"This is not the life I wanted but I thank God for everything"

06.10.2017

We would like to introduce you to some of the documentaries presented in the event. One of them is called 2 girls - directed by Marco Speroni. Read the interview here

How did you end up creating this film and what did you learn in the process of making it?

The journey of this documentary started when I met an international team of researchers - all women - who were working on the field in Bangladesh and Ethiopia. I follow them for a year getting closer to the girls, getting in this way the most important key for making documentaries: the access. Otherwise it would be very difficult or even impossible to get so close with our cameras to the girls in countries like that. 

In the process, I learned how the girls, not only Lota and Tigist but also others I met, can be so generous, brave, and sweet, despite the hard, tough situation they live.

How did you manage to contact these two young women and was it easy for them to tell everyone about their personal lives?

Thanks to the researchers I got the trust of the girls. Without the researchers, I couldn’t have that chance. Telling their stories was an act of trust by the girls. For example, at first the Ethiopian girl was available to tell her story but she didn’t want to show her face. Perfectly understandable since Ethiopia is a very religious country and her work is not exactly in that way. It was both a matter of trust and a great act of bravery that she changed her mind showing her face to the camera. 

On the introduction of the film it is stated that the two girls believe in a better future despite their troubles. Has the documentary helped them even more with their positive attitude?

I’d really like to think that the documentary helped them to improve their condition but unfortunately a documentary never changes lives. It just can be an important tool to let the audience aware of situations like these and possibly to raise attention to those countries and the poverty in where they live. Luckily they both have a very positive attitude, strong will and inner strength to fight for a better future. With all my heart I hope they will make it.

What is your most unforgettable moment during the filming?

I have many sweet and touching memories I keep in my heart. The smiles of the people living in the poorest slum of Dhaka, their generosity inviting you to have a cup of tea despite their terrible poverty, the sweetness and shyness of other girls I met in those countries. The courage of Tigist allowing us to follow her in the night work in the streets of Addis Ababa and again the sweetness of the other girls I met in Addis doing the same job of Tigist.

What was the most challenging part in the making of the film? Was it difficult for you to not get emotionally affected by the girls’ stories?

The most challenging part in making the film was in Addis Ababa where I had to deal with so many limitations and practical issues and troubles. 

I got more and more emotionally affected over time, even when I was in the editing room watching and listening to them on and on. I can say that today I’m even more emotional affected by the girls and their stories then when I started filming. This documentary is part of my life and it will be forever.

Were you familiar with the local cultures and policies beforehand or was everything completely new for you?

I was familiar with the Bangladesh culture as I went many times in East and Far East countries. I was less familiar with the Ethiopian culture but luckily my D.O.P. Riccardo was indeed very familiar with it and this was a great help.

This year’s theme in Viscult is autonomy. How is this visible in your documentary?

“Autonomy” is a perfect theme for “2 Girls” subject. Lota and Tigist are linked by the same journey from poverty and abuses to the hell of the extremely difficult life in Dhaka and Addis Ababa. They left their villages seeking for a better life and getting a job to save money to send to their families. Things went very hard, especially for the Ethiopian girl, but they are still fighting for a life that, maybe tomorrow, will be better.

What is the message you want to tell the world through your film?

The best and true message is delivered just by the two girls telling their stories to different audiences in the world. With their courage and their strength, they show how to survive in those situation, how you have to adapt your hopes and goals to the reality of the life, how keep going to fight for a better life. The most touching message is told by Tigist, the Ethiopian girl, at the end of the documentary: “I love to pray God to help me quit this job. This is not the life I wanted but I thank God for everything. I want to quit this job. Forever. Despite the feeling that I hide I try to be happy and live a normal life. Life is fine”.

(2 Girls, presented on 27th of October in Joensuu Science Park)