Report Panel Filem’On exchange days for professionals – 4 November 2016
With Frederike Migom, Edward Cook, Sigrid Klausmann & David Ruf. Moderated by Gert Hermans from JEKINO
What makes your film different?
Sigrid Klausmann – documentary Not Without Us: about the effort children have to make every day to get education. The focus is what they tell about their dreams, future, own society etc. The film shows 16 children from very different places in the world and to see how different they are and how similar their longings are.
David Ruf – Land of Light: Fiction film with documentary approach about and made with young Syrian refugees. It’s special because they break the idea of what cinema is, about how you tell a story, they jump over expectations. They talk about their idea of war, the future.
Edward Cook – documentary Skate Kate (he also made a film about plane crashes caused by birds, a hotdog stand in Iceland, and a drinking ferry between Stockholm & Finland): it is special because it shows that you can be different, do things that’s not done by everyone else. She just does her own thing. You can do whatever you want. It’s been to summer festivals, children seem to appreciate it, especially girls.
Frederike Migom – right out of the editing room, she has several projects in the pipeline about and with young people, she also has a scenario in the pipeline for a feature film. She is ‘ the chronicler of European young people today in Brussels’, how young people live, grow up in a urban environment: The story is about a girl that raps, it’s a coming of age of a girl with a difficult childhood and then she meets a man that wants to work with her on a song, and so the film follows the making of the song, they get a music video at the end. The girl knows that she has talent but she never thought that she could do something with it. It’s not about being famous, she just needs people to know that she can do something. It’s also very similar to Skate Kate. Frederike lives in the city, that’s why she is interested in the Brussels kids, she is interested in the young people that don’t have the same chances. She wants to give these people a voice. Give children a voice is the red thread for the directors.
What is your relationship with the subject and the audience?
Do you stay in touch with the person you film about?
Edward Cook – I see Skate Kate quite regularly, we live in the same city. But where does your relationship stop? It stops after filming, but I still always likes to stay in touch. The hotdog stand in Iceland was in 2008, everytime I’m there I look her up and see how she’s doing. You will always keep that connection.
Sigrid Klausmann – when I made my first film, I was working with a young poor man. After 4 weeks shooting, the protagonist asked her ‘can you give me money, can you support me? ’ When you shoot in poor countries you want to help these people. Also the audience wants to do something immediately. But after filming in Ukraine you can’t support all the protagonists. But as long as it’s possible it’s nice to stay in touch for a while, but I think you can’t really support all this people. I can tell their story and maybe other people see it and would also like to help.
David Ruf – It’s an ongoing discussion. The documentary maker chooses to go for one topic, that’s a very important decision, there is no answer to it, you start friendships or not, it’s very individual.
How is it to work with young people?
Frederike Migom – It wasn’t difficult to get her in the film. I think if you go through a rough life, her need to be someone is so big. It was also very difficult for her not looking into the camera. It was impossible to be a fly on the wall in this film.
Edward Cook – Skate Kate wasn’t difficult to convince either, they seem to be used to cameras these days.
Sigrid Klausmann – I talked to 10 of the children. The method of approaching every child is very different. You have to help them to create sentences. Each child is different in the way to speak. You have to create trust and an atmosphere, otherwise they will never open. It was for example difficult to work with one of the kids, to do this interview with her. We started to use tricks, to put out the camera when it was still going for example. And sometimes she just wanted to talk over and over.
Are the children paid?
Sigrid Klausmann – No, but each child got a present, or we gave money depending on the family, or new school uniforms, new schoolbag.
Frederike Migom – We became friends before. She gave her an old laptop and an old iPhone because it was broke in the film, this was difficult because she didn’t want to interfere in her life.
In what way is it the responsibility of the maker to protect the young protagonists from the negative images?
Frederike Migom – I feel like I have to show her scenes, I also want to show the more negative scenes, where she for example fights with her sister. Frederike shot from below, in sort of a ‘hip hop’ style. But you can’t always give her directions like ‘sit up a little bit’. It’s an interesting discussion how to picture someone. Maybe they don’t mind now, but maybe later. Is it okay to make this kid believe that she’s famous? Frederike talked to her teachers, and all of them said that she is just very happy that she has the experience. What is also interesting is that Frederike filmed in Molenbeek, but for the rapper girl this doesn’t matter, she just lives there. Frederike is not going to focus on this.
Edward Cook – Skate Kate also saw the movie, she didn’t have a problem with it, but she was nervous for the screening in her class.
Iris Verhoeven from the Jeugdfilmfestival – Festivals also have their responsibility, we also had a film about a refugee, we organized a small screening, not a huge Q&A, very serene. It’s a pity because you want to reach a big audience but it was better like this.
David Ruf – The moment the film is on screen, there is more in their life, if they are in to hip hop in the film maybe they are not in to it when the film is out. It is important for festivals to think about how to present it, but it depends on the children as well. It can also be an empowering moment for refugees, but mostly they are put in a refugee view only.
Most memorable screening or audience
David Ruf – We had a screening in Turkey, they were shocked to see the special effects. There was a lot of traffic of people of the audience but the governors stayed till the end. we weren’t allowed to make a documentary and to film any refugees so we said it were actors. But we never found out how they liked the movie.
Sigrid Klausmann – a screening where a woman wanted to organize a fundraising to help all the children together, all 16 of them.
Edward Cook – Première with Kate and all her skate friends with a bunch of popcorn. They were the best audience.
Frederike Migom – My previous short premiered at a local African film festival in Brussels and I was a bit afraid of the reactions, but they were super enthusiastic and thought it was very realistic.