IDFA - IDFA Junior Middag
Michael Fequiere, VS, 2016, English, 15'
The mothers of pre-teens Merlijn and Sil are doing voluntary work on Lesbos, where thousands of refugees have become stranded, crossing over from Turkey in unseaworthy boats. During their school vacation, the boys really want to see how the refugees are coping with their own eyes, especially the ones that are their age. They discuss what it might be like and practice with a translation app, learning how to say things like “peanut butter sandwiches are really tasty” in Arabic or Farsi. Once there, they're shocked by the circumstances they find.
Merlijn and Sil see the rubber boat graveyard and meet families crammed together in temporary shelters. They get along particularly well with a group of Syrian boys. The Dutch boys drink tea with them, build campfires and have snowball fights. In the meantime, they discuss more serious subjects, as well as they can. What”s it like to lose your home and all your belongings? Language and cultural obstacles quickly make way for a friendship without borders.
Lavanya Raghoenandan practices at the turntables for two hours a day after school—now just 15, she”s been deejaying since she was nine. As DJ Kendis she plays major festivals in the Netherlands and Belgium, always the youngest in the line-up, under the watchful eye of her equally ambitious father. We see them on their way to the Solar Festival, where she's to play her first primetime slot with an MC. What”s more, she has an extra hurdle to overcome: when she was 11, she was knocked off her bike by a bus, and she now suffers from constant pain in her arm, knee, back, shoulders and neck.
But Lavanya doesn”t think of giving up. Right after the accident, she didn”t even dare to play outside anymore, so she spent even more time on her music. She forces herself to carry on, despite the nerves before a gig and the pain afterwards. Lavanya has her sights set on something far more important: a place in the Top 100 DJs.
Twelve-year-old Kojo Odu is a talented jazz drummer from New York. His father, the jazz saxophonist Antoine Roney, placed him in front of a cardboard drum kit at age two. By six, Kojo had crafted together his own drum. Today, he totally lives for his music—as he describes it, music is life. Instead of going to school, Kojo gets lessons in a digital classroom. In fact, as he discovers, he learns much more from traveling across the U.S. with his father.
He has an admirable work ethic and gets up every morning at six. The day begins with school followed by tons of practice—good is never good enough. Kojo watches his own live performances on video to see and hear what can be improved. He does all this because he has a higher goal for his complex music: he wants to inspire his generation to start thinking in more complex structures.