life and where they have fun, and share the good and the bad experiences they have and have had in their lives. They all come from a tough social background, which is conveyed to the viewer in tense interview situations with a psychologist. A brilliant cinematic solution where the action – the slate of joyful, lively scenes from the auto workshop and from the classroom and from parties and concerts in the city – is stopped to give close-ups and time for reflection.

Estelle Robin-You told us that the film has been running in cinemas in France – and Sweden of course – that the music score is composed by the father of the director Seydou Richard Traoré – that French editor Alexandra Strauss was called for to help finalising the film; Strauss who has edited “I’m not Your Negro” and has worked for master Roy Andersson.

How can we get a women empowering film like this shown in rural areas, a woman in the audience asked. There must be Ngo’s, who can use the film. Of course.

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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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