AT HOME IN THE WORLD is an intimate depiction of the everyday lives of five refugee children on a Danish Red Cross asylum school.
The children; Magomed, Sehmuz, Heda, Amel and Ali have different nationalities and backgrounds, but they have all fled their homes with their families, arriving in Denmark with the hope of starting over.
Over the course of one year, there is an 80% replacement in one class on the asylum school. Few are granted residency in Denmark, and move out of the asylum centres to become part of the Danish society. Others are rejected and sent back to their country of origin. Some go underground and continue their lives on the run from the atrocities in their home country.
Over the course of a year, we follow the children in an ever-changing environment. It is hard to create bonds and friendships, and the tone is often harsh amongst the kids, as they all fight inner battles with traumatic events of their past. We follow their attempt to learn a new language, create friendships and prepare to form a new home in Denmark.
The teacher, Dorte, is one the people, who try to create safe conditions around the children and their families at the asylum school. Through true engagement and empathy, Dorte becomes close with the children despite their difficulties and personal challenges. Dorte fights a brave battle to bring out the best in the children and for them to gain personal victories – so they can create a new place in the world, where they can feel at home.
By Andreas Koefoed
AT HOME IN THE WORLD is a personal film, created from my wish to investigate what it means to be a refugee and a child in Denmark. That is, in a Denmark, where we hear a lot about the refugee children, but rarely about their actual story.
In the public debate, people on the run are often reduced into numbers or stereotypes. It is easy to forget that they are normal human beings, who happen to be in a very difficult situation. This is my reason for telling this story: I want to tell the story of the refugee children, who often face the same every day struggles, thoughts and emotions as any other child, except for the fact that they have experienced a life with various atrocities very close to home.
Since I started making documentaries 14 years ago, I have been interested in telling important stories with children in the main seat. Stories, where you see the world through the eyes and mind of the child.
I have previously made documentaries about a boy, who became a big brother, a boy whose mother had breast cancer and a boy, whose voice transitioned due to puberty, so he had to leave his beloved boys’ choir.
With AT HOME IN THE WORLD, I wanted to combine the children’s gaze with an important social story. Through my studies in sociology and anthropology, I have dealt with the matter of refugees various times, and I wanted to use this knowledge in a documentary.
My wish was to investigate and explore how children adapt to a new place as well as how they cope with an unclear future and a turbulent past. I wanted to explore how it feels to lose a home and have to find a new.
Throughout the year that I followed the children, I have been able to get very close to a group of them, who have all struggled finding their place and home in the world – I have been so lucky as to tell their story in a way, which has never been seen before.
My hope is that the film can provide a better understanding of what it means to be a refugee child in Denmark – just like I have discovered how important it is for the children to be able to attend a school in a stable and safe environment. Stability and safety are crucial, when a child needs to form a new home in the world.
Director Andreas Koefoed has directed several character driven documentaries. His latest documentary “The Arms Drop” from 2014 about Danish Niels Holck and English Peter Bleach, was nominated for a Bodil award, and has been shown in more than 15 countries. Andreas Koefoed’s films have been selected for festivals all over the world, and has among others won awards at Tribeca Film Festival, Silverdocs, Full Frame, Sheffield Doc/Fest and CPH:DOX.
For the last eight years in a row, Koefoed’s films have been selected for the biggest documentary film festival in the world; IDFA in Amsterdam, where his films have been nominated for awards four times.
Koefoed graduated as a Documentary director from the National Film School of Denmark in 2009, and in 2004 in Sociology from the University of Copenhagen, where he also studied anthropology and political science.
At Home In The World, 2015
The Arms Drop (Våbensmuglingen), 2014
The Ghost of Piramida, 2012
Ballroom Dancer, 2011
William Blakes - To The End Of The World, 2011
Pig Country, 2010
Weightless - a recording session with Jakob Bro, 2009 (producer/cinematographer)
Albert's winter, 2009
A Day in the Smoke, 2008
12 notes down, 2008
Beg, Borrow or Steal, 2006
Albert - a big brother to be, 2005
Producer Sara Stockmann has produced several strong international documentaries, which have gained socio-political influence.
‘Armadillo’, which among others won the Critics Week Grand Prize at Cannes and an Emmy award, created a heated public debate in Europe in 2009/2010 in relation to NATO’s intervention and the allied forces during the war in Afghanistan. The film was co-produced with 16 different countries, and was shown on TV channels all over the world, such as ZDF/ARTE, Channel 4 (UK), SVT, NRK and POV/PBS (US).
In 2010, Stockmann produced ‘Mercy Mercy: The Portrait of A True Adoption’, which was nominated for the best Documentary at IDFA in 2010, and which has recently been nominated for a Grierson Award.
After the international screening in Europe, it became the catalyst for Denmark and other European countries to revise their adoption procedures to stop corruption and other unethical adoption processes.
Sara Stockmann has a Masters of Arts in Media Science from the University of Copenhagen and the University of Amsterdam. She is on the board of the Committee of Documentary and Short films at the Danish Film Institute.
At Home in the World, 2015
The Arms Drop, 2014
The Boys Camp, 2013
I’m Thai, 2013
Mercy Mercy: The Portrait of a True Adoption, 2012
Me, Myself and Martin Laursen, 2012
Do It Project, 2011
Pig Country, 2010
The Arab Initiative, 2008
Real Estate, 2007
Editor Jacob Schulsinger graduated from the National Film School of Denmark in 2009.
Schulsinger has edited several masterpieces from important directors such as Rúnar Rúnarsson (Volcano), Ruben Östlund (Force Majeure) and Lars von Trier (Nymphomaniac).
Force Majeure, 2014
Nymphomaniac Director’s Cut, 2014
Matar Extraños, 2013
The Ghost of Piramida, 2012
Alberts Vinter, 2009
Osman og Jeppe, 2009
12 toner ned, 2008
Jeg som vi, 2007
Composer Bo Rande is an acknowledged musician, songwriter and music producer, whose style mixes jazz, world music, pop and ambient. Furthermore, he is one of the main forces behind the internationally successful pop- and triphop band Blue Foundation.
Besides having had great international success in the music business, Rande has composed music for films like Beg, Borrow and Steel (2006), Til verdens ende (2010) and Matar Extraños (2013).