Dokufest Prizren/ 6/ Starless Dreams

… directed by Iranian Mehrdad Oskouei, 76 mins. long, is an interview based observational documentary about, no with young girls in a prison, it is also called a rehabilitation centre. They are there because of drugs, robberies, even murders, and they are talked to by the director, whose soft and mild voice communicates understanding and compassion. Towards Nobody as one calls herself, or 651, who took that name because it was that amount of weed she had in her pockets, when she was arrested. And towards the rest of these young girls, around twenty of them, who have committed crimes.

And there they are in a big dormitory close to each other, enjoying each other’s company. There is a lot of Life and Fun, but also Crying in the film. They comfort each other, they wait for the day to be released, but many are also fearing that day of release. They tell their stories to the director, terrifying to watch and listen to.

The director has an excellent eye for situations and he has set up an obligation for himself, he told the audience afterwards. He wants this film to change something for the better as did the two firs tones he did with boys in prisons. To the question whether the kids have seen the film, the answer was no, and that it will not be shown publicly in Iran. I can imagine that he has to find a balance, when he films, not to be forbidden or censored by the authorities. He seems to have found that with a film that of course also says that something is very much wrong outside the walls of the prison, where the filmmaker was with the girls.

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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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