My dear Muslim
Chechen refugees in Poland
A documentary by Kerstin Nickig
My dear Muslim
Production: Germany 2005
Genre: Creative Documentary – Human Interest
Content: Chechen refugees in Poland
Format: 35’/ DV
Director: Kerstin Nickig
Photography: Alicja Pahl, Kerstin Nickig
Editor: Cecylja Pacura
Sound: Teresa Stepien
Music: Christoph Vonderau
Producer: Michael Truckenbrodt
Original Language: Tschetschenisch/ Russisch
Versions with subtitles: Deutsch, Englisch, Polnisch
Premiere: 9/2005, Europäische Kurzfilmbiennale Ludwigsburg
Festivals: One World Berlin 2005, Amnesty International FF Amsterdam 2006, Shooting Europe Karlsruhe 2006, One World Prag 2006, Krakau 2006, Tampere 2006, Chronograph Chisinau 2006, Milano 2006, Taipei 2006, MedFilmFestival Rom 2006, documentArt Neubrandenburg 2006, Document5 Glasgow 2006, FokusFestival Görlitz 2007, Seven Islands Mumbai/ New York 2007
Awards: Best Movie Ludwigsburg 2005, Best Short One World Prag 2006, FIPRESCI-Award Krakau 2006, Special Mention Krakau 2006, Nominee for Filmförderpreis, Robert Bosch Stiftung 2006
“Dear Muslim…” – thus begins Sacita’s diary, which she writes for her four-year-old son, Muslim, so that he will one day understand what his parents experienced in the war in Chechnya. Why they fled to Poland. And also, so that he will be able to find his way in an uncertain future, in which, as she believes, his parents may no longer be alive.
Sacita, her husband Said-Selim and Muslim are sitting in their small room in the Home for Asylum Seekers in a provincial town in Eastern Poland, awaiting the decision of whether they will be granted asylum or not – in their hearts, they still haven’t even “arrived”: They are still deeply immersed in the past horrors of war which they have been documenting over the years with photos and video recordings.
An intimate portrait of the family and their wartime experiences is created from the photos, their personal accounts and the mother’s diary to her small son Muslim.
The film was conceived during the director’s one-year study period at the State Film Academy in Lódz together with Alicja Pahl, a student of cinematography, and a German-Polish team. During filming, the director and camerawoman spent more than 6 months in close contact with the protagonists in the Home for Asylum Seekers “Zajazd Zacisze” in the Eastern Polish town of Lomza.