Mijke de Jong: Along the Way

Zahra and Fatima are twins and the protagonists of the Dutch film that was shown last night at the one year old Cineplex that is now the main screening venue for the Sarajevo Film Festival. The film’s title is “Along the Way” and it was shown as part of the Dealing With the Past program. I had the pleasure of introducing the film and moderate the discussion with the assistant director Natascha Erfanipour. An easy job as the young Dutch woman with Iranian roots spoke lively about how the film came to become the drama it is, a drama yes, but with so much authenticity that I took for a documentary the first time I saw it. But the twins are acting and they are acting so well – but it took time to get to this, explained Erfanipour with a smile. But all – almost all – is based on their own stories, told to the film team, made into a precise script to be followed. In some scenes they had to be angry with each other, that was difficult for them…

The story is one of those, we have met so many times in these hard times, a refugee story: the twins buy themselves way to Istanbul, get separated from mother and siblings, work to save money for the ocean trip from Turkey to Lesbos, they succeed, they get to the camp everyone knows, Moria, and they reach Athens to have a very emotional meeting with the mother and the daughter. In Istanbul they meet Rahim, a young man, who is a smuggler and for whom Zahra works to collect money to cross the EU…

There are more to be experienced, some personal statements from refugees not to be revealed here but I hope you get the chance to watch this fine film “based on a true story” with Zahra and Fatima, who in real life are now waiting for getting asylum in Germany and at a longer perspective to be filmmakers. Wish them all the best!

The Netherlands, 2021, 80 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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