Wake Up On Mars


February 19, 2021February 22, 2021
12:01 AM11:59 PM /
Featuring an extended introduction with the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch’s Children’s Rights Division, Zama Neff

Two teenage sisters, Ibadeta and Djeneta, lie in a vegetative state in the small Swedish home of their Kosovar family. Their mysterious illness is known as “resignation syndrome,” a condition that can affect asylum-seeking children, often following a threat of deportation. The tight-knit family is trying to rebuild a normal life far from their native Kosovo, where they were victims of persecution. As their devoted parents work to keep their daughters alive and await updates on their immigration status, their youngest brother, Furkhan, imagines a life beyond the snowy expanse of his temporary backyard—and into the far reaches of space. While their entire future hangs in the balance of a pending asylum request, the little boy dreams of building a spaceship to leave it all behind. Furkhan’s desire to build his dream ship to the stars, escaping the unimaginable reality of his sisters’ illness, serves as a powerful, visually arresting metaphor for the contemporary refugee experience. Official Selection Tribeca Film Festival

Dea Gjinovci
Country of Production: 
France and Sweden
Albanian, Swedish, Fully subtitled in English
Filmmaker Bio(s): 
Dea Gjinovci

Dea Gjinovci is a Swiss-Albanian documentary filmmaker with a background in Economics and Anthropology living between Paris, London and Geneva. She is a 2019 Sundance Talent Forum alum and 2019 Film Independent Fellow. Her award-winning documentary short ‘Sans le Kosovo’ screened at many international festivals and won Best National Film at Dokufest International Film Festival as well as prizes at the Global Migration Film Festival and Festival Cine Zaragoza in 2017. Her debut feature-length documentary ‘Wake Up on Mars’ received support from the Sundance Film Institute and won the “Perspectives d’un doc” pitch award at Visions du Réel 2018. Dea’s work has been described as “a pure embodiment of human dignity” with a sense of “beauty, poetry, sensitivity and wonder”. In 2018, she co-founded Amok Films with her producing partner, Antoine Goldet.