Romania, 2014 (MIFF 2015, Documentaries)

Director: Alexandre Nanau

"Intimate, honest and restrained … a triumph of small-scale documentary filmmaking." – Nonfics

In Bucharest's slums, three children – 10-year-old Toto, 14-year-old Andreea and 17-year-old Ana – try to survive on their own following the departure of their father and their mother's imprisonment. Determined to stay away from the drugs and crime that ruined their parents' lives, they begin crafting a hopeful world for themselves, from Andreea's youth group to Toto's hip-hop dancing. But escape won't come so easily to those forgotten by society.

Shooting over 15 months with an almost unbelievable degree of access, Emmy Award-winning documentarian Alexandre Nanau probes deep into the invisible world of intense poverty. His humane yet fearless film finds drama, warmth and humour in the children's capacity to rise above the challenges that defeated their parents, winning it the Best Documentary award at both the Zurich and Warsaw film festivals and the Ecumenical Jury Prize at DOK Leipzig.

"Achieves what documentary does best: breaking down our barriers of prejudice and stereotype, helping us understand and empathize … it's a stunning film." – Steve James (Hoop Dreams; Life Itself, MIFF 2014)

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