Phil Jandaly

Sweden

Phil Jandaly

editor

Valentin, Son of Europe

Valentin is 25 and currently lives in Paris. He grew up in Bucharest before moving to Belgium as a teenager. He is one of the protagonists of the documentary Gara de Nord: copii per strada shot by Antonio Martino in 2005. At the time, Romania was in a state of chaos, Ceausescu's long dictatorship had just come to a violent end. Bucharest was full of abandoned kids. To escape the cold, many would hide in the tunnels of the sewers near the main railway station, the Gara de Nord. All of them forgot their troubles by inhaling Aurolac, a noxious paint, from a plastic bag they always carried with them. Valentin was one of them back then.
His life changed when, at the age of fourteen, he was adopted by a Belgian couple of Algerian origin, who, after some initial documents, managed to gain his affection and give him a normal life. Later, Valentin saw the documentary by chance on YouTube, and saw himself as a street kid. He contacted Antonio via Facebook and then he decided to go back to Romania. In the past, he had already gone back to look for his two brothers which he helped move to France. But he still needs to find his mother whom he hasn't seen since he was little and his little sister. Then there are his friends from the sewers and in particular, Marcel, who was a bit older, with whom he spent so much time. Above all, his daughter Eliza, whom he had with a Romanian woman, an ex-street kid. They met on Facebook, she lives in Italy with their daughter, accusing Valentin of not supporting them.
During the trip, the search, we see footage of the 2005 documentary and archival footage of Romania, like flashbacks from Valentin's memory. Valentin is accompanied by Antonio's gaze and by the silent presence of his younger brother Constantin, who is also anxious to find the bits of his life he lost along the road, to put together the pieces of an old family photo, torn up a long time ago.

Forbidden Tango

The film documents three years of a Russian gay couple Misha and Otar organizing events of the Queer Tango in St. Petersburg. They are giving tango classes and introducing an alternative way of dancing to the traditional tango community in Russia. Through the winter Otar and Misha are preparing an international festival of Queer Tango, which is expected to happen in the end of the spring. A recent high level of the homophobia in Russia forces many Russian gays and lesbians to leave their families to find a refuge abroad. But when narrow-minded traditionalism and xenophobia are rife in the world, it is important to continue to dance tango no matter what gender, sexual orientation or country you are from.

Shut the Fuck Up!

Welcome to Hatne, a small rural town near Kyiv slowly being eaten by wild urbanization, Serhiy, a teenager like no other, doesn't like it. He comes from a poor family and he’s ashamed of his home, the condi- tions he lives in. His parents have divorced, he gets bad marks in school. But somehow, Serhiy feels that he’s different – and sees injus- tice everywhere. Especially, he can’t stand the corruption around and starts to resist.
Serhiy stands up against abuses, illegal construction and environmen- tal destruction. He investigates, talks to the community and intervenes at the city council. He exposes the officials' corruption on Facebook. Aged 16, he becomes a whistleblower. Nearly three years after the Ukrainian revolution, when the people fought against its corrupt elite, Serhiy is a little Maidan on his own. A little Ukrainian cousin of Greta Thunberg.
The local political elite can't stand his initiatives. One day, Oleksandr Palamarchuk, the political boss of Hatne, attacks Serhiy in front of everyone in the city hall and threatens him publicly. Palamarchuk grabs Serhiy's neck and tells him to “shut the fuck up!”. For Serhiy, it's too much. He unites with others activists in Hatne, meets Yevgeniya Zakrevska, a famous human rights lawyer and starts an internship with her in Kyiv. Eventually, Serhiy decides to run for office in Hatne in a reform-minded political list.
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