GE, FR, DE

In production

Before Father Is Back

სანამ მამა დაბრუნდება

Iman (12), a girl from Pankisi, Georgia, is waiting behind her laptop for her father to connect on Skype. This will be their first talk since his departure six months ago. Her friend Eva (13) had no chance to speak with her father, who also left. Eva looks at pictures of her father over and over again. While waiting for their fathers, the girls share everything: their secrets, fears, and passions.
Weekly films are screened for Pankisian kids, followed by debates that are often connected to their own reality. Iman and Eva are very fond of these lessons, and started filming and observing each other with a hand camera.
Muslim children in Pankisi have limited freedom – for instance, they love drawing, but cannot portray human faces. Iman and Eva are entering their teens and have to deal with new restrictions: Iman has to start wearing a headscarf, and Eva, who loves dancing, is now forbidden to do so.
They’re also kept oblivious of what happens outside Pankisi. But news about locals perishing abroad are hard to conceal. The families of the deceased are told by radicals they should rejoice, as they died for Allah.
On the main square, elderly people remember the young men who left to fight abroad. They deplore the rise of radicalism, and have debates about whether Pankisians leave for ideological reasons or to resolve social and financial problems.
A message from Eva's father arrives: he wants to take his whole family abroad. While Iman will stay in Pankisi waiting for her father, Eva's life will change completely.
Where exactly are the men from the valley going? Are they joining ISIS for religious motives, or is it a way to solve financial and social problems? What kind of repercussions does this have on society, and especially on the children and the mothers?
Through the story of friendship, separation, and the role of cinema in the lives of the girls, the documentary tells the bigger story of women and children in Pankisi, once the men have gone fighting for ISIS.
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