Simon Lereng Wilmont: Chikara

with the subtitle ”The Sumo Wrestler’s Son” – is a fine documentary for children. The production company Final Cut for Real estimates the primary target audience to be between 6 and 12, but it is also one of those films that easily can be watched by the whole family or in a school class with a follow-up talk on many issues.

Actually is places itself very well in the Danish tradition for making quality Films for children avoiding a heavy, well-meaning educational aim. Which does not exclude that you, from a well-made and well-told film, can have good conversations about competition, about sport, about training hard to be better, about the relationship between father and son, where the father – that’s what the son thinks – pushes him to be like himself, but where the ending of the film, where Chikara manages to get into the Top 16, but had hoped for more, shows the father and mother happy with his performance.

The building of the film is simple – Chikara trains for the big competition, he meets obstacles, he says at a point that he likes to watch sumo but not to perform, but he does so for the sake of the father in a competitive environment that you on the other hand don’t feel as cruel as you have seen in other films from Japan, where this sport for BIG kids and adults is BIG.

The effort to make documentaries for children is commendable and I was happy to learn from the producer Monica Hellström that this film is part of a series of 6 films, produced by Nordic companies. The Norwegians have asked Viktor Kossakovsky to take part. Danish Simon Lereng Wilmont is making a film about a Danish boy, who practises the fencing sport. More documentaries for kids? Yes, Please!

Denmark, 2013, 32 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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