GenreDocumentary, Biography, Drama Duration CountryAustria
English WriterNina Kusturica (screenplay) Release dateOctober 9, 2009 (2009-10-09) CastAchmad Abdirahman, Mohammed Shirzai, Nura Bishar People also search forOh Yeah, She Performs! ProducersNina Kusturica, Eva Testor
Teenagers flee crisis areas and move to Europe where they struggle to live normal lives.
Little Alien is a documentary by Bosnian-born, Austrian director and producer Nina Kusturica dealing with unaccompanied minor refugees.
They are teenagers who fled crisis regions and undertook an extremely dangerous journey to Europe, all alone, hoping for one thing: to live. After arriving here, they fight to live normal lives, struggling against a system that demands they sacrifice their youth to an uncertain future.
The protagonists are teenagers who undertake a very dangerous journey on their own, fleeing from various crisis regions of the world to Europe. Nina Kusturica conveys a complex picture of the hopes and dreams of adolescent refugees who after their getaway have to face the partly absurd and inhuman bureaucratic system of the European countries. The teenagers Juma, Hishame, Ahmed, Nura, Achmad, Asha, Jawid, and Alem deliver bit by bit insight into their situation and why leaving their home country and their families ultimately was their last resort. Beyond that, the director gives the audience a look behind the scenes, i.e. through the lenses of thermographic cameras belonging to the border police keeping track of clueless refugees, and she accompanies the teenagers to appointments with government agencies.
After their arrival in Europe, the teenagers only wish for an orderly life. However, the dehumanized bureaucracy does not allow for an immediate integration. Even language courses can only be attended after having a valid asylum approval notice. That is why they are forced to do nothing but wait. Also that way making contact with locals is nearly impossible. One of the key scenes shows an encounter between a drunk Austrian and the teenage girls Nura and Asha at the train station of Traiskirchen - Austrias most important reception camp. The stranger confronts the girls with mostly all current prejudices against immigrants, whereas the girls have never even heard of the concept of xenophobia before.
During the whole film, it is astonishing and refreshing to see that despite all the uncertainty these teenagers laugh and act like other people their age and keep their optimism. Nina Kusturica magnificently succeeded in presenting her protagonists on a very personal level â€“ and that is what makes this documentary so important, particularly these days when immigration is discussed by politicians and the corresponding media only in a populist way.
Music and soundtrack
The soundtrack album for Little Alien was composed by Bernhard Fleischmann, who contributed the songs "In Trains" und "The Market". More songs came from Dawood Sarkhosh, Sivan Perwer and Austrian AOR-band Cornerstone, who contributed the songs "Regret" and "I Cant Even Say No" to the Soundtrack.
"Kusturicas strength are truthful moments, which are inherent in their friendly and sincere relationship with the young people."
"A film is touring the country. The successful look at the world of young refugees. Much encore on Thursday evening at the premiere of Nina Kusturicas documentary, Little Alien in Vienna Gartenbaukino. (...) Kusturica goes on tour with the film and wants to reach especially students. From this encounter could be just a film that speaks the language of pop culture, give a new understanding of a politically topic."
"Nina Kusturica has made a gripping and simple film about young refugees. (...) What Nina Kusturica says in her documentary â€œLittle Alienâ€� would be hard to believe if not for the descriptions in numerous reports from refugee organizations and the UNâ€™s Refugee Agency: Violations of human rights are routine on the edges of Fortress Europe. Kusturica juxtaposes abstract concepts and personal stories of individuals: children sitting around a campfire of burning garbage, drinking coffee with stray cats in half-demolished buildings, planning to cross the Mediterranean to the heart of Europe, and talking on a pay phone to dad in Afghanistan, promising him that everything will be fine. (â€¦) Highly recommended."
The film was nominated for and won many awards, most prominently for its educational and social issues. The film won the following awards:
Outstanding Artist Award, Category Intercultural dialog, Austrian Federal Ministry of Education and Womens Affairs, 2010
Best Feature Documentary (2nd Place), Best Editing (1st Place), International Filmfestival Los Angeles, 2010
Best Integral Realization, Bruxelles Fiction & Documentary Festival, 2010
The Chris Category Social Issues, Columbus International Film & Video Festival, 2010
Erasmus EuroMedia Grand Award 2011, ECREA â€“ European Communication Research and Education Association