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"Bachir in Wonderland". Documentary premiere and Q&A

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The children’s documentary ‘Bachir in Wonderland’ documents a few extraordinary weeks in the life of the stateless Saharan boy Bachir. This past summer, Bachir got the unique opportunity to go to summer camp in Spain, replacing his tent in a refugee camp in the middle of the Algerian Dessert by the apartment of a family in Barcelona. With the presence of Bachir and the documentary directors.

18.30 Presentation and Screening of Bachir in Wonderland, Els Duran i Evelien Vehof, 2017, Holanda, 16’, VOSE (Arabic, Catalan and Spanish).

19.00 Q&A with Bachir, Els Duran i Evelien Vehof, one member from Tot Raval Foundation and one from Vidal Barraquer Foundation, moderated by Tere Pérez (CCCB).

What would it look like in real life, how would it smell and how would it feel to float? The sea is a great mystery to Bachir (10), so much water… He is only familiar with sand, lots of sand. Bachir was born in a refugee camp in the Algerian Sahara desert. His parents grew up in the Western Sahara, right by the seaside, but when Morocco occupied their land, the family had to flee the war. Since then, they have been waiting for the day at which the world recognizes their independence and they are free to go back their home country.

Bachir has no official passport and he can hardly travel anywhere. However, Bachir gets the chance to go to summer camp in Barcelona,in the Mediterranian coast, where everything is different and new: dizzyingly high buildings made of stone, stairs that move on their own and even running water. Will his wish be fulfilled?

Statelessness and the Western Sahara

The Western Sahara was annexed a few decades ago by neighbouring Morocco. Together with more than 150,000 Saharan people, Bachir lives in the desert of southwest Algeria. For more than 40 years now, the Saharans are struggling with vigour for a possible return to their original homeland. Despite the harsh conditions in the refugee camps, many Saharans are highly educated. In all age groups, national identity plays an important role and people are very politically active.

It is estimated that, worldwide, more than 10 million people are stateless. They have no citizenship and are not regarded as subjects by any state. Often one is ‘imprisoned’ in the country.

About the team

The film has been directedy journalists Els Duran and Evelien Vehof. Since 2011, they have been collecting and making stories about stateless people in different countries to see how to survive in a world where nationality is essential. They were inspired to create a documentary through their research on statelessness for an art project of the The Hague-based art organisation Creative Court. The film is part of the series ‘Just Kids’ of the Dutch broadcasting company EO/IKON docs, in which children’s documentaries shed light on different articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Bachir in Wonderland addresses Article 7, the right to a name, nationality and birth registration.

‘’You have the right to a nationality, without a nationality you are stateless and no country is obliged to protect you.’’ – Article 7.

Creative Court is a the Hague-based art organisation that develops art projects and reflects on peace and justice. Creative Court strives to be a leading source of inspiration for human consciousness and connection, working from the understanding that art has the ability to incite empathy and reflection, vital for peaceful coexistence.

About the directors

Anthropologist Els Duran (1981) works as a researcher and creates programmes for various media. She writes about migration identities, human rights, and food cultures. Journalist Evelien Vehof (1982) works as a researcher and reporter on various journalistic television programs. The duo is currently working on an art project on statelessness with art organisation Creative Court. ‘Bachir in Wonderland’ is their first children’s documentary.

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Bachir in Wonderland

The children’s documentary ‘Bachir in Wonderland’ documents a few extraordinary weeks in the life of the stateless Saharan boy Bachir. This past summer, Bachir got the unique opportunity to go to summer camp in Spain, replacing his tent in a refugee camp in the middle of the ...

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