Rida is 8 years old. The extroverted girl fled with her family from Pakistan to Europe. Now she lives in Hotel City Plaza, a self-organised refugee shelter in Athens. Rida is playful and witty. At the same time she seems mature and far older than a young child. She tells us about her journey, the difficulties on the escape and the dark past overshadowed by the Taliban. The Hotel City Plaza was built for the Greek Olympics in Athens in 2004 after which it was empty for many years. In April 2016 a solidarity group occupied the empty hotel and created a shelter for refugees. Over 400 people live there including 180 children. The shelter is self-organised. The inhabitants participate in the daily organisation of the shelter in kitchen, cleaning or security shifts.
We follow Rida in her day-to-day life in Hotel City Plaza. Through the voiceover we learn details about the escape. Rida explains how her family entered Turkey by foot, how she experienced living in a camp arriving in Greece. She tells us about her nightmare, in which she remembers crossing the Medieval Sea and her fear of drowning. Despite everything she's been through, we get to know a self-confident, resourceful and imaginative personality with a lion's heart.
We shot this innovative documentary at the project Hotel City Plaza in autumn of 2016. Lionhearted is my first 360°-degree film as a Director. Since 2017 this film has been on the international festival circuit and has been honoured with several awards such as Best VR film of the International Film Festival Avanca 2019 (Portugal).
VR film, 12:10 min, Germany 2017, Languages available: Urdu, English, Spanish, German
Best VR Film, International Film Festival Avanca 2019 (Portugal)
Best New Media, The Chico Independent Film Festival 2018, Chico California USA
Best Use of Technology Award, Newark International Film Festival 2018, New Jersey USA
Idea & Director: Ricarda Saleh | Producer: Malte Stehr | DOP: Michael Throne | Editor: Elena Schmidt | Set Sound & 3D 360° Sound design & mix: Marcus Fass | Visual Artist, Street Art piece: STMTS | Assistant Director & Assistant Producer: Christos Koumaradios | 360° Continuity: Konstantinos Tsaras | Technical Director, Lead-Sticher, Compositing : Mahmoud Hisham |Compositing: Jörg Schmidt | Quick Stich, Set-Sticher & amazing postpro helper: Jan Fiess | Animation / Dream sequence: Enzio Probs | Dramaturgical Advice: Thorsten Schütte