‘Dreaming of Denmark’ is a documentary by Michael Graversen about a young refugee. New Times interviewed the director at the premiere under CPH:DOX at Cinemateket in Copenhagen.
By Marion Chen
The documentary is about a Wasiullah, a minor refugee who has been in the asylum process for three years in Denmark. He is thinking of Denmark as his new home, making friends and even being with a girl for the first time, but the Danish Immigration Service rejects him. Then he has to flee again to Italy, where things don’t go so well.
The filmmaker Michael Graversen spent almost four years following Wasiullah and filmed the whole process from Denmark to Italy:
“Four years ago while I was making a short film about an asylum centre for minors, I met meet Wasiullah and his friends,” Michael Graversen says and continues: “After I finished the film with the centre, we kept in contact and one day he called me and said, that now he was sent back to Afghanistan, but he didn’t want to. So he just went outside the centre and left Denmark illegally. Then I met him and we made an agreement that we should follow him to make a film and we began the journey making the film.”
Memory failure in Italy
Wasiullah misses his friend in Denmark when he is in Italy, but then he suddenly says that he can’t remember he had any friends in Denmark, after he has been waiting for more than one year in Italy.
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Michael Graversen tells:
“In the beginning, it was easy to find them, but when we went to Italy, it started to be more difficult, because his situation became more difficult. There were a lot of difficulties, because he didn’t trust me. He had a lot of pressure on him and we lost contact in a lot of different periods of the film.”
While Michael talks about the difficulties he met during the journey following Wasiullah, his eyes show all his feelings of that: “So it was definitely a very difficult film to make. I never thought that making a film would be that difficult as it proved to be. So it’s a kind of miracle it’s finished and being shown,” he says.
What effect would you like to have from the film?
“I would definitely like to have a change in the sense that making this group of refugees to be easier to get asylum. Not only creating the debate but create something that can change the situation.”