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Read our interview with the director of a heart touching CPH:DOX film about refugees. The interview ends with a review of the film

New Times interviews CPH:DOX film director

Andreas Koefoed, the director of the documentary film At Home In The World, accepted the interview from New Times, the day after the premiere.

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Andreas Kofoed

By: Marion Chen

How did the idea come to your mind to make this film?
It’s about four or five years ago I got the idea. I was partly inspired by a French film called “  Être et avoir “. It’s about the children in school in the mountains in France. You followed them for one year, and it was a very beautiful film. I thought it could be very interesting to follow a group of refugee children in Denmark for one year. Actually I started after I read an article about a Red Cross school. I start wondering how it must be to the children in the school. You don’t know who is coming tomorrow, you don’t know if you yourself are allowed to live in Denmark, or if you are sent back and so on. I got the idea just following one trace, and to see what happened and how did children make friends with each other and how did they deal with the past, and the uncertainty in the future and so on.

Did this change you angle of asylum or refugee after you made the film?
No, I don’t think so. I used to study sociology and politics and did some studies. By then I talked to different refugees from Iran and Iraq. I think I didn’t really change my view. For me, I had a very good feeling about staying at school because I met all the children. I found out they were strong, many of them were good at coping with the situation. I thought I had been afraid that I would be sad by staying with such situation. But it was different. I got really up-lifted. When I came back from school, I became really happy because I have met a lot of amazing children. I could feel that they have strength to get in life. Actually I was so surprised a little bit that how normal they were and how close to Danish children they were.

What effect would you temp to achieve of the film?
I simply want people to get the better understanding of the situation that children are in. I think the film shows that the Red Cross Organisation, they are doing a great work. And the asylum schools, they are probably at the refugee camps. I wanted to show, especially with the role of the daughter and the teacher. The teacher is really good at dealing with the kids and making them feel important and listening to them and so on. I want to make this a positive example that how to deal with kids like this and how to give them opportunities to grow and how to become citizens in Denmark. It’s not a critical film, it’s a positive example of how to deal with these issues.

 

REVIEW: A Home In The World is a documentary film about Magomed, a ten year old boy from Chechnya, and his experience in Red Cross school for asylum seekers.

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A picture from the film

The film elaborates the feeling of asylum children when they come to Denmark applying for asylum with their parents, the cultural differences of continuing the education of children when they are in the process of asylum, how teacher dealing with theses asylum children while teaching language, the true response when they get positive (permission to stay).

The most touching part of the film is that the dad gets rejected from Immigration Service while other family members get the permission.  While Magmoed asks dad about why he is rejected on the day that he is happy to know he gets asylum permission, the dad just tells the horrible story he has experienced when he was in the home country. Magmoed just listens quietly and takes it without any obvious emotions.

The most difficult part for the film making is that the audience can easily see that the film flowing in a smooth rhythm showing all the feelings of the quiet boy dealing with teachers and other asylum children through screen montage and music, because this kind of quietness is too hard to be shown without words on the screen.

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