What led you to make Sons of My Country?
At the time, the Indio Film office was in the city center of Stockholm, not far from the central station. Every day on my way to work, I’d see these groups of young Moroccan boys hanging around in public parks or squares, apparently living on the streets, some clearly underage.
Around the same time, a YouTube clip started spreading of a security guard assaulting a young Moroccan boy in southern Sweden. Beating his head against a concrete floor in response to the boy not paying the train fare. It later turned out the boy was 9 and that he had fled to Sweden together with friends and without his parents.
This was new – I can’t ever remember seeing homeless kids in Sweden. So we started researching and heard stories about the heartbreaking things the children had to do to survive. How they were continuously taken advantage of. It was stories we felt needed to be told.
How did you go about researching the stories?
The production company Indio and founder/producer Mattias Montero had already started a collaboration with the organization ECPAT Sweden (an international NGO network solely dedicated to the fight against the sexual exploitation of children). Together with them, we started talking about what a possible film could include. Anders L. Pettersson, then Secretary-General of ECPAT Sweden, was crucial – both in getting the film made and in finding the right advisors for us. The film is a mosaic inspired by actual events as told by children in interviews and news reports.
How did you find the cast in Morocco and how long were you there filming?
Since we needed to find two Moroccan boys with European passports (to travel freely from Morocco to France and Sweden, where the rest of the shoot took place), we cast our two main protagonists within the Moroccan community in Sweden. The rest of the Moroccan cast was found in Marrakech and Essaouira.
We made the entire trip (Morocco, France, Sweden) twice. First, to scout and prep with the local productions, and then we came back to shoot. We shot chronologically to a large extent, which greatly helped the boys.
What were the most challenging aspects of the production?
Working in three countries and two continents on a shoestring budget. It was almost a documentary approach at times. But I think the limitations added a rawness I believe the film benefits from.
You had an amazing team supporting you – what lessons did you learn from the collaboration?
The team included DOP Kate Arizmendi, editor Mikkel EG Nielsen, production designer Simone Grau Roney, composer Håkan Eriksson, SFX make-up artists Eva von Bahr and Love Larsson, costume designer Denise Östholm and colorist Tom Poole. Some of the best people imaginable. I learned a lot from everyone.
Kate spent a month traveling with us, and it was a very collaborative and intuitive process working together. It was liberating to only discover without being bogged down by too many preconceived ideas and reference imagery.
Anything else you’d like share….
Cinematographer Kate Arizmendi and crew Photo credit: Dilun Riad Edmon
Indio Film website
Produced By: Mattias Montero, Jimmy Wåhlin, Johan Lindström
Written And Directed by: Philippe Tempelman
Cinematography: Kate Arizmendi
Editing: Mikkel E.G. Nielsen
Additional Editing: Johan Wik
Music: Håkan Eriksson
Production Design: Simone Grau Roney
Costume: Denise Östholm
SFX Makeup: Eva Von Bahr, Love Larsson
Color Grade: Tom Poole
Sound Design: Joakim Kristensen
French Production: Julie Mathieu, Gary Farkas, Olivier Muller, Clément Lepoutre
1st Ad: Sergej Israel, François Barge
Directors Assistant: Dilun Riad Edmon
Executive Producer: Anders L. Pettersson, Maria Schillaci
Production Company: Indio Film
Matez Monir Garci