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From This Small Place

NY Premiere

Director: Taimi Arvidson

United States, Bangladesh, 2023, 74 min

Festival Year:2024

Category:Documentary Feature

Crew:Writer: Ro Mehrooz, Natalie Ancona, Taimi Arvidson. Producers: Brette Ragland, Ali Ahsan, Neaz Mahmud Roni, Mohamed El Manasterly. Editor: Natalie Ancona, Mohamed El Manasterly; Composer: Alex Schiff; Cinematographer: Erin Harvey


A six-year-old Rohingya boy named Hossain comes of age in the world's largest refugee camp as the crisis around him grows increasingly dangerous.

About the director

Taimi Arvidson is a director with over a decade of experience telling human stories for critically acclaimed documentaries, television series, and commercials. She most recently directed Apple TV’s first docuseries Home, which premiered at the 2020 SXSW film festival and a short films for both Red Bull and the Olympics. Most notably, she directed for the National Geographic Channel series MARS, which was executive produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. The series was nominated for an International Documentary Association Award for Best Episodic Series and called “visually gorgeous” by The New Yorker. Her other award-winning work has been featured by clients such as Comcast, Red Wing Shoes, Nike, CNN, Sesame Street, Esquire Magazine, OWN, Ulta Beauty, Dodge Ram, Discovery Channel, and more. She just completed a four part docuseries with Radical Media and Bloomberg Philanthropies for PBS and her first feature documentary From This Small Place on the Rohingya refugee crisis.


Filmmaker's note

When you're a kid, you see things. You're really seeing the world and its complexities for the first time. As an adult, we become accustomed to heartbreak, anger, loneliness, and fear in ways that might numb us to fully understanding these emotions anymore – but as a kid, you see the world and all its beauty and terror for the first time. And somehow you keep a sense of playfulness, curiosity, joy, and spontaneity despite those realizations.

As a filmmaker, I have always been compelled by the strength of the child POV due to my own complex childhood. I'm constantly fascinated by what we can glean from young people and how they see the world. What does the experience of understanding the world for the first time teach us as grown-ups? How can this unique perspective challenge our own adult ideas of today's issues?

I always joke that the Child POV is a Rorschach test during pitch meetings. Most gatekeepers balk at the idea of an entire film rooted solely in a youth character, often encouraging us to pursue adult characters as well, and truthfully, that has sometimes caused me to question my own approach. Can a six-year-old really tell this story? Is this too risky? I will admit there have been times when we panicked and tried adding adult characters to the mix but in the end, the child's POV has always been guiding light for our filmmaking.

Sometimes we also heard that by focusing on how Hossain sees the world, we might ignore some of the larger crisis context – but I know there's power in seeing those issues through the eyes of kids. We approached Hossain with the desire to capture a story rooted in the dual magic and heartbreak of childhood that also ultimately provides a crucial look at some of the most important issues facing the world today: climate change, migration, xenophobia, violence, poverty, and disease.

There's an old film business adage to never make films with children, and obviously, I think that's a terrible idea. I hope Hossain's perspective helps you understand our world more deeply and that in addition to some tears, you get a laugh out of errant farts and slingshots.

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