Shamira Raphaëla: Lenno and the Angelfish

Wow… I fully understand that the jury of IDFA’s Docs & Kids chose this film to be the winner of the far too often overlooked genre of short documentaries, not to talk about docs for kids, who at least until a certain age prefer animation and entertainment. But I am sure that a film like this – with the right introduction – or with grown-ups beside them – will work for kids at the same age as Lenno. And older. My wow goes for the filmic excellent interpretation that the filmmaker performs of the subject. There is the unconventional drumming music, there are the unconventional camera angles to catch Lenno on his bed, there are the beautiful moments, where he communicates with the naughty angelfish, the tense atmosphere when he is with his father, the dialogue with the brother, the mystery around the mother, who is not there but sends him drawings… at the end of the film you wish all the best for Lenno and his family! Here is the annotation text from the IDFA site:

”Ten-year-old Lenno is always getting yelled at for annoying people, but in his mind, it’s the other people who are irritating. Using an impulsive editing style that switches quickly between moments of pleasure and anger, clashes and intimacy, this impression of how Lenno experiences the world stays very close to its subject: a lively boy with a behavioral disorder and a vivid imagination. He boxes with his younger brother, cries when he hurts himself, walks away when he gets criticized and is very pleased with the great coloring books he gets from his mother. Lenno tries to express what’s going on in his head. “People think I have a problem because I get angry a lot. I think it’s stupid they say that.” In a candid moment, Lenno’s father admits that he too wasn’t exactly a model kid. A fanatical swimmer, Lenno empathizes with his angelfish—a species with a reputation for being aggressive, which Lenno thinks isn’t fair. He hopes the angelfish will make friends with the other fish.”

The Netherlands, 19 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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