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Dimitris Koutsiabasakos on Coming-of-Age Refugee Drama ‘Daniel ’16’

A German-speaking juvenile offender group in northern Greece is the unlikely setting of “Daniel ‘16,” the second characteristic movie from Dimitris Koutsiabasakos. Primarily based on actual occasions, it tells the story of a teenage delinquent combating rehabilitation in a small city close to the Turkish border, who forges an surprising bond with a younger Syrian refugee.

“Daniel ‘16” is about towards the backdrop of a refugee disaster in Europe that peaked in 2015, however continues to this present day. Koutsiabasakos stated there’s something common within the themes he explores in his newest characteristic. “I imagine that the historical past of mankind is, above all, a refugee historical past,” the director advised Selection. “There isn’t a nation or state that has not skilled it at some stage.”

Produced by Yorgos Kyriakos and Costas Lambropoulos of Athens-based View Grasp Movies, “Daniel ‘16” has its home premiere this week on the Thessaloniki Movie Pageant, which runs on-line Nov. 5-15. Selection caught up with Koutsiabasakos to speak about working with first-time actors, making the transition from documentary to fiction filmmaking, and tapping into the loneliness that impressed his movie.

To begin with, are you able to inform me what impressed “Daniel ‘16”?

Though the movie is predicated on actual occasions, what actually impressed the story of the movie is the sensation of being alone, socially excluded, to have misplaced a liked one and to be distrustful of individuals, despite the fact that, deep down, you might be searching for them. It is a onerous and insufferable feeling that right now, sadly, dominates our world. It’s this sense that characterizes, above all, the refugee disaster in all its varieties. So this sense impressed the story of a youngster from Germany with a deviant conduct despatched to Greece to serve his sentence, and in the course of the movie he shall be severely confronted, however finally he’ll discover his manner.

The movie is about in a German-speaking juvenile offender group close to the Turkish border. How did you first hear about these communities?

An article in a broadly circulated Greek newspaper a couple of years in the past, which talked concerning the operation in Greece, because the Nineteen Eighties, of establishments for German youngsters with mildly delinquent conduct, made a terrific impression on us. Beginning the search, we situated one in every of them in an deserted village of Evros, close to the border with Turkey. We contacted the individuals in cost and with their permission, we visited them. We defined to everybody who we’re and what we wished to do they usually trusted us and helped us in our analysis. And we thank them very a lot for that. It’s an open group, situated in a rural space, in a small village that has been deserted by its inhabitants. The youngsters go to highschool locally, deal with their day by day life, interact in agricultural work and go to the close by city each week.

You get two robust performances out of the actors who play Daniel, the younger German within the juvenile offender dwelling, and Nidal, the younger refugee. Are you able to inform me extra about their performing backgrounds and what it was like working with them?

An important issue on this movie was that the main roles are minors and are performed by younger individuals who had no earlier expertise with performing. That’s why we began rehearsals very early. I had already deliberate a program that aimed to introduce Nikolas [Kisker], Alexander [Liakopoulos Buchholz], and Filopateer [Adel Hafiz Anas Mogras] to the life like performing I used to be searching for. We began with drama video games, and after I came upon that they began to really feel comfy with their our bodies and feelings, we proceeded to improvisations with varied methods. Solely within the final stage did we rehearse with the script of the movie. Then we began utilizing a digicam to observe and remark on the rehearsals. It was a really pleasurable and rewarding course of. At this stage we began rehearsing with the opposite roles, performed by skilled actors.

I used to be very completely happy as a result of the children had been prepared quicker than I anticipated [for] actual capturing situations. Those we didn’t rehearse are the emotionally intense scenes. And I believe we lastly did it proper as a result of the children discovered a solution to carry out them in their very own, distinctive manner.

The house the place Daniel lives is supposed to rehabilitate him and assist him evolve as a younger man, however in the long run, it’s his relationship with Nidal that forces him to confront his troubled previous and attempt to transfer on. Do you suppose this speaks to a bigger fact about how we relate to the individuals and the world round us, and what finally conjures up us to alter?

It is a very attention-grabbing commentary. Script-wise, we handled the group as a “household” whose cohesion is being examined for a 123 of causes, is “dysfunctional” and sadly, at this stage, is unable to play its position. Daniel lastly finds his redemption exterior the household, within the particular person of a refugee, a baby from Syria. I believe that is promising as a result of it exhibits that one can discover one’s manner with out the assistance of the household. That is one thing that additionally stems from my very own private expertise.

“Daniel ‘16” is about towards the very particular background of the refugee disaster in Greece. How do you’re feeling this movie speaks to international audiences?

I imagine that the historical past of mankind is, above all, a refugee historical past. There isn’t a nation or state that has not skilled it at some stage. That’s why it’s a really acquainted topic to all individuals. On one other degree, we frequently grow to be refugees in our personal nation, in our personal “regular” life. Both after we lose our job and are desperately searching for one thing to save lots of us, or after we lose a liked one, or after we are pressured to make a recent begin.

After making two fiction movies early in your profession, you’ve spent the previous 14 years making documentaries. What made you come to fiction with “Daniel ‘16,” and the way would you say documentary work knowledgeable your method to this movie?

Certainly my final fiction movie, “The Guardian’s Son,” was shot 14 years in the past. I spent a whole lot of time capturing documentaries. This was reasonably an emotional want. It was a really fruitful interval that helped me to know many issues about each individuals and cinema itself. I’ve to confess that I initially wished to make a documentary concerning the group in Evros. Within the course of, nonetheless, I noticed that the topic itself has vital facets that would not be offered with this movie sort. And so, in fact, I returned to fiction.

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